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    Sugar House and New Palace Bakery Get National Attention

    This week, ClickOnDetroit drew its readers’ attention to New Palace Bakery. The popular bakery in Hamtramck was recently on Thrillist’s “The 31 best donut shops in America” list. This is not the first Detroit establishment to get kudos from Thrillist. In August, the Sugar House in Corktown was included in the list of “21 best cocktail bars in the country.”

    As Detroit’s blossoming food and beverage scene gets more and more attention on the national stage, we wanted to talk a bit about what makes these two establishments so special from both a Detroiter’s perspective and from a sign maker’s perspective.

    The Sugar House and its Interesting Sign

    As Detroiter’s, we often visit Corktown for interesting food and drinks. Those who have been to the Sugar House (right next to Slow’s) will tell you how well planned everything is. Their seasonal menu currently consists of cocktails inspired by local statues, including “The Spirit of Detroit” and Rodin’s “The Thinker,” which is on display in front of the DIA.

    While dimly lit on the inside, the Sugar House has intriguing décor: a perfectly placed piano by the door, mounted animal trophies on the walls, and lots of wood, including the bar itself. This wood theme also makes its way out to the street, where they have an eye-catching carved-wood sign with their business name in ornate script. However, the sign that is hanging up today is not the only sign they have had.

    Sugar House in Corktown

    The location of the Sugar House in Corktown (image taken in 2012) // Photo by Sam Beebe via Flickr

    In 2015, for the cocktail bar’s fourth anniversary, they changed the establishment’s name to Bill Murray. The change included a menu of drinks inspired by the actor’s filmography (one was called “the Ectoplasm Cooler”). They also had another sign created for them that simply read BILL MURRAY in gold-painted capital letters.

    Instead of going with a less costly window decal, they stuck with carved wood. The display was very elegant and solidified this chapter in the bar’s interesting history. And, speaking as a sign maker, the sign looked excellent.

    The Paczki Fascination

    As mentioned above, Thrillist wrote about Hamtramck’s New Palace Bakery this week, only a few weeks after their article featuring the Sugar House. Part of Thrillist’s write-up included talk of the bakery’s paczkis (pronounced POONCH-key).

    Locals know this pastry very well for its appearance on Fat Tuesday every year. Before Lent, it is said that home bakers would gather up all the fat and sugar in their kitchen and use them to make paczkis, a kind of traditional stuffed donut. This was supposed to remove tempting ingredients from the kitchen before abstaining from them during Lent. Today, Fat Tuesday is often referred to as “Paczki Day” in the region, referencing how common celebrants buy paczkis at bakeries to welcome in Lent. According to VisitDetroit:

    “Hamtramck is the place to be on Paczki Day … [and] New Palace Bakery has been a Hamtramck institution for more than 100 years.”

    Regarding signs, New Palace Bakery is well equipped. During the spring, however, they (as well as other bakeries throughout south-eastern Michigan) could benefit from retractable banners or window graphics advertising the different fillings they’re offering. But with a baked good that practically sells itself, all they really need is a simple sign telling passersby that, yes, they have paczkis, and yes, they are still delicious.

    Featured image by Kate Renkes via Flickr
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