The Detroit Skinny

Get the skinny on restaurants, events, attractions and much more in and around Metro Detroit.

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A Visit to the Fowling Warehouse in Detroit

Just over a year since The Fowling Warehouse‘s official Hamtramck grand opening, I finally had a chance to give it a shot.

Fowling is a game that blends football, bowling and horseshoes. The basic idea is to knock down the opposing team’s bowling pins by throwing a football at them from across the lane. If it sounds easy, it isn’t. But it’s definitely fun!

Much like other tailgate games, you have to get the hang of your stance, style and technique. Your team’s fate also depends on your defensive reaction time in guarding your pins, so you’ll want to wear flat or athletic shoes.

They don’t serve food, but you can bring your own or have something delivered. If you want to start your night out with dinner on the town, I’d recommend Detroit’s Original Buddy’s Pizza on Conant St. or Polish Village Cafe (cash only), which are both nearby.

Other highlights of The Fowling Warehouse include:

  • Live music
  • A full bar and solid craft beer selection (draft and bottle)
  • A mystery beer vending machine

Open fowling is $10 per person, but you may have to wait a while since the lanes are shared (think pool hall). Reserving lanes is best if you have more than a few people and want to play as a group ($120 for up to 10 people for two hours).

You might get a little turned around finding the place for the first time, especially after dark. It’s a warehouse. To get there, it’s almost like making a U-turn onto Christopher St. from Conant St. My phone GPS didn’t quite register that.

THE SKINNY: Fowling is an amazing game concept and awesome idea for a good time out with friends. It gets really busy, so your best bet is to make a reservation. Eat beforehand or bring your own food, and remember to wear flat shoes. The Fowling Warehouse is located in Hamtramck, about two miles from I-75 and about a 10-minute drive from downtown. Parking is free. For information visit

Have you been to The Fowling Warehouse? What did you think of it?



DIY Letterpress Wedding Invitations at Detroit’s Signal-Return

Placing the ink on the roller. You have to be careful not to put too much ink, and also to make sure the ink is evenly distributed on the plate.

Placing the ink on the roller. You have to be careful not to put too much ink, and also to make sure the ink is evenly distributed on the plate.

With less than three months until the big day, we’ve I’ve been super busy hammering out all the fun details. Like many couples, we’re on a budget and I’m totally about DIY when it comes to a lot of the wedding stuff because I enjoy being creative and crafty, plus you can certainly save a few bucks!

After first being introduced to Signal-Return while browsing Eastern Market one Saturday morning, I stopped in to learn more about possibly making our own letterpress wedding invitations. With the help of Signal-Return’s amazing Printer in Residence, Ms. Lee Marchalonis, we were able to create the most beautiful invitations that are uniquely our own. We learned so much along the way and we couldn’t have done it without her guidance and expertise – thank you again, Lee!!

The process of DIY letterpress invitations is a bit extensive, so I tried to break it down into a few key steps based on our experience:

