When I first heard Anthony Bourdain was bringing No Reservations to Detroit I was as excited as anybody to see his take on food and culture in the Motor City. After all the negative press Detroit has been receiving, everything from the plight of the auto-industry to sportscasters demanding the NFL strip the Lions of Thanksgiving Day football – a tradition the Lion’s began – I was sure Tony would finally reveal something unique or compelling about this city. Instead, the nation watched another tired take on the slow death of Detroit.
Lumped in with Buffalo and Baltimore, in a blistering cold winter expose of the Rustbelt, No Reservations served up a series of uninspired images, so thoughtless, they may have been nothing more than “stock” footage.
Now, I’m confident that episode was the result of poor research by the production department, but on a recent show in Hawaii Tony actually spent more time in a single segment exalting the virtues of SPAM than he did during his entire tour of duty in Motown.
I love ya Tone, but come on . . . While I certainly applaud No Reservations for feather-bowling at the Cadieux Café and dining on hearty Polish fare in Hamtramck’s Polonia – one of my favourites – I can’t help but wonder what viewers in Miami or Los Angeles thought about the prospect of traveling to our city. For a show dedicated to good taste, Detroit didn’t seem too appetizing.
Obviously, this town has a whole host of problems. Beneath its faults, however, live a community of human beings that get up in the morning, go to work, raise their families and, when they’re able , go out for dinner, drinks and a little entertainment. It’s been my experience that Detroit more than holds its own when it comes to any of these.
So, I welcome the opportunity of greeting travelers from abroad, and those across our country, as they move through this beautiful airport and attempt to navigate their way through a town that, on its surface, doesn’t have a great deal to offer.
A large part of travel, be it business or pleasure, is about adventure. The excitement one feels when entering a foreign locale is difficult to equal. Whether you’re just in from Tokyo en route to a downtown meeting or living downriver and thinking about Royal Oak for sushi it doesn’t really matter. In the end, all we really want is to walk away more enriched than whence we came.
Our paper has a new look, a new direction and, though we have a way to go before The Metropolitan d’Etroit is everything it strives to be, we ask that you travel with us in an effort to build a better relationship with our little corner of the world.
And, Tony, if you’re out there, no hard feelings . . . I truly love your work. But, the next time No Reservations comes to town, please, have someone phone ahead – I’ll be happy to show you around.
~ Anthony Brancaleone