Greektown still a destination with emergence of Little Caesars Arena
(WJBK) - When Joe Louis Arena shut its doors things changed for Greektown but leaders of the historic district are not worried - and they hope metro Detroiters realize that if they want affordable parking and food - it is still the best deal in town.
Lunch time at Wahlburgers restaurant in Greektown. The fries and burgers made scratch has been a pull since it opened in August of 2016 with a side of star power - owner Mark Wahlberg.
But after the last Red Wings game at Joe Louis Arena, foot traffic in Greektown went down. A slight slip in sales because more people started hanging out inside and out of Little Caesars Arena.
"The little Caesars arena is a huge and fantastic thing for the city," said Curtis Nordeen of Wahlburgers. "But we have certainly seen a shift in the way people are using downtown and how they are using entertainment venues and how they're using restaurant or wherever they're going, how they're building their entertainment nights."
Just down the road in Greektown, Astoria Bakery's baklava, ice cream, cookies and cake have fed generations. When the Joe closed down at the end of the last Red Wings season, the stream of traffic also saw a dip.
"immediately we saw a little effect," said owner Tasso Teftsis. "A lot of people used to take the people mover and then come park here."
But the owner isn't worried. Teftsis, is also on the Greektown Preservation Society. The sweet recipe for success for this historic block-something that will always fuel business here. Affordable Parking, and shuttles for Red Wings fans heading to their new home.
"We have 6,000 parking spaces and sometimes they're free in the casino lot on the weekdays so there 6.000 spaces," he said. "You take one of our five shuttles go to Little Caesars Arena and then eat before and then go to the event and come back here and finish out your night."
FOX 2: There's enough to go around?
"Absolutely and I think I'm a huge believer in competition," Nordeen said. "Darwin is right it keeps you honest make sure you're doing a great job from a restaurant point of you and make sure that you keep the food great, service great and people smiling."
It's still a destination for many and with all the new restaurants downtown, Greektown businesses take pride in their price.
"We have great value here at our restaurants," said Teftsis. "Here you can get anywhere from a $7 burger where some other places around that arena might charge you $10 for a side."