  • Design your invitations: I looked to sites like Pinterest and Etsy for inspiration and created our own design in Photoshop. Remember to stick to standard sizes so you have envelopes to put your invitation in.
  • Order your letterpress plates: Thanks to the wonderful folks at Boxcar who helped me through this part. Since I’m not a graphic designer, prepping the plates for printing was a little challenging, but their customer service was amazing and they helped me figure it out quickly and easily. Your plates are shipped directly to your door and then you need to…
  • Order your paper and envelopes: The folks at Signal-Return introduced me to French Paper, which is a family-owned and Michigan-based paper mill. We chose the Madero Beach paper in 140 lb. I highly recommend stopping by SR to look at paper samples before you order because many of colors look differently online. For extra savings, we ordered the larger size so we could print several pieces of our invitation on one sheet of paper. I also chose a heavier stock to show the debossing of the text more (tip: letterpress does not necessarily mean you’ll feel impressions on the final piece – some letterpress shows little or no impression).
  • Set up guided shop time: Sign up for guided shop time ($45 per hour) where you’ll get to work directly with Lee and she’ll show you the ropes of setting up the press, choosing your ink (you get to mix your own color!), and the actual printing process. She was there to instruct us and answer questions, but we were definitely doing the dirty work of creating the invitations, which was very cool. Overall printing took us about 3.5 hours.
  • Wait for them to dry: You won’t be able to take your invitations home the same day. You have to let the ink dry, and then comes the fun part…
  • Measuring your invitations: As I mentioned above, we set up our plates so we could get four pieces on one plate (the invitation, two versions of the response card and a guest info card). While this saved on some production costs and paper, it also meant we needed to cut each of the pieces to the right margins. Drawing straight lines and getting the margins just right was what I consider to be the challenging part of the whole process. But then again, math isn’t my strong suit.
  • Cutting your invitations: Once your lines are drawn you get to use the guillotine (yes, it’s called a guillotine!) to cut your invitations to your envelope size. There’s a little pressure when it comes to pulling the handle down upon your masterpiece after you’ve put in so much work (I kept thinking: what if I cut it wrong and ruin it!). Don’t worry, the machine prevents the paper from sliding and creates a very straight, clean cut. But we didn’t just have a couple cuts. Each piece had four edges to be trimmed..times four pieces…times 150 sets. Needless to say my arm got a workout. I actually hired Lee to finish the rest off for me after exhausting my bicep within two hours.
  • Making sure they (actually) fit in the envelopes: Picking up our invitations was so exciting! It was such a cool feeling to see our concept come to life in a way that we could see, hold and share with our loved ones. Once we brought the invitations home we made sure they actually fit in our envelopes (they did, whew!). Then of course came the stuffing, labeling and stamping of each set.

I would highly encourage brides-to-be to consider printing lettepress invitations at Signal-Return. Just be sure to leave enough time for designing your piece, shipping the plates, ordering paper, cutting, etc. I’d say it’s not really something you can do on the fly.

Here is a look at our experience with DIY letterpress wedding invitations. I had absolutely no experience with letterpress prior to working with Signal-Return, so thank you again Lee for all of your help!

The Skinny: Making your own letterpress invitations is an amazing and fun experience, but it can be a lot of work. If you’re not the kind of bride who is willing to invest time, this might not be the best option for you (you could always have them printed for you at Signal-Return!) In terms of cost, there was definitely a savings for us compared to buying quality letterpress invitations, but if you’re looking for quick and dirt cheap invites this is not the answer. Signal-Return is located on Division Street in Eastern Market. Stop by to learn more about what they do or visit

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Filmed in Detroit: Ryan Gosling’s Lost River Trailer Released

Detroit's Brewster Douglas Projects can be spotted in the Lost River official trailer. Photo credit: Bryan Debus (flickr).

Detroit’s Brewster Douglass Projects can be spotted in the Lost River official trailer. Photo credit: Bryan Debus (flickr).

I spent much of the summer of 2013 stalking, ahem…searching for…Ryan Gosling in Detroit. He was in The D to direct his film How To Catch a Monster (since re-titled Lost River) and built up quite the following while in the Motor City.

The fantasy thriller hits theaters April 10, 2015 and Warner Brothers recently released the movie’s official trailer. Stars include Eva Mendez, Christina Hendricks, Saoirse Ronan (the girl from Lovely Bones) and Doctor Who‘s Matt Smith.

While in Detroit, the crew was spotted all around town including the Brewster Douglass Projects, the Masonic Temple and Belle Isle. Gosling also became a regular at Cafe D’Mongos.

Despite the fact that the film didn’t wow critics at Cannes, I still plan to check it out. Although the part of the trailer with a bloody Eva Mendez is a little creepy. I love watching movies filmed in The D and keeping an eye out for local landmarks (looking at you Transformers 4).

This is the closest I got to catching Ryan at  Cafe D'Mongo's in Detroit.

This is the closest I got to catching Ryan at Cafe D’Mongo’s in Detroit.

I should add I came very close to achieving my ultimate goal of meeting Ryan at the crew’s wrap party at The Magic Stick. Sadly, I was on the other side of a black curtain and a handful of bouncers. Ah well. #ComeBackRyan

The Skinny: Ryan Gosling’s filmed-in-Detroit movie Lost River premiers this April. I vote it’s worth a watch to catch Gosling’s directorial debut and because of the pretty solid cast. Do you plan to see it?

Check out the trailer here:

Photo credit: Bryan Debus Flickr