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Jul 2, 2010 05:08 AM

Diamond Jim's shocker [Novi, MI]

This morning I had an email from Diamonds Jim's stating that they are closing their location in the Town Center in Novi due to Walmart(disgusting)taking over the whole center. They are rebuilding but as of now they don't know where. Mary said she does want to stay in the Novi area. So I'm sure they will come back better than ever. I was just shocked to hear about this!

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  1. Everything? Including the movie theater?
    This is definitely something to stay tuned for. DJB must survive!
    Not to be too far off-topic, but why the Town Center and not the warehouse club they abandoned on Haggerty and Grand River only a few years after buying out Pace?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Fibber McGee

      Good question Fibber. I've noticed that huge bldg. on Haggerty & GR. I thought it looked like a warhouse club. Anyway, below is part of that email from DJ's Brady's Bistro:

      Mostly, what I'd like to talk about in this news blitz is the pending closure of the restaurant. As many of you have heard Wal-Mart has purchased a large chuck of the mall and will soon start construction on a super store. The area to be plowed down extends from the east doors that once were Mervyn's right through to the west side that we occupy. I have known for several years that there was going to be a major change that would affect us. I've worked diligently to keep the doors open for as long as possible. It has been tough at times and very emotional as you might imagine. Over the last 19 years we've endured road closures, multiple new restaurants, giant movie complexes that "stole" all the movie traffic from our nice little theater next door, dips and valleys in the economy, 911 and the hardest, the loss of my husband and your friend, Tom. Despite it all, it's been a great run.

    2. Well, sadly, there is no lack of closed restaurants they could relocate to.

      5 Replies
      1. re: coney with everything

        Either Boagman and JanPrimus are out of town, or they are too shaken-up to comment.

        Sounds like DJB's will be around at least another six months, unless I've understood wrongly.
        Once a restauranteur gets a little cash in the pocket (say, from a lease buyout), particularly in a bad economy, I would imagine that second thoughts about the business would creep up. Not to be negative.... Anyway, I'll certainly be dropping by a couple more times.

        1. re: vtombrown

          I have been out of town for about a week and a half, but I can not say I am shocked.

          1. re: vtombrown

            I'm shocked, yes, but I got the news a bit earlier than some. Actually, I think it sounded pretty optimistic and determined. We'll see, I suppose.

            1. re: boagman

              Mary told me almost a year ago what might be going down and I posted it here but no one believed me. Since then, Mary often mentioned to me about "the good old days" etc,, especially after Tom's passing which made me wonder what was in the back of her mind. Her announcement didn't come as a surprise. When I read vtombrown's reservations, I thought, no way would Mary give up the retail side of the business but as I thought about it, a couple of things came to mind. First of all, Tom was more than a husband to Mary, he was her true soul mate and his death really took something out of her. Also, she loves the catering side of the operation and might want to concentrate on that. She and Tom had at one time expressed to me a desire to work closer to Milford.
              I wouldn't blame her at all for taking a different tack but I can't see her leaving the business entirely. If she does, she'll be sorely missed.

            2. re: vtombrown

              When you are on a month to month lease the landlord does not have to buy you out.

          2. I dropped in for lunch today and spoke with the Bartender...Asked her if they would be relocating and it was not a yes, but it was as close of a yes statement as could be. She said Mary has been looking for real estate and that employees would not let her shut the place down for good. :)

            As for the food today...had a cup of Chili that I was not to fond of. It tasted like the burnt scraping from the sides of a mostly emptied pot of chili and a small bit of water added. I do not think I will be going back to that menu item.

            I also had the Gravlox Quesadilla. Tequila Cured Gravlox, Avocado, Chevre, Red onions and such served on a crispy flour Tortilla (Pizza Style). First bite i was not to happy was missing something. I asked for a lemon wedge....and proceeded to add some acid. Yep...that is what was missing. I am wondering if they missed adding the Lime Creme Fraiche that was mentioned on the menu. Oh well...easy table side fix.

            I most def would order the Gravlox Quesadilla over and over...even if I do have to add more acid. Capers would have worked too.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JanPrimus

              Hmm. While that's good news about the possibility of them getting a new location after "The Happening", I'm rather taken aback that the food was a bit disappointing/wrong. I have no problem staying away from the chili, as that's something that's sheer "starvation food" for me: I'd only eat it to basically avoid starvation (kidney beans *suck*).

              Regarding the quesadillas (and that's probably not even good enough to be "starvation food" for me...), it sounds like the kitchen did, indeed, forget the lime creme fraiche. Looking at the ingredient list, you're right: acid needed to be there, and the onion probably wouldn't suffice for the oomph needed. In fact, lime sounds perfectly in sync with that presentation.

              I'm glad you were able to make it right tableside, but I'd have walked out a bit unhappy with that experience, food-wise.

            2. Tomorrow is the final lunch....a few of us are meeting up there for lunch at 12:00

              Hope to see a few of you there....

              Dear friends,

              As you know, we’ve been on a month-to-month lease for the last 3 years due to inevitable construction planned at the Novi Town Center, (NTC.) I’ve always known that at any time, I could receive the “letter.” A big box store is taking over part of the center. There has been no official announcement as to who it is but conjecture is that a Super Walmart will occupy the space that has been our home for 19 years. This is okay. It is business. It will be good for Novi. Even for those of you who don’t agree with Walmart policies know that they’ll bring a new vibrancy to the Novi Town Center. I think everyone can agree that the NTC has needed an update for years. The face lift will be very positive.

