Food & Drink

Everywhere You Should Be Eating in Corktown

Published On 06/02/2016 Published On 06/02/2016
Gold Cash Gold
Courtesy of Gold Cash Gold
Slows BAR B Q

Best barbecue

Slows Bar BQ

Address and Info

2138 Michigan Ave

Wouldn’t it have been funny if this had been something else??? OMG it would have been so. Funny. Alas, this is really it, and you know, it's pretty popular regardless.  

Best egg sandwiches

Astro Coffee

Address and Info

2124 Michigan Ave

They're really freaking good, guys.

Sugar House

Best cocktail bar

Sugar House

Address and Info

2130 Michigan Ave

Maybe you've heard of this one before? (Probably. It's pretty popular.) Besides the slammin' cocktails, find cheese and charcuterie, and also relish trays, pickled vegetables, smoked salmon, and truffle popcorn.

Chris Miele/Courtesy of Katoi

Best new restaurant

Katoi

Address and Info

2520 Michigan Ave

Seriously, what IS this place and why did we have to wait so long for it?? "Thai-ish" cuisine inspired by Southeast Asia and beyond with its own radio livestream and in-house DJ/beverage director in a space that looks straight out of Blade Runner, and, sweet jesus, the cocktails.

Best wine bar

MotorCity Wine

Address and Info

1949 Michigan Ave

Half wine bar, half wine store stocked with worldly wines, MotorCity Wine has pairings of the best things that go with said wine, such as, cheese plates, charcuterie, and guest pop-ups. Plus, rosé on the patio. Rosé ALL day.

Courtesy of Gold Cash Gold

Best fried chicken

Gold Cash Gold

Address and Info

2100 Michigan Ave

It's all about that pickle brine and some good-old Southern comfort food.  

Best brunch

St. Cece's

Address and Info

1426 Bagley Ave

Ideally enjoyed on the patio in the summer or by the fire in the winter, either way you've got biscuits and gravy and rum cinnamon peaches over waffles with horchata ice cream.

Bobcat Bonnie's

Best gastropub

Bobcat Bonnie's

Address and Info

1800 Michigan Ave

Taking its cues from global cuisines but not a "fusion" of any particular one of them, Bobcat Bonnie's serves no-fuss gastropub fare in a friendly neighborhood bar with a nice mix of vegetarian- and vegan-friendly foods and down-home, rib-stickin', meaty Midwestern eats.

Ottava Via

Best Italian

Ottava Via

Address and Info

1400 Michigan Ave

With excellent pizzas, pastas, cheese and meat platters, salads, and a bocce ball court out back, Ottava Via is a no-brainer for one of the top Italian restaurants in metro Detroit.

Best shawarma

Bucharest Grill

Address and Info

1623 Michigan Ave

Yet another "obviously." Yes, you could have written this list yourself. But you didn’t.

Detroit Institute of Bagels

Best bagels

Detroit Institute of Bagels

Address and Info

1236 Michigan Ave

Who needs multiple places serving the exact same items when you can have just one that does it really well? Detroit Institute of Bagels does bagels -- and many variations on the theme -- very well, and it is the only bagel shop we need. Unless a second one opens in Midtown. We could also maybe need that too.

Le Petit Zinc

Best French café

Le Petit Zinc

Address and Info

1055 Trumbull St

This place is so freaking charming you want to pinch it, and the menu, while super simple, is also simply elegant. Enjoy sweet and savory crêpes, oeuf de crudités, ratatouille, salade nicoise, Quiche Lorraine, and more, and if the bees are bee-having (HA!), do enjoy these items on the patio.

Courtesy of Mudgie's

Best deli sandwiches

Mudgie's Deli

Address and Info

1300 Porter St

This kind of goes without saying, but for the sake of being comprehensive, we'll just go ahead and say it again. But if all you know about Mudgie's is its sandwiches, it's time you paid another visit: with a full bar, an excellent selection of Michigan-made beers, meads, ciders, and wines, full dinners, and Sunday brunch service, Mudgie's is so much more than just the deli that made it famous in the first place.

Best other sandwiches

Rubbed

Address and Info

2015 Michigan Ave

There is another sandwich shop in Corktown, and it deserves your attention. Rubbed might be living under Mudgie's size-able shadow, but it stands on its own with a playful sandwich menu, beautiful cheeses, prosciutto plates, and an excellent "After Dark" menu with items like a King's Cut Black Angus prime rib and a three-bone lamb rack.

