such as Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Co., which opened on Woodward Avenue in
"I knew in my bones something good was happening," said co-owner James Cadariu, 42, a lifelong Detroiter who holds three degrees from Wayne State University.
He said Detroit's starting to come back "in spite of the city [government] now."
"I've seen the decline, and now I've seen the city as it's getting its legs back," he said. "It's going to happen faster if the city ever gets its act together. But it's happening. It's just a matter of pace."
One of the more fearless entrepreneurs is Torya Blanchard, a Wayne State graduate and a lifelong resident who taught French for five years.
She cashed in her 401(k) retirement savings and, with the help of a business partner, opened a pair of restaurants across from the Detroit Institute of Arts. One is an eatery called Good Girls Go to Paris Crepes. The other is an art gallery/music club/restaurant called Rodin.
Both have upscale decor and French culinary themes.
Ms. Blanchard said little gestures have firmed up her affection for Detroit, such as when the co-owner of another restaurant, Phil Cooley of Slows Bar-B-Q, helped install Rodin's slate bar. "We all pull for each other here," she said.
Ms. Blanchard had no prior business experience. She said she was amazed she could afford property across from one of the nation's largest and most prestigious art museums.
"If I worried about what's going on with the city, I'd never get anything done," she said.
Shawn Geller is one of the city's newcomers. Only 26, he's the chief executive officer of Quikly, a digital firm that connects people with short-term bargains.
Mr. Geller moved his company from Philadelphia when Detroit Venture Partners invested in it.
He said he wanted to be part of a high-tech business incubator trying to rebuild a once-great city.
In Greektown, there's a hodgepodge of decades-old private restaurants and corporate-owned ice cream, hamburger, and pizza joints.
The New Parthenon is new only by name. It opened 43 years ago. Owner Jimmy "the Greek" Pamagopoulos describes it as "the granddaddy of Greektown."
"Detroit is the heart of the United States. Everything starts in Detroit," Mr. Pamagopoulos said, adding he is proud to have served Michigan-raised celebrities such as Madonna and Bob Seger.
Detroit's 1967 blemish
And then there is race.
Detroit's infamous 1967 riot is cited by outsiders as the city's turning point. Forty-three people died and 467 were injured, one of the worst riots in America's history.
But many aren't aware of a 1943 race riot that preceded it, resulting in 34 deaths and 433 people injured, or the fact that the city's population was already starting to decline before the 1967 riots.
"There's a history of racism and lack of economic opportunity that has been an impediment," Ms. Cockrel said.
She said Detroit is one of the nation's most racially divided and segregated cities.
"How does that happen?" Ms. Cockrel asked.
"We have to acknowledge it's an issue."
Wayne County Commissioner Tim Killeen, a third-generation east-sider and a white Irish-Catholic, said people "can never discount how light or dark a
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