Cousins Elias Hajjar and Nicholas Aubrey take yearly trips back to Lebanon to visit their family, but they can eat authentic Lebanese cuisine without leaving the confines of their own restaurant. With Gemmayze, which is named after a bohemian neighborhood in Beirut, they "wanted to create not only a menu that exemplified what's happening in Beirut and Lebanon right now, but we wanted to re-create the atmosphere,” Hajjar said in a Detroit Metromix article. “So the colors on the walls and ceiling are light and very clean and refreshing, and the menu reflects that as well.”
Inside the multi-level dining room, dangling lights twist like a strand of DNA above tables topped with shareable plates of hummus, grape leaves, and kibbe nayee—minced raw meat with bulgur and spices. Each dish is made from scratch using recipes that date back generations. Nearby, decorative palm tree appliqués cling to windows and a large brushed metal frame displays a variety of vintage forks, which can only be wielded by the rightful ruler of England. After dinner, patrons can move into the lounge and perch atop comfy ottomans and banquettes swaddled in rich fabrics while sipping wine or a cocktail.
When the Douglas J Aveda Institute opened in Knoxville in 2011, it joined a family of institutes and salons that Douglas Weaver started in the 1960s. Here, Aveda students pursue certification in cosmetology and esthiology while practicing their craft on real clients under the supervision of licensed educators. And because students perform the services, the rates are lower than at traditional salons. The Knoxville treatment menu includes hair design—cuts, color, retexturizing—as well as Aveda’s Elemental Nature facials, pedicures, and manicures.
The Institute is inside the historic S&W Grand building, a handsome art-deco landmark that, like a compassionate fairy-tale prince, is equally handsome on the inside. The spa rooms have a rustic balance of exposed brick and wood paneling, and the salon’s geometric light fixtures gleam upon checkerboard tile floors and industrial shelving lined with Aveda’s signature products.
Upon entering Go Cycle Studios, it might feel like you’ve accidentally walked into a club: hip-hop, rock, and dance music streams from the expansive sound system, reverberating off the exposed brick walls and polished concrete floors. The cycling and fitness center’s owners, Jimmy and Lisa, use this atmosphere to set the mood, but they’re serious about exercise. They and the other instructors tailor spin classes and other fitness programs to challenge riders of all levels, from beginners to those who want to work up to jumping a police barricade. Under their instruction, riders sweat astride Keiser stationary bikes, each outfitted with monitors that display RPMs, heart rate, approximate calorie burn, and miles covered. Before or after class, students can head to the back patio to sip coffee in the fresh air or furtively discuss ways to hasten the comeback of handlebar streamers.
At Yoga Shelter, you won't hear esoteric chants echoing through the halls or meditation music reverberating from rock-shaped speakers. That's because founder Eric Paskel wants to make yoga accessible for all students, whether they're searching for inner peace or a more toned bod. Contemporary and classic music accompanies classes that range from Yoga Rocks, which focuses on sequenced postures, to classes like Xflowsion, a combination of yoga, martial arts, and dance that can be repeated at home or at your boss's wedding reception. There is no hierarchy of classes; each 60- to 75-minute session is open to all skill levels. As Paskel himself puts it on his about page, “What's different about us is that we admit we have issues, we know we have work to do—if you can relate to that, you'll love this place.”
Every morning at Tom’s Oyster Bar, chefs scrawl the day’s battered and grilled seafood specials on chalkboard menus suspended from the ceiling. In addition to that list of freshly caught fish, the chefs tout their commitment to fresh seafood by stocking their raw bar with oysters that are shucked to order and then gently scolded for hording pearls.
In the wood-accented dining room, companions can sip from dozens of draft and bottled brews and bask in the glow of flat-screen TVs, or retreat to the outdoor patio and take in views of downtown Royal Oak.
I Wish Lessons’ professionally guided classes convene in various venues throughout Chicago, Boston, DC, and Detroit, uniting and educating like-minded learners in vibrant social settings. The company’s hundreds of teachers have educated countless learners while introducing them to new friends and planning private events, including birthday parties and baby showers. Classes broach a multitude of engaging, lighthearted subjects, such as beer and bacon pairing, scotch tasting, cupcake decorating, and sushi rolling.