Best bolillos

Batch Brewing

Address and Info

1400 Porter St

That's another word for sandwich! And Batch's come in varieties like shrimp po-boy and pork belly. Also, beer.

Brooklyn Street Local

Best breakfast

Brooklyn Street Local

Address and Info

1266 Michigan Ave

Brooklyn Street Local definitely has poutine. And it is definitely a poutine worthy of praise. But for the sake of giving every other item on the menu its proper due, every other item on the menu is sourced from local purveyors and made from scratch in-house. Whatever the daily-special quiche is, order it.

Best fish fry

Nancy Whiskey Pub

Address and Info

2644 Harrison St

Every Friday, noon-8pm! Plus -- whiskey!

Best Creole

PJ's Lager House

Address and Info

1254 Michigan Ave

There are, sadly, not a lot of good places to get gumbo around town. And places that do serve gumbo, and are even ostensibly Louisianan in nature, do not necessarily serve good gumbo. PJ's serves good gumbo, as well as po-boys fit for a Detroit palate.

McShane's Irish Pub and Whiskey Bar

Best Irish(-ish) cuisine:

McShane's Irish Pub & Whiskey Bar

Address and Info

1460 Michigan Ave

For a neighborhood called Corktown, there sure aren't a whole lot of Irish, or even quasi-Irish-ish, bars or restaurants left. McShane's is holding down this fort with items like bangers & mash and shepherd's pie. And also Irish egg rolls. (Hint: they have corned beef in them.)

Best sliders

Green Dot Stables

Address and Info

2200 W Lafayette Blvd

Again, obviously. Blah blah blah, mystery meat, etc.

Best bar burger

Nemo's Bar

Address and Info

1384 Michigan Ave

The fact that Nemo's is still stubbornly holding out despite the many, many changes of the face of Corktown makes it charmingly a Detroit 'throwback,' if you will. This place has been around for over 50 years, since the days of Old Tiger Stadium (or, really just "Tiger Stadium"). There's absolutely nothing special about it, and that's what makes it special. And it does serve a damn good burger.

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1. Slows Bar-B-Q 2138 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216 (Corktown)

Slows is a small Corktown BBQ spot with a gourmet spin on delicious slowly cooked meats and plenty of hearty sides on the menu to match. This littler eatery has a cool rustic interior and a serious craft beer menu and over 50 draft beers on tap to pair with your barbeque.

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2. Astro Coffee 2124 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216 (Corktown)

Astro Coffee is a small and cozy cafe best known as the first place in Detroit to get a proper pour-over, but it is also known as the place with the kick-ass egg sandwich, which comes with soft-scrambled eggs, fresh herbs, and an extra-garlicky aioli on a Zingerman's rustic Italian roll. Flat whites are also exceptional here.

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3. Sugar House 2130 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48026 (Corktown)

One of Detroit's leading mixology bars, this hip Corktown spot uses eclectic spirits and mixers to make inventive and delicious drinks. Bartenders clad in tiki shirts or vests shake and stir creative concoctions with off-the-beaten-path liquors -- cacaçha, mezcal, absinthe, madiera, and chartreuse, to name a few -- and homemade infusions and syrups. While the specialty menu rotates seasonally, the staff's encyclopedic knowledge of classics from Aperol Spritzes to Zombies ensures a constant flock of regulars, aided by the antique hunting lodge décor (taxidermy animals mounted throughout, vintage bar stools, original brick facade from 1888) and dim, sultry ambience.

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4. Katoi 2520 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216 (Corktown)

The building that houses this Corktown restaurant might be a nondescript white square, but the interior reveals a dazzling light show that illuminates a full bar and communal tables. Katoi's speciality is Thai, and though the menu changes frequently, it consistently delivers creative, flavor-forward dishes that have won the praises of critics and chefs alike, including James Beard Award-winning Marcus Samuelsson. The most you can do is hope that the wonderfully crispy Thai fried chicken is on the menu when you're there.

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5. Motor City Wine 1949 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216 (Corktown)

Half wine bar, half wine store stocked with worldly bottles, Motor City Wine has pairings of the best things that go with the grape juice, such as cheese plates, charcuterie, and guest pop-ups. This Corktown spot makes all of their bottles available for consumption on premises for just an $8 corkage fee. Enjoy a glass while listening to live bands playing everything from jazz to motown.

