In a bid to offer restaurants more outdoor dining options, the Southwest Detroit Business Association presents The Luminarias of Southwest Detroit, a unique outdoor dining experience that will kick off the new year with participating restaurants.
Designed to mimic the look of a traditional Mexican luminaria, or lantern, the full-size, outdoor enclosures will each hold up to six people for a night out of dining and drinks at restaurants. Each luminaria is specially built to endure Michigan winters and are heated to provide patrons with a dining experience that is COVID-19 health and safety compliant.
Luminarias date back more than 300 years in Mexican culture. Traditionally, they are small lanterns that are handmade out of paper bags and line walkways, churches, and homes during the holiday season.
In southwest Detroit, the SDBA will work with participating restaurants to construct the five-sided, metal and plexiglass luminarias that are each 8 feet tall with an 8-foot diameter. The luminarias will light up in a variety of colors and can be customized for special occasions.
A total of 15 luminarias will be constructed and assembled at participating restaurants from January through February 2021, beginning with Armando’s Mexican Restaurant located at 4242 W. Vernor Hwy. In addition to providing a distinctive place to enjoy a night out, the luminarias are designed to create a branded attraction for southwest Detroit.
“The SDBA recognizes the need to provide support to our businesses and restaurant community during these challenging times,” says Jennifer Gomez, vice president of programs and compliance at the SDBA. “This program began as a functional solution for our restaurants, but we are so excited that it now also has become a signature branding opportunity and attraction for the SWD community.
“This exciting program will provide a lifeline to area businesses, helping owners recover a portion of lost revenue while also creating a one-of-a-kind dining experience that can only be found in southwest Detroit. We are truly grateful for the generous support from the Hudson-Webber Foundation, and partners AptumBuild Solutions and Diseños Ornamental Iron that helped make this program possible.”
According to Melanca Clark, president and CEO if the Hudson-Webber Foundation in Detroit, “Southwest Detroit Business Association’s Luminaries project supports local restaurants by affording seating optionality that will help businesses navigate the current health pandemic in the short-term, and also contributes to a longer-term placemaking strategy for the neighborhood.”
The Luminarias of Southwest Detroit program was made possible through a $50,000 grant from The Hudson Webber Foundation, along with pro bono design, engineering, and architectural services valued at $15,000 provided by AptumBuild Solutions. Additionally, Diseños Ornamental Iron accommodated an expedited timeline for manufacturing and reduced its fees to help the SDBA meet budget goals for the program.
Participating restaurants are required to make a $1,000 financial commitment for each luminaria, with the majority of the costs covered within the scope of the program. Limited space is available for southwest Detroit restaurants interested in the program. For more information, email Jennifer Gomez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SDBA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the economic vitality of southwest Detroit. Founded in 1957, the group annually serves more than 300 businesses and entrepreneurs representing restaurants and other food service providers, retailers, health care, manufacturing, and human services industries. The businesses in the Southwest Detroit service area are often immigrant-owned as well as minority- and women-owned enterprises.
For more information, visit www.southwestdetroit.com.