New Detroit restaurant Joe Louis Southern Kitchen gets help from Pepsi after flood

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

A small, local business got a boost from a big corporation this week to the tune of $15,000.

Joe Louis Southern Kitchen, which had to delay its opening by months because of the pandemic, wasn't open long when the restaurant in the New Center area was hit by one of the floods that swept through Metro Detroit this summer. 

Southern cobbler french toast is one of the dishes at Joe Louis Southern Kitchen in Detroit's New Center.

"This area here was two feet of water, pretty much all the product was destroyed ... it was devastation," said the restaurant's managing partner Johnny Cannon in a video created by Pepsi. "But for the African Americans who have been through Black Bottom and Paradise Valley and we kind of embody the Joe Louis tenacity and to see us be able to come back as a people, it's aspirational." 

Pepsi gave the business, which is part of Detroit Black Restaurant Week Aug. 20-29, a $15,000 grant to help with the cost of the flood damage. Pepsi is a sponsor of the 10-day dining promotion. 

“We’re thrilled to partner with Detroit Black Restaurant Week to encourage locals to celebrate and support the city’s Black culinary community,” said Jazmine Robinson of PepsiCo North Division Brand Marketing. “We also hope to encourage and build the next generation of Black-owned businesses and that’s why giving back to Joe Louis Southern Kitchen was so important. Their story is emblematic of the struggles many restaurants face trying to get off the ground, let alone after an especially trying year.” 

Joe Louis Southern Kitchen, 6549 Woodward in Detroit, is owned and managed by Cannon and Joe Louis II. Chefs Hakeem Biddle and David Mendez designed the menu which features key lime pie flapjacks, shrimp and grits, bananas Foster and a dish that is said to be the late boxer's favorite, country fried steak cheese grits.

Call (313) 788-8338 or order online at Visit for more information on Detroit Black Restaurant Week.

More:Detroit Black Restaurant Week returns with 50-plus participants, 3 food truck rallies

For subscribers:12 new restaurants opening in Metro Detroit this spring and summer

Twitter: @melodybaetens