              Now, back to the “letter.” I – no we, you and my staff have been given our notice. I really, really wanted to be here through the end of the year, as was initially the plan. That is not to be. On September 23, we’ll celebrate our 19th anniversary here! What a great way to go out. Our last day of business will be 9-30-10!

              I have been working to negotiate a new restaurant space in the NTC and continue to do so. Unfortunately, because of the earlier than anticipated closing, I won’t have a seamless open/close. If the stars and moon align I will open the next Brady’s in early 2011. Although there is a sadness with the loss of our wonderful bistro that we all know and love, it’s also electrifying to embark on a new adventure that will be a learning experience and also very, very exciting! As we all know, “When one door closes, another opens.”

              Tom continues to watch over us and direct me to do what he did best – take care of us all.

              I look forward to seeing you often in the next month. Let’s make this a fun, positive ending, for the wonderful time we’ve had over the years. I am blessed to have you along for the journey. Thank you for your friendship and patronage over the years. It means a lot!

              Love you all,

              Mary Brady, CEC

              13 Replies
              1. re: JanPrimus

                Speaking of which...will we be good with a table for four, or do we need six?

                1. re: boagman

                  i'm in...and i'll call you if work ruins my plans. cheers

                    1. re: boagman

                      A 4top should be good...unless the lunch crowd is down...then I would not mind the space.

                      1. re: JanPrimus

                        So, how did it go?
                        We managed to make it to Diamond Jim's for the first time on a recent trip to metro Detroit. I've been following the threads on this establishment for some time, and SonyBob's persuasive posts convinced me that I MUST experience Mary's hospitality. I'm so glad I got to see the interaction between Mary and her regular customers firsthand. I made sure to mention that our visit was prompted by all of the recommendations here on Chowhound, and SonyBob in particular. :)

                        1. re: tokyo

                          It was a great get together, as always. One guy voted for Steak Diane, and then the WHOLE table decided to order it. Needless to say, nobody lost their membership in the Clean Plate Club.
                          I felt a little uncomfortable, as I always do, being in a business during the final days of its impending closure (especially in this economy). But, it was pretty busy, and there was a sense of nostalgia, and Action 7 News was there filming for a little story (not that I want my superior to see me on TV, taking a leisurely lunch during a weekday...).
                          Anyway, I'm looking forward to hopefully being able to make the Toasted Oak get together next week. :-) Thanks Y'all.
                          PS--SonyBob was not in attendance, unfortunately.

                          1. re: vtombrown

                            Looks like I got out of the way just in time, before camera the panned across the table. Phew.

                            1. re: vtombrown

                              Guys, I can't believe I missed the lunch. I'm getting ready to head to KC for a 50th high school reunion and I failed to check in every day like I usually do. Mary and I had a long chat a couple of weeks ago ("Sony Bob's Soft Shelled Crabs") and she discussed the upcoming closing. She's upbeat and I'm convinced that she will re-open soon. When she does, we'll get together to launch the new place - promise. I'll be in touch with Mary, Lori, Karen and all the rest of the crew and I'll try to keep everyone updated. Thanks for missing me!

                            2. re: tokyo

                              We had another great time. Steak Diane, indeed. I am *so* going to miss this place while it's gone for a while.

                              SonyBob, I'm glad to know that you haven't died or fallen off the planet or something. It'll be great when Mary gets back up and running.

                              We're meeting at Toasted Oak next week for lunch on Thursday at 12, if you (or anyone else) is interested in joining us. I'm looking forward to it!

                              1. re: boagman

                                I'll be in KC until the 19th. Let's plan on getting together sometime after that. I'll post when I get back. Thanks for the invite!

                                1. re: SonyBob

                                  Diamond Jim Brady's will be re-opening in August in the Novi Town Center where the old Baja Fresh was ....Yay!!!

                                  1. re: sharonmj

                                    Naw....they have close for good. :)

                                    1. re: JanPrimus

                                      Well, everything is moving along. Not as quickly as we'd like but it's moving. Last week we got our first applications. Karen Schroeter was the first to bring hers in and we are strongly considering her, wink, wink! Since then we've gotten quite a few and would like more, thus enabling us to hire the best and brightest possible. Keep them coming. We'll begin interviewing in 2-3 weeks.

                                      We've made decisions on a bar manager and sous chef and several key staff members. A couple of "newbie's", a couple of "oldies." Some good infusion of past employees and some new blood. Exciting times.

                                      Our meetings last week included a beer expert or "cicerone." He is so passionate about beer and I learned a ton. Sharon already knows a lot about beer. We were both impressed with his knowledge and the direction he's leading us. Beer is the new wine. There are so many styles, flavors, colors, hops, alcohol contents and tastes. Very, very interesting. We also met with Kristin our PR "girl" and press releases are in the works. My description of our bistro - bar is "addictive food and awesome service with a throw-back bar." "A fun, upbeat bistro where everyone is happily welcomed." I can't wait!!

                                      We also finalized much of our POS, or computer system and picked tile and millwork. Whew!

                                      Pop system is ordered. Most kitchen equipment has been procured. Wiring is done for TV's, phones, security and surveillance. By the way, we'll have the same phone number. Yahoo!

                                      Still on the "to do" list is glassware selections, utensils, hiring, training and a million other odds and ends.

                                      Our contractor, job super and kitchen contractor are wonderful to work with. Neat, thorough and timely. It's been a pleasure in that sense. I will have to say that every time we turn around there is another decision to make. It's stressful yet gratifying. Maybe I'll just let my hair go grey....I'm needing "touch-ups" daily.

                                      I am so thankful for your patience and excitement for us. We can't wait either!

                                      Talk soon. Still missing you all. Mary and Sharon