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On the Road: Made in Detroit

The Motor City is rising again, and we don’t just mean automakers. Meet a few of the entrepreneurs helping to put Detroit back on its feet—and serving some great drinks and dishes in the process. For more Detroit highlights, visit http://www.midwestliving.com/travel/michigan/detroit/things-to-do/highlights-of-detroit/.

I moved back to Detroit about 10 years ago- when I was 24, and I was living in a lot of great cities. But at the same time I loved these cities, I didn’t feel like I had a voice there. I didn’t feel like I could participate. It was a vertical structure. And so I was looking to go somewhere that I could participate, like a democratic city, which I feel like Detroit is really that place. I’m really excited to watch Detroit slowly grow. There’s no rush, I don’t think. How do we create a city that’s economically viable but also socially just and environmentally sustainable as well? So, it’s about that kind of triple bottom-line city, and I think this may be the first city to really figure that out: inclusive diversity. I’ve been baking for a while. Prior to the end, we had a real estate company. We had Peteet Realty, which was a well-known real estate company in Oak Park, which my father founded. Once the market crashed and we pretty much lost everything we had - our homes, cars, things of that nature. I went back to baking. From that time, we decided to go ahead and had a nice cheesecake recipe—a real good cheesecake recipe—and started baking them out of the house just to make ends meet, just to keep gas in the car. We started selling about 30 cheesecakes a week out of the house. Once we started doing so good, I looked around and looked at my brother and my mother and said, “You know, we’re going to shut down the real estate company because it’s getting shut down anyway. We’re losing everything, so we have to pretty much do something differently, because we haven’t changed with the market.” We shut down the real estate company, sold what we could sell, and we opened up the bakery. We normally make around about 200-300 cheesecakes a week, and we have over 90 flavors to choose from. The future is so much brighter, I have no complaints. Zero complaints. I was living in New York City, and I was on a dirty martini kick. And every nice bar I would go into, I would say, “Give me your best dirty.” And after a while, I realized that it was always with an imported vodka. So, at one point, I just said to myself, you know, “Why can’t we make a vodka that competes and beats with some of the best in the world on U.S. soil?” And then I wanted to take that one step further and do it here in Detroit, in Michigan. Detroit has become really open to new businesses, entrepreneurs, maybe businesses that people haven’t heard of before. Governments are open to it. People are open to it for exciting new things. Here’s to Detroit.