Revving In The Motor City

Michelle Sherman chauffeurs us through Detroit

For executives, this Midwestern business center (probably best known as the automotive capital) has endured much ridicule for not keeping pace with more cosmopolitan metropolises — but Detroit is steadily working on its image. As a result of Empowerment Zone funding, the city is abuzz with new construction for business and entertainment. According to www.WetFeet.com, jobs have grown at a rate of 1.77% since 1998 and are forecasted to continue growing at 9.1% annually through 2010.

Michelle R. Sherman is a Detroit native. As vice president and CFO of Barden Cos. Inc., she regularly entertains business guests. These are a few of her city favorites:

Around Town Detroit
ACCOMMODATIONS
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel (300 Town Center Drive, Fairlane Plaza; 313-441-2000) is the most upscale property Detroit offers. Located in Dearborn, Michigan, it is just outside the city and 15 minutes from the new Detroit Metro Airport. “It’s also very close to Ford’s headquarters.”

The Marriott (333 East Jefferson Ave.; 313-222-7700) has two downtown properties. “The [Courtyard] Marriot is conveniently located and popular for conventions.”

The Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport (2501 Worldgateway Place; 734-942-6500) is 17.9 miles from the center of Detroit. “It’s perfect for brief trips in, where you can meet at the airport.”

DINING
Sweet Georgia Brown (1045 Brush St.; 313-965-1245) is owned by LeVan Hawkins and Frank A. Taylor. “Everybody thinks soul food, but it’s quite elegant. They serve upscale cuisine.” It also offers live entertainment, an acclaimed wine list, and “the best apple caramel martinis.”
The Rattlesnake Club (300 River Place; 313-567-4400) is situated by the water and serves up an abundance of meat and seafood dishes — as well as white chocolate ravioli. “This is great for client meetings. It also has private dining rooms toward the back for intimate parties and business meetings.”

“For lunch meetings, Opus One (565 E. Larned St.; 313-961-7768) is a great spot.” It offers American cuisine with French accents in an elegant setting.

TRANSPORTATION
“Taxi cabs are not as readily available as they are in New York or Chicago. Most executives rent a car or use a car service.” Limousine Express (www .limousineexpress.net; 586-558-8839) provides 24-hour walk-up curbside transportation from the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.

NIGHT SPOTS
“Floods Bar & Grill (731 Saint Antoine St.; 313-963-1090) is like Detroit’s version of Cheers. There’s a professional networking crowd from 5 to 9 p.m., and then it becomes more social. It also has a soul food menu.”

Baker’s Keyboard Lounge (20510 Livernois; 313-345-6300) calls itself the “world’s oldest active jazz club.” Open since 1934, it’s where enthusiasts can listen and enjoy a wide range of talent. Art Tatum actually picked out their seven-foot Steinway.

THEATER
“We get a good mix of Broadway productions [such as Miss Saigon and The Lion King], big name concerts, and comedy shows.” Check out Fox Theater (2211 Woodward Ave.; 313-471-6611), Detroit Opera House (1526 Broadway; 313-237-SING), and Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts (350 Madison Avenue; 313-963-2366).

ACROSS THE WEB