Built in 1891 as a railroad hotel on Battle Alley (so named for the drunken brawls common among wayfarers), the Holly Hotel's three-story Queen Anne-style building put up countless country-crossers in those turn-of-the-century boom years. It also saw a raid by Carrie Nation, two fires separated by 65 years to the hour, time served as a transient boarding house, and a monumental two-year renovation. The building's long, strange history has inspired countless legends and ghost stories—phantasmal cigar smoke from the inn's 1890s owner has been seen floating through the halls—but nowadays, the Holly Hotel is just as devoted to modern niceties as historic myth.
Three stories tall again, newly renamed, and sporting the warm, dark oak and Axminster carpeting of its wonder years, the Holly Hotel was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Today, the red-brick manse keeps its footing firm between past and future. The menu's signature dishes such as the beef wellington in veal-thyme reduction and the steamed Scottish salmon have gone unchanged since 1979, and every afternoon owner Chrissy hosts a Victorianesque tea party served on antique china. At the same time, the chefs employ an improvisational culinary method on the list of daily specials, rendered from fish, game, and other ingredients flown in fresh from across the world.
Beyond gourmet meals, the hotel also regales its guests with top-notch entertainment. Truth Be Told, a monthly storytelling even hosted by master raconteur Norm Stultz, invites everyday people onstage to recount tales on the night's theme, with a winner chosen by the audience. The onsite comedy club features locally and nationally known jesters on weekends, offsetting the Victorian gas fixtures, stained-glass windows, and velvet wingback chairs with a healthy dollop of modern mirth and a cyborg wait staff.
Train tracks used to run right along The Holly Hotel, making the three-story redbrick building a hub of social activity throughout the early 20th century. Civic and social groups held meetings and demonstrations, transients spent the night, and opera goers shined their monocles in the hotel’s opulent parlors after shows at Baird’s Opera House, situated just a mile south.
Today, this Queen Anne–style structure is no longer a hotel, but an acclaimed restaurant and venue. The hotel's architecture, along with its historical charm, persist, even after a fire in 1913 and again—65 years later to the date—in 1978. The elegant interior’s plaster walls, tin ceilings, and custom millwork date back to 1913 and before, while much of the wood, railing, tile, and glass are salvaged from the second blaze.
Although its architecture helped The Holly Hotel grab a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, its unique stories also supplied historic credibility. For instance, in 1908, Carry Nation and a flock of pro-Temperance supporters attacked drinkers at the hotel; Nation swatted bar goers on the head with her umbrella and even smashed whiskey bottles with an ax.
Modern-day visitors do not face such antagonism. Instead, they enjoy elegant meals composed of fresh, free-range ingredients at the restaurant, where chefs plate beef wellington, braised pork cheeks over hawaiian fingerlings, and lamb strip loin baked in green oregano. On Sundays, the kitchen team puts on an elegant brunch, featuring a spread of farm-raised goose, peel-and-eat shrimp, and made-to-order omelets. Fridays and Saturdays are a time for laughs; guffaws spill over from the comedy club as guests enjoy cracks by headliners from cities from Los Angeles to New York. Of course, sometimes the laugher may just be coming from one of the hotel’s lingering spirits.
At Raymo's Restaurant, Chef Marc Raymond unites his three passions: fine dining, music, and art. The former spotlights inventive New American dishes with international influences. The spicy meatballs are a perfect example of this creativity, as well as the slow-roasted pork topped with tomatillo sauce, roasted tomato salsa, and lime cream. His menu also incorporates decadent desserts, such as the baked chocolate pudding with vanilla-malt ice cream, and classic cocktails.
Chef Raymond's other two obsessions show up in the restaurant's decor and ambiance. The sleek dining room is awash with abstract art, track lighting, and hanging blown-glass lamps. And the soundtrack is as festive as the decor is refined; Raymo's' stage and dance floor come alive with musical genres that span everything from acoustic to jazz.
It all started with a single olive tree. The founder of Red Olive Restaurant was sailing down the coast of the Mediterranean with his father many years ago when they spotted it. Like a snowman on the beach, this tree stood out among its surroundings, and offered the two sailors the best olives they'd ever tasted.
Striving to set itself apart in similar fashion, Red Olive Restaurant presents diners with an extensive spread of flavors culled from around the globe?but especially those from Greece. At 10 locations around the Detroit metro area, visitors drop anchor near platters of grape leaves, kebabs, and a wide assortment of salads. They also dig into house specialties, such as moussaka, which features layers of eggplant, ground meat, and parmesan topped with bachamel sauce.
At each Tropical Smoothie Caf? location, healthy choices abound with drinks consisting of fresh fruit and snacks loaded with veggies and premium meats and cheeses. The caf??s colorful repertoire of smoothies runs the gamut from creamy, dessert-based indulgent creations to light and refreshing low-fat fruit options or frosty drinks boosted with supplements. Strawberries, bananas, and peaches mingle with exotic a?a? and goji berries to form mouthwatering concoctions designed to deliver health-boosting antioxidants, essential nutrients and laser-vision-inducing vitamins. Drinks pair with ciabatta and griddled flatbread during breakfast and lunch, as well as with made-to-order salads and a host of wraps and sandwiches.
Although it draws inspiration from Isadora Duncan and The Great Gatsby, Gatsby Grind eschews hooch in favor of freshly brewed coffee. Old-fashioned touches such as a piano carved with intricate scrollwork and a roaring fireplace lend a 1920s vibe as baristas whip up 21st-century espresso drinks, such as caramel macchiatos and americanos, as well as teas and two-fruit smoothies. Gatsby Grind also preps pastries and light meals, such as bagel sandwiches, pitas and hummus, key lime pie, and jumbo-sized brownies. Patrons can connect to the complimentary WiFi network, sit back as local musicians perform full sets, or shine green lights on the café’s portrait of Mia Farrow as Daisy Buchanan.