Toby Barlow

Rolling Stone called his debut novel Sharp Teeth "brilliant." His Mies van der Rohe-designed townhouse in downtown Lafayette Park graced the cover of a recent issue of Dwell. That's, well, for starters, awfully authentically cool.

Toby Barlow is an ad exec and writer who left the Big Apple in 2006. He's been instrumental in efforts to save what's left of old Tiger Stadium, and is outspoken in advocating that Detroiters "stop the loathing" and love their gritty city.

On summer nights, you can often find Toby standing on a corner downtown devouring a savory crepe from Good Girls Go to Paris.

Toby Barlow finds it ironic that Detroit is known as the "Motor City", since its flat and relatively calm streets make it the country's most perfect bicycle city as well. He's constantly impressed with the multitude of unique creative events happening year round here, from the summer Tour De' Troit to Yes Farm's "Unsilent Night," to his all-time favorite event: the Detroit Electronic Music Festival's annual roller skating party out at Northland Roller Rink.

He's partial to unique finds and good design. For shopping, he recommends John K. King Books for the store's amazingly huge array of rare books, and Bureau of Urban Living for the interesting eccentricities. Recently, he re-furnished his downtown digs with furniture from Mezzanine, a store he calls "amazing."

Toby drinks at the restored Art Deco jazz club Cliff Bell's, where there's good live music pretty much every night. He likes to say that, were it in New York, it would be so packed every night with tourists you wouldn't be able to enjoy yourself. A more dive bar favorite is the Bronx Bar, which he claims, if in the Apple, would be filled with loud belligerent downtown posers. "Here, it's just a great juke box."

On a Friday night he singles out Cafe D'Mongo's: "There just ain't anything like D'Mongo's in New York."

For an amazing sandwich, Toby drops by Eph McNally's. He also really digs Slows Bar BQ and Atlas Global Bistro. Occasionally he makes his way over to Mexicantown for Taqueria Lupitas for the tacos, or , for "some of the best enchiladas I've ever tasted." He's fond of the pizzas at Motor City Brewing.

On Saturday mornings you can find him at Russell Street Deli for it omelet special. Sundays he opts for The Clique, "because they have a good vibe and a great scramble."

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