Hamtramck’s Kitab Cafe opening Detroit location in former Avalon Bakery space


The owners say they expect to open the new location sometime in February

By Layla McMurtrie on Fri, Jan 12, 2024 at 4:18 pm

Kitab Cafe's new location at 411 W. Canfield St. - Steve Neavling
Steve Neavling Kitab Cafe's new location at 411 W. Canfield St.

Kitab Cafe and Bookstore is opening a second location in Detroit

A new facade with the same style as the Hamtramck-based shop has appeared at Avalon International Breads’ former space at 422 W. Willis St. The Midtown bakery moved from its longtime building in early 2023 to a new location around the corner at 411 W. Canfield St.

Married co-owners Asma Almulaiki and Ahmed Alwhysee opened the original Kitab Cafe in January 2023, with the hopes of creating an unpretentious, welcoming, and diverse space. “Kitab” means “book” in Arabic, and the pair initially thought the cafe would be more of a bookstore, but its coffee and food offerings have become popular. It nows offers a fully halal menu.

The spot offers baked goods, baguettes, and soups from Ann Arbor-based Zingerman’s, plus a variety of coffee items, with a few Arabic drinks including Adeni chai and Yemeni coffee.

The owners say that they expect to open the Detroit location sometime in February, but construction projects like these are typically a moving target.

Kitab Cafe’s Hamtramck location recently hosted free community events including a letter writing for Palestine and a viewing of Between Two Crossings, a documentary following a young woman from Gaza.

An Instagram post from the store states that Kitab cafe’s goal is “to create a community space that is built on the idea of intellectual conversation, educated debates, and growth — spiritually, mentally, and physically.”

We’re glad the former Avalon space will continue to be a coffee shop, and we’re excited for this energy to be shared with Detroit.

Location Details

Kitab Cafe and Bookstore

422 W. Willis St., Detroit