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Batch Brewing Wins Hatch; News from Mo' Better Blues

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CORKTOWN — The city's "first nano brewery" has a new lease on life after winning the 2013 Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest. Batch Brewing Company, which has been ever-so-gradually building out their storefront and production space on Michigan Ave. in Corktown while continuously raising funds for the construction costs, won the big $50,000 Grand Prize in the third annual small business startup contest. The Batch Boys pushed back challenges from the three other finalists, which included Hamtramck's HenriettaHaus Coffee Roasters, Spielhaus Toys and Corktown Cinema. All four finalists (and many, many semifinalists) could still open their doors. Batch, however, has a bit of a leg up when it comes to buildout costs.

DOWNTOWN — While the Kales Building's storefront has led many a would-be restauranteur to ignominy and public shame, Gerald Watson II might actually go all the way with his Mo' Better Blues soul concern. The restaurant, which is aiming for a Sept. 23 opening, has made rapid progress this summer in a state of near-constant construction. With plans to host a Food Network-style competition to determine the executive chef, the menu at Mo' Better might be a bit sketchy for a while, but the attractive interior and gigantic bar spell out good things for the future.

DETROIT — After Labor Day Weekend, fall is unofficially here. That means, of course, that many area restaurants are nearing the final stages of construction and permit-approval that will allow them to throw open their doors with the cool fall breeze. There are nine restaurants around the city that Eater Detroit will be tracking closely until they open (and even beyond that), and the list includes everything from West Village coffee shops to Midtown tapas bars. Check out the list, and watch as these nine restaurants move from "maybes" to "must-visits" in a matter of weeks. (Or months. It's all relative.)