Nancy Thomas, owner of J’s Café – located at 20853 Grand River Ave. in Detroit – had hoped for help with the business’ sidewalk problem for nearly a decade.
“They were in horrible condition,” said Thomas. “How can you attract customers to your business when you can’t create a welcoming environment?”
Thomas then met Tenecia Johnson, DEGC’s District Business Liaison for District 1. Soon after, her sidewalk problem was a thing of the past.
Thanks to Johnson’s understanding of the area’s infrastructure plans, she was able to negotiate the Café’s sidewalk repairs as part of the Grand River Streetscape project. The project is a partnership with MDOT and the City of Detroit to provide streetscape improvements to approximately 2.8 miles of road from the M-39 Service Drive to Berg Rd.
The project, which began last year, includes road resurfacing, watermain refurbishment, a two-way cycle track, improved on-street parking, pedestrian islands, mid-block crossings, landscaping, new signalized intersections and bus islands. The goal of the streetscape project is to create a beautiful corridor where neighborhood businesses can thrive and where people feel safe and welcomed. The improvements will better support all forms of transportation including walking and biking, as well as public and private transit.
Thomas plans to continue exterior renovations by utilizing DEGC’s MotorCity ReStore program to enhance the overall appearance of her business.
“J’s Cafe has been a family owned and operated business for over 15 years and it hasn’t always been easy,” Thomas said. “I’m just thankful to have partners at the City and DEGC who are so willing to help us.”
Due to the State’s COVID-19 mandate, J’s Café is currently operating at 50 percent capacity for in-restaurant dining and is fully open for carry-out orders. It was one of many Detroit restaurants preparing meals for first responders as part of Detroit’s Feed the Front Lines Program.
J’s Café has been specializing in down home southern style soul food since 1983. Food at J’s Café is prepared the old fashion way, using the freshest ingredients and cooked same way your grandmother did.
The J’s Café menu features meals you won’t find anywhere else – for breakfast, lunch and dinner anytime of the day. This includes pork chops, catfish, meat loaf, collard greens, rice and gravy, macaroni and cheese, and black-eyed peas. For the full menu and hours of operation, visit the J’s Café website.
Area residents are encouraged to visit J’s Café as well as the many neighboring small businesses that are working hard to survive the economic hardships of road construction and the COVID-19 crisis.