Why is a Detroit Thai restaurant advertising in New York City?

Starship #KATOI has landed on 29th st and 5th ave. @bgreenhi @sloth_bear_spirit

A photo posted by Philip Kafka (Prince Media Co) (@philipkafka) on

When billboards advertising Thai restaurant Katoi's forthcoming Corktown brick-and-mortar location recently sprung up in New York City, we had questions. Katoi partner Courtney Henriette responded to our queries via email.

The billboards were created by Prince Media Co., a boutique billboard company owned by Philip Kafka, who is also a partner along with Henriette at Katoi. Kafka has posted photos of the Katoi billboards on his Instagram account, along with a billboard reading "Detroit: Just west of Bushwick." 

Metro Times:
How many positions are you hiring for Katoi? How much will these positions pay?

Courtney Henriette: At this time we plan to hire between 15 and 20 people. While we are looking over resumes now, we don’t expect to bring anyone on until much closer to our opening date. Pay rates are something we have yet to establish. As for positions, we are looking for general kitchen and service staff.

MT: Why are you advertising your Detroit business in New York?

Henriette: Because Detroit owes it to itself to let the world know about the magic that's happening here. And because the creative people of New York need to know that Detroit is where it's at.

MT: Do you really think New Yorkers will move to Detroit?

Henriette: The right ones will. Detroit is Detroit, and it will be appreciated by a handful of special people in New York. The New Yorkers who recognize the value in Detroit —like our third partner — and others that we know, are working in Detroit and moving to Detroit because it presents an opportunity that New York simply doesn't offer anymore. In New York people are thinking in inches. In Detroit, MILES. This mentality and opportunity will attract the RIGHT people.

MT: The media narrative says Detroit is the land of opportunity for artists. Do you think New Yorkers might be disappointed in the amount of opportunities in Detroit?

Henriette: Detroit is about about making opportunities, not just finding them. The greatest thing about living in this city for the past ten years has been watching it grow. Some kids wanted a movie theater so they built one. Coffee shop, craft cocktail bar, bike factory, letterpress, art gallery, sewing factory, distillery –– all these things were made by people who saw a need and filled it. Things mean something here. Ideas, businesses, and things are being BUILT by PEOPLE, not investors, or suits. The PEOPLE are making Detroit what they want!

MT: When does Katoi open?

Henriette: Katoi is set to open late spring or early summer. Ask us again when the cold lifts, and we’ll have a more accurate response! Art has no timeline. 

Detroit - for the people! #Detroit #billboard

A photo posted by Philip Kafka (Prince Media Co) (@philipkafka) on

About The Author

Lee DeVito

Leyland “Lee” DeVito is the editor in chief of Detroit Metro Times since 2016. His writing has also been published in Hour Detroit, VICE, In These Times, and New City. He once asked porn star Stormy Daniels to spank him with an issue of Metro Times. She obliged...
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