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November 18, 2004 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-11-18

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16B - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 18, 2004
Greektown venues offer out-of -town experience

By Leah Hangarter
Daily Arts Writer

If the 2004 summer Olympics
inspired dreams of traveling to the land
of Zeus and Aphrodite, but you're lack-
ing money or time, Detroit's Greektown
might be the next best thing. Greek res-
taurants, gift shops and a casino make
up this lively corner of Detroit.
Follow the blue signs with white
Parthenon symbols through the maze of
downtown Detroit and eventually you
will find yourself on the main drag. Be
warned that parking in a lot is not cheap.
Private lots have on-site attendants col-
lecting a flat $10 rate parking fee and
even a nearby church charges the same
price for parking, so it is advised to find
a spot within walking distance.
Once out of the car, strains of music
slowly become audible. Part outdoor
mall, part Athens, the central block of
Monroe Street is filled with Greek tunes
projected from hidden speakers. Artifi-
cial marble statues adorn windows of
restaurants, and flashing neon signs
reading "Pegasus" or. "Pizza Popou-
* lus" decorate restaurant exteriors. It is
easy to forget you are in Detroit, but it
is harder to determine if you stumbled
upon a bit of Greece in Michigan or if
you took a wrong turn and wandered
into Disneyland. The American sized
Sports Utilities Vehicles that would

never fit on European streets line the
sidewalk and the authenticity of Greek-
town is marred by the presence of Alley
Grill and several other steak restau-
Nevertheless, if one ignores its osten-
tatious qualities, Greektown has a lot to
offer. More than 20 restaurants, baker-
ies and bars line the street. At one end
is the Grapevine Cafe, resembling the
cafes found on Main Street in Ann
Arbor, and at the other end traditional
Greek restaurants serve moussaka and
In search of a quick snack, decadent
pastries and desserts beckon from the
display window of the renowned Asto-
ria Pastry Shop. If the ornate dessert
display was not enough to entice cus-
tomers, the steady flow of people in and
out of the shop encourages a trip inside.
The rule of thumb that if a restaurant
is busy it is probably good certainly
applies in this situation. Maneuvering
through the crowd, the glass case of
sweets appears to stretch into infinity.
From galaktoburiko (a Greek custard
roll) to chocolate truffle baklava to
traditional carrot cake, Astoria Pastry
Shop has something to satisfy every
sweet tooth.
The bakery interior exudes an old-
world charm: The ceilings are covered
in ornate bronze molding, the red cush-
ioned booths are full of families enjoy-

ing a Sunday afternoon coffee and
pastry and the white tile floor leads to
large glass windows that create a win-
dow into the spacious kitchen. A wall
covered in newspaper clippings, includ-
ing an article from The New York
Times travel section, hails the bakery
as one of the highlights of Detroit.
The success of Astoria Pastry Shop is

refreshing during this time of Detroit's
economic struggle. Greektown and the
Greektown Casino have been consis-
tent forces in Detroit's tourism indus-
try and will continue to be important
as Detroit begins its waterfront com-
munity development.
Gambling enthusiasts can test their
luck at the casinos, but if you're looking

for a wilder time, step around the cor-
ner to Bouzuki Exotic Dancing, Food
& Drink, housed in a building modeled
after the Parthenon.
Whether gambling, drinking, eat-
ing or shopping, Greektown is worth a
visit. Sip on some ouzo, nibble on some
baklava, and take a trip back to the sun-
bleached steps of the Acropolis.


t .s s a


?CSC Brands, L.P. 2004

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