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6. Gold Cash Gold 2100 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216 (Corktown)

Gold Cash Gold, named for the pawn shop that previously occupied the space, serves up farm-fresh American fare in the cleverly repurposed space. GCG kept the shop’s iconic exterior murals and signage and even used salvaged wood from the old shop, along with warehouse windows re-welded and set with stained glass, and serves a menu just as timeless and unique. Whether you stop in for brunch or dinner, expect to find upscale dishes like Buttermilk Soup au Lait (pistachio dumplings with a pecorino crisp), dry-aged duck with tequila red beans, pork sausage, sweet potato purée, and chilis, and pickle-brine fried chicken and waffle with homemade ranch. Keep an eye out for the fresh-baked daily doughnut that’s definitely worth the calories.

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7. St. CeCe's 1426 Bagley St, Detroit, MI 48216 (Corktown)

This casual gastropub serves up delicious burgers, a make-your-own noodle bowl, and plenty of local craft beers and spirits. Though anything but austere, the woodwork, stone, and stained glass that deck out this pub make for a composed ambiance, a casualness continued in the patio in the summer and in the colder months, by the live fireplace placed smack-dab in the middle of the dining room for all to enjoy.

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8. Bobcat Bonnie's 1800 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216

Named after the owner's grandmother's vehicle of choice, Bobcat Bonnie's is a casual hangout destination complete with an arcade game room and Golden Tee Golf. Taking its cues from global cuisines but not a "fusion" of any particular one of them, the menu offers up no-fuss gastropub fare, as well as inventive bar snacks and eats, like Cap'n Crunch chicken fingers, sardine butter, and fried goat cheese. Most important is the build-your-own Blood Mary and mimosa bar, where guests can truly have it their way.

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9. Ottava Via 1400 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216 (Corktown)

A traditional Italian joint in Corktown that also boasts a backyard with bocce ball, Ottava Via makes tasty Neapolitan-style pizzas cooked in a brick oven, with traditional flavors like the Margherita or catch-all Italian. We won't stop you from trying a classic, but we suggest the Funghi, which comes with portobello, crimini, shitake, and cipollini mushrooms, and Tartufo cheese.

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10. Bucharest Grill 2040 Park Ave, Detroit, MI 48226 (Rivertown)

Just a quick walk from the ballpark, Bucharest is a great spot for both lunch and late-night shawarma. BG is open until about 2am on weekends, so you can get your spiced beef or chicken (or vegetarian venison, which they have) fix on your way home from a night out. Best of all, this location includes plenty of seating and free parking.

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11. Detroit Institute of Bagels 1236 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48226 (Corktown)

Corktown's home for baglemaster Ben Newman’s bagel sandwiches, this spot offers up bagels with avocados, eggs, goat cheese, bacon, and of course, cream cheese, in between slices of chewy, fresh-baked bagels. The space is perpetually bright, airy, and beautifully tidied in honor of the most important meal of the day.

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12. Le Petit Zinc 1055 Trumbull St, Detroit, MI 48216 (Corktown)

Le Petit Zinc is as close to a French-style bistro as you can get in this part of the Midwest. Expect lighter French fare like pastries, Jambon et Fromage (ham and cheese) crepe salees (savory), Miel (honey) or Nutella crepe sucrees (sweet), to slightly heartier meals like quiche lorraine, ratatouille, and Salade de Chèvre aux Noix (rosemary olive oil over goat cheese on a a toasted baguette with walnuts, potatoes, tomatoes and greens). Named for the zinc bar tops common in French bistros, Le Petit Zinc welcomes you to leave your mark on its easy-wearing zinc surfaces in this low-ceilinged, friendly neighborhood spot. In warm weather, the quaint, romantic backyard garden patio will transport you (and your date) to the French countryside.

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13. Mudgie's 1300 Porter, Detroit, MI 48226 (Corktown)

This artisanal deli is a source of pride for Detroit natives, and it should be: nearly all the meats are roasted in-house and everything from soups, salad dressings, and ketchup is made from scratch. What isn't homemade is sourced from local vendors, and the result is hearty sandwiches like a Reuben on onion bread and the multi-meat Gutty packed with salami, pastrami, corned beef, bacon, and beef brisket. A formidable selection of craft beer, including local and imported bottles, makes Mudgie's a veritable Corktown hot spot for locals on the lunch prowl.

