What’s on the menu?
It serves tea and Great Lakes coffees, salads, sandwiches, wraps and sushi plus many sweets imported from Japan. But the standout features are the chirpy young women dressed in maid costumes who greet you, seat you, serve you and invite you to play board, card or video games at your table for a small (no more than $2) fee.
What do patrons think?
Anime devotee Derek Parrott, 29, came all the way from Fairhaven, about 40 miles away, to hang out at the café recently.
“The first time I came here, it was purely in an ironic fashion,” he admits. “Because there was no way, in my mind, that I thought anyone in America, let alone Michigan, let alone Detroit, could make the necessary conversion to make it [a maid cafe] work in America … It needed to be authentic without being off-putting. I came here with incredibly low expectations and I was incredibly impressed.”
What’s the vibe?
“When you come you’re supposed to get that feeling of happiness and warmness. So that’s why the girls wear the costumes,” she says. “It’s just so when you come in you feel happy and warm.”
Samet, a mother of two, is quick to point out the maid costumes are not intended to be sexy or seductive. On the contrary, “they’re cute and girly and frilly, more like baby doll dresses as opposed to sexualized,” says Samet. “I think the dresses are actually meant to be more innocent.”
On some real shit, Detroit might need a little moe in its life. If you’re ever in the area, go check it out and let us know what you think. Here’s the location and hours of operation.
Chou Anime Cafe, 4206 Woodward, 313-638-2155, is open Tues. through Sat., 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
photography by Donna Terek for Detroit News