The 20-year-old Detroit business enters a new phase, opening a full-service, fast-casual cafe in a Bedrock property downtown Friday
Avalon International Breads is fitting a lot of food in its new 3,000-square-foot cafe and bakery, opening Friday in a Bedrock building in downtown Detroit.
Besides the items one would expect from Avalon – bread, coffee, cookies, hearty sandwiches and healthy salads – this new outpost (its fifth) has the makings to attract hungry customers from early to late.
Breakfast is served weekdays until 11 a.m. with breakfast sandwiches ($7-12), quiche ($9), grits ($7), breakfast pizza ($11) and loaded toasts ($6-$7) like a mushroom toast with an egg, creamed spinach and trumpet mushrooms on a thick slice of rustic Italian bread. A weekend brunch, 8 a.m.-2 a.m., gets cute with lemon ricotta pancakes, potato tacos, buttermilk biscuits and shakshuka, a poached egg dish popular in the Middle East and North Africa. Brunch items are $11-$14.
Dine in or carry out lunch and dinner daily starting at 11 a.m. Highlights are a brassicus bowl with all the popular greens: roasted broccolini, Brussels sprouts, kale and avocado, plus hard-boiled egg, sunflower and sesame seeds, whole grain mustard vinaigrette, hummus, herbs and aleppo chili flakes. Look for pork shoulder, trout reuben, grilled chicken, steak and more between bread. Starters include marinated olives and soup of the day.
With this new fast-casual eatery, which took a year and a half to develop and finish, Avalon is also breaking into the pizza business, serving thin crust pie in six varieties, including a sausage pizza with olive oil, broccolini, mozzarella and ricotta.
Most items on the lunch/dinner menu run about $13.
There’s even more. Avalon Cafe and Brewery also has a full-service coffee bar and beer and wine, including North Peak and Jolly Pumpkin beer and six kinds of wine.
A wall of Detroit-centric gifts like T-shirts, mugs, Germack nuts, Gus & Grey jams and more are set up at the entrance, and a cooler is stocked with fruit, juice, pop, kombucha, milk, bottled beer and grab-and-go sandwiches, salads and soups
This Detroit location follows a recently opened cafe and restaurant in Ann Arbor and a presence in Detroit Metro Airport’s McNamara Terminal. The original Avalon location has been at 422 W. Willis in the Cass Corridor for 20 years and serves 1,000 folks daily. Avalon also has a 50,000-square-foot bakehouse and store at 4831 Bellevue and a presence at Detroit Metro Airport at Harvest and Grounds in the McNamara Terminal.
So Avalon isn’t just the latest business being brought downtown to fill a Bedrock properties building. It’s a business that had survived the past two decades and wanted to be in the city at a time when they were told, “Detroit was closed for business.”
“When we started this business in 1997 Midtown didn’t exactly look like Midown,” said Avalon co-founder and CEO Jackie Victor. “We loved Detroit and we felt Detroit deserved something great, and to us bread represented everything that we wanted to see for our city: a hearth, something wholesome, something to bring people together where they could break bead. It was universal. It was of use. It was nutritious, and it was accessible to people.”
Victor, a University of Michigan graduate, credits Bedrock with helping Avalon open this cafe in the city’s center.
“In 1925 this was the busiest retail street in the nation,” she said of the strip of Woodward near State. “But a few years ago that wasn’t the narrative. It took visionaries like Dan Gilbert and Dan Mullen and those from Bedrock to see something beyond what other people could see.
“For 20 years we’ve been baking and delivering ... we really have been kind of doing it on our own though, with our customers and our employees,” said Victor. “This is the first time in 20 years that we really have a partnership where Bedrock is not just our landlords. When we signed the lease we immediately became part of their family and they have been working tirelessly to make sure that we’re going to succeed and that we have everything we needed to thrive.”
Avalon Cafe and Bakery, 1049 Woodward in Detroit, is open 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 7 a.m.-midnight Fri., 8 a.m.-midnight Sat. and 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun. Call (313) 285-8006 or visit avalonbreads.net.