Get a side of history with your chicken and waffles at this Detroit brunch spot

Did you know Joe Louis was the first Black man to play in the PGA?

With chicken and waffles, honey buttered biscuits, and shrimp and grits, Joe Louis Southern Kitchen will have you feeling like you’re part of the family.

“My mission on the menu was to make it homestyle, to give you the experience as if you were at Grandma’s house eating good old breakfast,” says Johnny Cannon, the Managing Partner.

The concept is a collaboration between Johnny Cannon and Joe Louis, Junior. It’s meant to show you a different side to the boxer we all know and love, Joe Louis.

Born in Alabama, Joe Louis moved to Detroit when he was a kid along with his family.

“The southern hospitality and the feel that you get when you go to the South, we wanted to bring that here,” says Cannon.

The restaurant is designed to look like you are literally dining in someone’s front yard. There are trees coming out of the ceiling, a porch complete with a swing you can dine on, and a white picket fence around the perimeter.

Also on the walls are pictures of Joe Louis you may not have seen before. Joe Louis was in the Army, had a love for horses, started many businesses, and was an adamant golfer. In fact, Joe Louis was the first Black person to play in a PGA tour event, helping to break the color barrier in the sport. When he died, he was buried in Arlington National Cemetary as a national hero.

“You really get to see what he meant for all Americans, and that’s really what we are trying to embody,” says Cannon.

So what’s coming out of Grandma’s southern kitchen? Well, lots of classic soul food dishes. There’s shrimp with cheese grits, many omelets, and chicken and waffles. Johnny Cannon originally owned New Center Eatery, which was famous for their chicken and waffles and helped to popularize the dish in the Metro Detroit area. He brought his recipe with him to Joe Louis Southern Kitchen.

For the full story, watch the video above. Joe Louis Southern Kitchen is located at 6549 Woodward Avenue in Detroit’s New Center area.


About the Author:

Michelle Oliver is a multimedia Journalist for the 10 a.m. lifestyle show, "Live in the D." She is known as "the food girl" because of her two popular food franchises, Dine in the D and Find Your Fix. Michelle also covers stories on homegrown businesses, style, and other fun things happening in the D.