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14. RUBBED 2015 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216 (Corktown)

This Corktown eatery is first and foremost a charcuterie and sandwich shop, but three nights a week it hosts an upscale, meat-focused dinner service. The space is small and casual, but the meat offerings, particularly the charcuterie plates, are generous. It's not a cheap outing, but you will definitely get your money's worth regardless of what you order.

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15. ‎Batch Brewing Company 1400 Porter St, Detroit, MI 48216 (Corktown)

Co-owners Stephen Roginson and Jason Williams bring nano-brewing to Corktown, with delicious small-batch, handcrafted Detroit beer. Also on order is a dope assortment of bar snacks on a weekly rotating menu. We can't say for sure what'll be there when you stop by, but expect creative and flavorful takes on classic bar fare: past dishes include braised pork belly sandwiches, shiitake and bok choy arancini, and chili chicharrones.

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16. Brooklyn Street Local 1266 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48226 (Corktown)

Founded in 2012 by a Canadian couple, Brooklyn Street Local is a homey Corktown lunch destination for vegetarians and carnivores alike. Ingredients are sourced fresh from Detroit's urban farms and are used to create an array of flavorful favorites, such as The BSL, traditional poutine made with organic cheese curds and beef gravy (can be adapted to vegan appetites), The Works, a thick, organic beef patty topped with cheddar, bacon, and a fried egg, the Vegan Reuben served on rye, and rich banana walnut pancakes. The interior has all the marks of an American diner (banquette seating, warm hanging lamps, framed photographs on the walls), but the stylish outdoor patio calls to mind the industrial cityscape of Bushwick, Brooklyn.

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17. Nancy Whiskey 2644 Harrison St, Detroit, MI 48216 (Corktown)

Established in 1902, Corktown’s Nancy Whiskey holds one of the oldest liquor licenses in Detroit. Besides pour whiskey, the Irish pub, inhabiting the ground floor of an old corner building, does other thing right: fry seafood. Fish ’n’ chips, battered cod and seafood tacos are all the rage at a weekly fry. Live music on the weekends and television sets reliably tuned to Lions, Tigers and Wings games keeps the ‘Cheers’ atmosphere alive.

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18. PJ's Lager House 1254 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48226 (Corktown)

This longstanding Corktown joint is known for raucous rock shows, Cajun fried fare, and its rowdy vibes. Case in point: back in the 2000s', PJ's played host as a hangout for the likes of rowdy DET indie rockers The White Stripes and The Von Bondies. Come for the mosh pits, and stay for the gumbo and fried pickles!

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19. McShane's Pub & Whiskey Bar 1460 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216 (Corktown)

This Corktown Irish bar is perfect for St. Patrick's Day or a drink before a Tigers, Red Wings, or Lions game. Pre-game with hearty, Irish fare; McShane's reps its roots with items like bangers & mash, shepherd's pie, and lots of and lots of Guinness. Pro tip: you have to order McShane's insanely addictive corned beef Irish egg rolls. Thank us later.

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20. Green Dot Stables 2200 W Lafayette, Detroit, MI 48216 (Corktown)

You expect sliders to be on the bar menu. But how about 22 different kinds of them? Lansing's Greed Dot Stables takes the slider staple and brings it to its most elaborate end with a selection of playful takes. You can always get a buffalo chicken or cheeseburger slider (which are on offer, don't worry), but try out the unexpected combos: the Korean hosts kimchi and peanut butter atop a beef patty while a PB&J is given a savory zing with chipotle-raspberry jam. And because surprise is the spice of life, you can always order the mystery meat. The rest of the wood bar, designed to recall a horse stable, feels familiar as any neighborhood drinking hole... just with fried baloney on the menu.

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21. Nemo's Bar & Grill 1384 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48226 (Corktown)

Find Nemo in Detroit. This 50 plus year old Corktown favorite not only provides Irish pride and a casual atmosphere in the form of Jameson, Guinness and Jager, but also hosts its own fleet of shuttle buses offering rides to Detroit sports games and other events. It really doesn't get any better than cheap drinks and free transportation.

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