In the rich tapestry of Detroit's diverse communities, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) owned small businesses play a vital role in shaping its social and economic fabric. Their contributions go beyond commerce, fostering cultural exchange, promoting inclusivity, and adding vibrancy to the city.
Cultural Exchange and Inclusivity
AAPI-owned businesses serve as cultural ambassadors, offering glimpses into their communities' rich traditions, art, and cuisines. They provide platforms for cultural exchange, fostering understanding, respect, and appreciation of Asian American and Pacific Islander culture. By showcasing their heritage through music, dance, and various cultural events, these businesses cultivate a sense of belonging and inclusivity, allowing Detroiters from different backgrounds to unite and celebrate diversity.
Celebrating Detroit’s AAPI Businesses
Detroit has an extensive history of being a cultural melting pot, which carries over into the small business ecosystem. In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we’ve compiled a list of a few amazing of AAPI-owned businesses in Detroit.
Note: This is not a complete list of all AAPI-owned businesses in the city.
27th Letter Books
Located in Southwest Detroit at 3546 Michigan Ave., this Motor City Match awardee prides itself on having a welcoming and inclusive environment, with a selection of books that often represent underrepresented voices. This Detroit bookstore is 25% Black-owned, 25% Asian/Pacific Islander-owned, 50% veteran-owned, 50% woman-owned, and 50% writer-owned. 27th Letter Books is much more than a bookseller; it hosts various community events such as open mic nights, poetry readings, writing workshops, art fairs, and more.
Learn more about 27th Letter Books at 27thletterbooks.com.
More AAPI retailers to check out:
Mo Beauty Supply, 1123 W Warren Ave., Detroit
Festive Essentials, 10225 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck
Mr. Song Millinery, online-only at mrsongmillinery.com
The Royce / Marrow / Mink
Having spent her childhood in Singapore, Ping Ho, a member of the Detroit Means Business Small Business Owner Advocates, has made quite a name for herself in Detroit. Ho founded The Royce (76 W. Adams Ave., Ste. A), a retail shop and wine bar hybrid downtown, and Marrow (8044 Kercheval, Ste. 1B), a four-time James Beard nominated restaurant and neighborhood butcher shop in West Village, and is a co-founder of Mink (1701 Trumbull), an oyster bar and restaurant in Corktown.
Learn more about The Royce at theroycedetroit.com.
Learn more about Marrow at marrowdetroit.com.
Learn more about Mink at minkdetroit.com.
Milk & Froth
Having started out as an ice cream truck before transitioning to a brick-and-mortar location in 2021, Milk & Froth is in Downtown Detroit at 535 Griswold, Suite 112. Another Motor City Match awardee, this artisanal ice cream shop offers tasty classic dairy and vegan ice creams made from scratch in small batches. There’s nothing to feel guilty about here, as Milk & Froth serves ice cream products free of pre-manufactured mixes, artificial flavors and colors, and chemical stabilizers.
Learn more about Milk & Froth at milkandfroth.com.
JP Makes and Bakes
A 2023 Comerica Hatch Detroit Semifinalist and participant of the Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship (season 7), JP Makes and Bakes, owned by Jonathan Peregrino, is currently pursuing its goal of opening a brick-and-mortar location in the city. Peregrino celebrates his Filipino heritage and love of sweets with all the delicious treats he bakes up. You can find JP Makes and Bakes at various pop-up events throughout the Metro Detroit area, including an upcoming collaboration with Huddle Soft Serve from June 1-4.
Learn more about JP Makes and Bakes at jpmakesandbakes.com.
Chi Fan Le
Having gained popularity as a pop-up food vendor at events in the Metro Detroit area, 2023 Comerica Hatch Detroit semifinalist Chi Fan Le continues to see its business growing in Detroit. Owner Angela Chi, a Chinese American who moved to the city from New York, regularly cooks up dumplings, wontons, tomato egg stir fry, cha shao pork and veggie baozi in partnership with other eateries and pop-up events. Chi Fan Le also hosts food-making experiences and collaborates with organizations in Detroit for various community events.
Learn more about Chi Fan Le at chifanle.co.
Bangkok 96 Street Food
Following the success of their original location in Dearborn, Hmong Chef Genevieve Vang expanded to Detroit by creating Bangkok 96 Street Food at the Detroit Shipping Company (474 Peterboro St.). Deemed an “homage to Southeast Asian ‘jungle’ cuisine remixed with American flair.” Items such as the Pad Thai Roll and Candied Beef with Sticky Rice have been a hit with Detroiters and visitors to the city.
Learn more about Bangkok 96 Street Food at b96streetfood.com.
More AAPI restaurants to check out:
Flowers of Vietnam, 4440 Vernor Hwy., Detroit
Sullaf, 814 W. Seven Mile Rd., Detroit
Go! Sy Thai, 4240 Cass Ave., Ste 103, Detroit & 1226 Griswold St., Detroit
Boostan Cafe, 3470 Holbrook Ave., Hamtramck
Yemen Cafe, 8740 Joseph Campau Ave., Hamtramck
As we strive to create harmonious and inclusive cities, recognizing the economic contributions of AAPI-owned businesses, fostering cultural exchange, and appreciating their social impact, we pave the way for more vibrant, equitable, and united communities.