• “Well, add the grandeur of the architecture of the Guardian building and Rowland knocks it out of the park.” in 3 reviews

  • “They serve italian Illy coffee and a selection teas, juices and European waters.” in 3 reviews

  • “I like to stop in here because it's quiet, there's free wi-fi and it's a great place to people watch, re-center your day.” in 4 reviews

    Wi-Fi: Free

Recommended Reviews

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  • 4.0 star rating
    7/3/2015

    Coffee is average but the location inside of the Guardian Building main level is amazing.

  • 4.0 star rating
    11/19/2010
    1 check-in

    The nice coffee cafe is located inside The Guardian Building Lobby.  I never knew their was anything like that in the building but to the tell the truth; I never had a reason to go until yesterday.  

    The coffee cafe isn't like your regular dunkin' donut coffee -- it's on same level as Starbucks coffe.  Freshly prepared in front of you and decorated as well -- I gotten a hot coca; it was so pretty I waited to drink it.  Lol!

    They are opened normally business hours... and if you stay until it closed you might get a chance to get some free leftovers.  (The workers is extremely awesome!!!)

  • 5.0 star rating
    12/26/2013

    Savoring a cappuccino at The Rowland is one of my favorite Detroit experiences, and it's an affordable one. The staff is friendly, the baked goods delicious and the setting, in an architectural and historical masterpiece, is incredible. Great way to while away an hour or so.

  • 3.0 star rating
    6/24/2012
    1 check-in

    The coffee is ok, but the art work is a hidden treasure of Detroit.  It's worth going just to see the Michigan mural on the south wall.

  • 4.0 star rating
    11/22/2010
    1 check-in

    You want an amazingly friendly coffee experience? Then go see Indigo the barista at Rowland Cafe. Seriously, nicest dude ever. So helpful and generous with his time and caffeine! Speaking of the caffeine, the coffee ain't no slouch either. Illy coffee. Can't go wrong with that! But if you're not in the bean type of mood they do have a solid selection of carbonated beverages for your enjoyment as well (San Pellegrino in the house!).

    Hungry? Oh do they have treats for you! Delicious little bars of chocolate, coconut, toffee, peanut, etc., layered up in delectable combinations. Cookies, brownies, and biscotti can give you a sugar buzz as well. They seemed to have a few options of savory sandwiches as well but I have a hard time choosing a wrap when there are brownies available!

    So here we've got good coffee, great service, and tasty morsels. Already sounds like a worthwhile place, right? Well, add the grandeur of the architecture of the Guardian building and Rowland knocks it out of the park. It is SO gorgeous in there. High arched ceilings, beautifully painted detailing, ahh! The most ideal place to sit with a cup of coffee, enjoy free wifi, munch on a biscotti, and chill out/work/catch up with a friend (or a few!).

  • 4.0 star rating
    6/12/2013

    Stunning setting for a great cup of coffee and excellent espresso!

  • 4.0 star rating
    2/10/2010
    Listed in Experience Detroit

    First off, if you have not already checked out the Guardian Building, then you MUST! It's my favorite building in Detroit for architecture which just so happens to have this lovely little cafe tucked away inside.

    This was the place I'd go when I lived in Detroit when I wanted a well flavored, strong cappuccino. I don't have to ask for a double shot for fear that I'll get some thing "milked down" with a high milk to liquid caffeine ratio- like at say Starbucks establishments. They carry "illy" brand coffee here, and for those who don't know...illy = delicious! No but really, it's great quality Italian coffee.

    The atmosphere is absolutely gorgeous, there's a huge mural/map of Michigan on one wall and the ceilings are covered in wonderfully detailed tile work. The style, I believe, is Art Deco with an Aztec twist. You'll see what I mean when you get there. The lobby of the building is pretty stunning as well.

    The snack treats are pretty good, last time I was there I got a Madeleine cookie. It was tasty but a bit stale...so that was sort of disappointing, they should be tender not tough!

    Also a big plus is the neighboring Real Detroit store. Literally right next to the cafe you can find all sorts of Detroit made goods- Faygo, Bettermade, Mc Clures Pickles, Printed T's...books on Quame...all sorts of goodies!

  • 4.0 star rating
    6/4/2009

    When I need to escape the confines of the First National Building, I stroll across Woodward Ave. to Rowland Cafe, located in one of my favorite downtown buildings, The Guardian.

    I like to stop in here because it's quiet, there's free wi-fi and it's a great place to people watch, re-center your day. The coffee at Rowland is top notch. It's illy espresso, which makes an incredible Cafe Americano. Don't expect Starbucks inspired creations at Rowland. This stuff is the real deal.

    If coffee's not your speed, as Tiffany D. mentioned, there is a fine selection of Euro water, really expensive soft drinks and imports aplenty. Their food is ok. Most of it comes from the Stella International Cafe (also in the Guardian Building) and is made with quality ingredients, though if a sandwich looks as if it's been sitting for a while, I'd avoid it. The bread can get soggy.

    Lots of pastry options as well.

    All in all, a nice cafe nestled into one of Detroit's most recognizable facade. It's worth the trip inside if you're hoping from building to building or if you haven't had the opportunity to tour some of the D's fine, fine architecture.

  • 4.0 star rating
    2/19/2009

    Beautiful building. Gorgeous, in fact.

    Rowland Cafe is situated right smack dab in a grand atrium of the Guardian Building in downtown Detroit. Ample table space, quick counter service, and generous offerings from quiche, sandwiches, soups, juices and full espresso bar.

