It seems people are re-remembering the amazing power food has to build community. The New York Times has a story about struggling-but-occasionally-resurgent Detroit, and Phillip Cooley's nascent food empire. It all started with Slows, a barbecue joint turned destination dining frenzy:
To make sure the positive change takes hold, Mr. Cooley has parlayed the good will of his barbecue joint into a restless pursuit of community-building. He advises other business owners on everything from liquor licenses to using salvaged lumber. Most people in Detroit who are involved in food — or art, or music, or night life, or civic service — have brushed up against him at some point, a function both of how involved he is and how interconnected the city is.
It's a heartwarming read, and the slideshow is worth a look as well. It also makes me realize how lucky Philly is to have dozens of Cooleys.