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"I spent almost 3 weeks in Detroit this month. I had intended to do a Battle of the Detroit Veggie Burgers piece but alas most of the places I wanted to try weren't able to happen. The winner as it stands would be Traffic Jam & Snug in the Cass Corridor section of Detroit. The spicy lentil veggie burger is just amazing. I can't get enough of this sandwich, I have it almost every time I visit Michigan."

 

"This is the spot to come for homemade food with an eclectic twist and a great atmosphere."

 

"Midtown is peppered with restaurants, ...Detroit institution Traffic Jam & Snug, 511 W. Canfield St. If you go to the Traffic Jam and don’t try the mushroom soup … well, I can’t help you. "

 

"We want them to know about the great things"

 

"A Midtown favorite since 1965, Traffic Jam & Snug has been serving an eclectic mix of foods that please carnivores and vegetarians alike with longtime favorites an extensive list of specials that changes daily. It’s more than just a restaurant. Traffic Jam & Snug has its own bakery that produces artisan breads and desserts. It also houses Michigan’s smallest licensed dairy that makes ice cream, hand-crafted beers and award-winning cheeses."

 


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Motor City Cribs

Scott Lowell and Carolyn Howard redevelop historic Forest Arms

by Metro Time's Doug Coombe

 

Traffic Jam & Snug restaurant owners and Bronx Bar co-owners Scott Lowell and wife Carolyn Howard are a veritable midtown redevelopment army. In addition to running three great midtown dining/hang-out destinations, Lowell and Howard have taken to rehabbing run-down apartment buildings in the neighborhood.

The couple has already turned around the Blackstone and the Aronda apartment buildings, and this month they're reopening the Beethoven on Third and Prentis, complete with a rooftop deck amid solar panels. All this while overseeing the restaurant, brewery and cheese-making facilities at Traffic Jam & Snug.

Now Lowell and Howard are taking on perhaps their most ambitious task — bringing the century-old Forest Arms apartments on Forest and Second back to life. You'll recall how a February 2008 fire took the life of one tenant, destroyed the entire roof and left others, including People's Records, temporarily homeless. After being open to the elements for two Michigan winters, it seemed a forgone conclusion that the 1905 building would be consigned to the dust heap of Detroit history like so many others.

In February 2009, Lowell and Howard purchased the Forest Arms.

"No one else was stepping up, it seemed important to me to bring the building back to life," Lowell says. Though there was no roof, extensive fire damage on the top floor and extensive water damage on the bottom floors, the building's shell was still sound. Lowell has already begun to gut parts of the building, attach a new roof and, with the help of volunteers from Team Detroit, installed a hanging garden in the windows while renovation is completed.

There are still a couple years of work ahead and financing to be completed, but Lowell envisions penthouses on the roof and patios on the lower level for retail and/or restaurant space.

"Detroit wrote the book on industrialization," Lowell says, standing on the new roof of the Forest Arms and gazing out at the amazing view of downtown. "Now we get to write the book on redevelopment."

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