    The best (and biggest) bowl of Ethiopian lentil soup I've ever encountered, and it came at precisely the right moment to fend off chilly weather and imminent hunger. Mmmm, very, very good...and priced well at around $4.

    My only hangup was the spotty wifi...

    Winter. Soup. Perfect.

  • 4.0 star rating
    1/16/2009

    What a sweet little excuse to hang out in one of Detroit's most gorgeous buildings.  Their selection of teas was good, and they also had some yummy orangeade and other flavorful refreshers.

    It was around lunchtime, so I tried a tuna sandwich -- simple, crisp and satisfying, unlike some cafe tuna sandwiches that can get a little soggy.

    I had work to do, so I hopped on the wifi and hung out for a spell. I'd be working, working, working, then take a look up and all around me.  Gazing at those mosaics was pretty amazing, and it was wonderful to have a few reflective moments just soaking in the grandeur and considering all of the time and care that must have gone into this landmark.

    The staff here was really friendly, the food was a slight step above a lot of cafes, but the environment?  That's truly the part that can't be beat.

  • 3.0 star rating
    7/24/2011
    Listed in Work and Coffee

    The Rowland wins for location. Bajesus it's beautiful in the Guardian lobby. Having said that, it's a bit of an orphan, dwarfed in a giant space that's shared with a bank and a couple of other small building lobby retailers. Alas there aren't many other good coffee options in downtown Detroit.

    The free wireless is straightforward but my damn work laptop sucks down the juice like a 70s Caddy and power outlets are non-existant in the Rowland's island proper and well hidden in the surrounding lobby environs. Big thanks to the nearby shoeshine guy who pointed out a table that'd been dragged over to a wall where there was a plug about five feet up.

    Space is a bit loud and echo-y due to the nature of the beast, and is a fine tradeoff in exchange for the sheer art deco beauty. Quoting from the wikipedia gives a bit of history of the name of the café (my assumption that the names are related):

    "Wirt C. Rowland, of the Smith Hinchman & Grylls firm, was the building's architect while Corrado Parducci created the two sculptures flanking the Griswold Street entrance. The building includes works by muralist Ezra Winter. Rowland's attention to detail was meticulous. He supervised the creation of bricks to achieve the desired color for the exterior and designed furniture for the bank's offices. His attention went as far as designing tableware, linens and waitress uniforms for a restaurant in the building."

    Definitely a recommended stop for anyone visiting downtown Detroit, but for telecommute friendly café's you'll have to leave downtown =(

  • 3.0 star rating
    11/1/2011

    Came here exclusively for the coffee for a grab-n-go. Totally miss Illy coffee from my Italy days. The barista really knows what he is doing; he made my au lait extremely well with a great foam-to-coffee ratio, and finished with beautiful basic foam art. My friends who ordered pumpkin spice lattes liked them, but thought it was a bit too sweet even compared to Starbucks. Had a good customer service experience here, and would love to come back if I am ever in Detroit again.

  • 4.0 star rating
    8/12/2011

    I have not had the coffee or the food....but I dig the guardian building.  Very pretty....good people watching too.  I come for the free wireless internet!  This is my lunchtime internet fix!

  • 3.0 star rating
    9/13/2010

    It's like drinking coffee in a masterpiece. The service is friendly. The coffee is good. But really, it's all about the surroundings. If walls can be sumptuous...if architecture can totally change your mood, your day, your outlook on the city - than this is that place.

    A building built when architecture was meant to elevate the ordinary person. And a proper espresso.

    It just feels like something wonderful could happen to you here.

    (It's really a very ordinary, but good coffee place, serving illy in those totally cute white cups with saucers. A decent selection of locally made desserts and friendly service.)

  • 5.0 star rating
    1/3/2011

    Great coffee and good food from local vendors as well as their own 'kitchen' (it's a small place).  

    They are also the only game at both their locations since Starfucks abandoned Detroit (good riddance, we have enough fast food in the city!).

    Locally owned / operated with high end equipment and ingredients and great staff.  I believe they also do catering.

  • 1.0 star rating
    2/22/2011

    So here we are kickin it in the big D. And it is about 11am on a Saturday. I need coffee STAT! After a night of partying up ghetto style I need a lil pick me up to get my day off on a good start. I find this place here on Yelp and the site says it is open. FREAKIN SWEET! So off we go, the baby daddy and I. We get to the building and WOW, the inside is freakin awesome! Up the stairs and straight ahead I see the lil stand. But upon further inspection it isn't open. How can I tell? Well no one is at the stand and the porta filters for the groups are still soaking. It was confirmed by the really nice security guard that yes the stand is closed. Also friends went on a Monday morning and they too found the stand closed. WTF?

  • 3.0 star rating
    7/21/2011
    Listed in Coffee to Study By

    The barista team here are hard working and fast, because you're inside the Guardian Building you're dwarfed in gorgeous interiors, and the prices are about in the middle of the spectrum. There's better tasting espresso in the area, but the aesthetic pleasure of lounging in this café is enough cause to return again.

  • 4.0 star rating
    10/18/2008
    First to Review

    An adorable European style cafe nestled in the stunning architecture of the Guardian building.  If you've never seen the inside of the guardian, the Rowland cafe is a good excuse as any.  Plus - free WiFi!

    They serve italian Illy coffee and a selection teas, juices and European waters.  Everything is better with a European label!

    In addition, they do pastries that are delivered daily from local bakeries, and for lunch they offer a selection of sandwiches on fresh baked baguettes.

    Rowland cafe is a little gem that was recently voted best of Detroit in the Metro Times, and with one visit it's easy to see why.

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