Axios Detroit

Newsletter branding image

๐Ÿ’ Here we are once again!

  • Here's to another very happy Valentine's Day from us to you.

โ˜€๏ธ Today's weather: It's winter again. Sunny, with a high near 37.

Situational awareness: Former Detroit police chief James Craig, a Republican, suspended his bid for U.S. Senate due to concerns about fundraising. He tells the Detroit News he may possibly run for mayor of Detroit next year.

Today's newsletter is 904 words โ€” a 3.5-minute read. Edited by Everett Cook and copy edited by Cindy Orosco-Wright.

1 big thing: Scoop: Saksey's bar coming

Rendering of Saksey's. Photos: Courtesy of Saksey's

An intimate downtown lower-level bar named after a joint owned by Dan Gilbert's father in the 1970s is slated to open this spring.

Why it matters: Saksey's is being built out underneath Gilly's Clubhouse & Rooftop, a sports bar and all-season rooftop Mexican taqueria under construction at 1550 Woodward Ave.

  • The concepts were co-created by Nick Gilbert and are intended to honor his spirit and legacy. Gilbert's son died last year at age 26 from neurofibromatosis.

State of play: The plan is for the group of bars near Campus Martius to partially open before Detroit hosts the NFL Draft โ€” and hundreds of thousands of visitors โ€” April 25-27.

What's happening: Saksey's, and the previously announced Gilly's spaces, will be operated by 7OH2. The hospitality company is owned by Josh Lang, an Ohio native who lives in Corktown and co-created the concept with Nick Gilbert.

Details: Saksey's will offer cocktails mixed tableside. The menu will include drinks such as the High Class Gal with gin, cantaloupe juice, orgeat, lemon, watermelon ice diamonds and champagne, plus the Smoke and Mirrors with tequila, lemon, Saint Germain, egg white powder and charcoal lipstick kiss.

  • While sipping and eating small plates, expect music, comedy or magic shows.

Flashback: Lang spent 12 years in Las Vegas learning the hospitality industry before moving back to Cleveland and partnering in a couple restaurants and bars. That's how he met members of the Gilbert family, who often talked up Detroit, he says.

  • From there, he and Nick Gilbert decided to work together.
  • The idea to name the bar after Dan Gilbert's father's former spot came after they toured the basement space.

What he's saying: "I've never been a part of a project that was this emotionally connected โ€ฆ it's an emotional experience, but it's also something that I'm just so very proud of," Lang tells Axios.

Between the lines: The 1,000-square-foot, 55-seat venue will have a bar and eight tables. The "nostalgic" and comfy interior comes from Pophouse, the design firm of Jennifer Gilbert, Dan's wife and Nick's mother. Dan Gilbert's Bedrock owns the property and is leading development and construction.

  • Lang declined to disclose the cost of buildout.
Second photo caption: Rendering of Saksey's.
Two cocktails to be served at Saksey's. Photos: Courtesy of Saksey's

Share this story

2. I watched every Detroit On the Radar freestyle

Rapper Shaudy Kash (left) and On the Radar founder Gabe P. OntheRadar/YouTube

Sam here. Nearly every Detroit rapper has done an On the Radar freestyle over the last three months, or at least that's what it seems like when I go on Instagram.

What's happening: Founded by Power 105.1's Gabe P., a 26-year-old mentee of radio legend Angie Martinez, On the Radar has released freestyles featuring local rappers every week. More than 70 artists have gotten their own videos.

  • Detroit is the latest city to get its own mini series, along with Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago and Milwaukee.

State of play: The in-studio "freestyles" โ€” typically prewritten and recorded โ€” have given a boost to up-and-coming artists like Karrahbooo and Mama Million. They have also earned criticism for lackluster performances according to rapper Veeze, who told artists last month to stop booking them.

Zoom in: What makes or breaks these videos is the material an artist performs and whether the internet can make viral moments out of it. There are a few viral-worthy clips from local artists:

๐Ÿ’ฌ My thought bubble: Veeze has a point, especially when artists are having issues lip syncing โ€” you can find several examples of this on your own. But even still, becoming more comfortable performing while getting exposure is probably worth it.

Read more

3. The Grapevine: You heard it here

Illustration: Aรฏda Amer/Axios

๐Ÿคจ State Rep. Josh Schriver (R-Oxford) was stripped of his committee assignments this week by House Speaker Joe Tate (D-Detroit) for appearing to indicate a belief in the racist "great replacement" theory on social media. (Free Press)

๐Ÿ—ป Detroit's elevation is highest on the city's northwest side near the Lodge. The city may look flat, but it rises almost 100 feet between the Detroit River and 8 Mile as a result of melting glaciers around 10,000 years ago. (Outlier)

๐Ÿ”œ Buddy's Pizza is set to open its 27th location at the end of the month, a carryout-only location in Canton. (Patch)

4. Michigan women's basketball to witness history

Caitlin Clark of the Iowa Hawkeyes dribbles the ball to the basket against Maddie Nolan of the Michigan Wolverines at Crisler Arena on Jan. 7, 2023, in Ann Arbor. Photo: Aaron J. Thornton/Getty

Iowa star Caitlin Clark is just eight points away from breaking the NCAA women's basketball all-time scoring record โ€” and the Hawkeyes play Michigan tomorrow.

Driving the news: Clark, who is averaging more than 32 points per game this season, should have no problem topping former Washington star Kelsey Plum's 3,527 career points at home against Michigan (16-9).

Zoom in: The Wolverines have struggled in Big Ten play this season (7-6) and are projected to be one of the last teams to make the NCAA Tournament, per ESPN.

  • A win against Iowa on what should be Clark's big night would go a long way toward playing in March Madness.

How to watch: The 8pm game against No. 4 Iowa is on Peacock.

5. Goodbye, Y

Part of the middle section is torn off of the former YMCA building at 10401 E. Jefferson Ave. Photo: Annalise Frank/Axios

Crews started demolishing the giant former Hannan Memorial YMCA building on the east side on Monday. The site is pictured yesterday, after a side section from the building had been torn down.

  • It'll take weeks to finish, according to a press release.

Go deeper: Why the city decided to raze the 1927 building with a storied history

Our picks:

๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿณ Joe is cooking this chicken and broccoli recipe, a weeknight favorite.

๐Ÿ˜ฏ Annalise is wondering who else never really listened closely to the lyrics of the 1997 Third Eye Blind song "Semi-Charmed Life."

๐ŸŽค Sam is waiting patiently for Baby Osama's On the Radar freestyle.

๐Ÿค“ Everett is debating buying Caitlin Clark cards now or waiting until she's in the WNBA.