The opening of the most Detroit-iest of donut shops was so huge that Rolling Stone even covered it. So there you go. Go eat a donut in honor of James Dewitt Yancey, aka J Dilla, the D's late, great producer.
A sister bar concept to Standby, also located in The Belt art alley in Gilbertville, The Skip is turning the cocktail bar concept on its head, serving up frozen drinks (think frozen negronis and grown folk margaritas), five different kinds of boilermakers, and an Old Fashioned made with rum. The open-air cocktail bar will eventually also serve Latin American street food, but for right now all we can say is bless you, Joe Robinson, for all that you do.
When the Park Bar took a gamble on garlic-covered chicken shawarma, there was no guarantee it would pay off. Now Bucharest Grill has grown so big, it moved out of its original location in the back of the bar into a larger new space, opened two additional locations, has a fourth in the works, and the shawarma is considered among the best late-night foods in the US. The same thing could happen for GoGo's if Detroiters learn to develop a taste for fried spam. Unfortunately for GoGo's, that's a tough hurdle to clear (even in Las Vegas; though considered the "Ninth Island" because of the large number of Hawaiians living in the area, Hawaiian food is little more than a novelty cuisine for a niche audience). Good luck to you all the same, GoGo's. And try the loco moco; it's 100% spam-free!
Detroit & Clawson
Chicken and waffles. Chicken and biscuits. Chicken sandwiches. Chicken with attitude. OK, we're not really sure about that last part (this writer, for one, doesn't like it when anything talks back, much less her food), but we're digging the commitment to America's favorite bird to eat, plus the fact that we can get it in preparations spanning cuisines like tikka and karaage. The New Center location in Detroit isn’t open yet, but will be soon. In the meantime, make this first location part of your Clawson rounds (and make sure those rounds also include Woodpile BBQ Shack, Due Venti, and Noble Fish).
Sushi burritos! They're big out West. Whether or not Metro Detroit is ready for them remains to be seen, but basically they're GIANT sushi rolls (giant enough to be considered "burrito-sized"). There's really nothing else noteworthy about them apart from that -- Mex-Asian "fusion" this is not -- but if the fish is fresh and well-prepared, Yuzu Sushi might just have a hit on their hands, since the prices are very much right.
If you like your craft cocktails with a side of Lovecraft, this is the bar for you. The Dearborn Heights distillery has opened a sexy steampunk bar inside the Kales Building, joining the Royce Detroit Wine Shop.
From the folks who brought you the Bronx Bar comes Queens Bar (yes, another play on a New York borough) in the vaguely Art Deco space that was once home to the Biegas Gallery. A bit sunnier and more stylish than its sister bar in Midtown, Queens is still of the same ethos: unfussy neighborhood spot that serves good beer and burgers (eventually).
What’s the hottest new nightlife spot in Detroit? Survey says: probably still Marble Bar. But El Club, located in the former Mexicantown Fiesta Center, is gaining steam in a major kind of way. From the Trip Metal Fest to The Gories coming up in August, this place kind of feels like a rebirth of the Magic Stick in SW. RIP Magic Stick; long live El Club! Oh, and there's also pizza from Pepe Z, baked in its own Italian pizza oven, so double-score (and double the Magic Stick comparison). It has a pretty terrific patio, too -- all the better to enjoy margaritas on, this still being SW and all.
There is finally something other than Panera Bread to eat in Allen Park, and it is a legit gastropub (with a killer happy hour!) called Griff's. Praise hands emoji.
Metro Detroit has certainly made major strides towards becoming increasingly vegan-friendly, but there is still a long way to go before anyone could claim, "Yes, it has officially happened; don’t worry guys, it's cool, we're good now. We're not quite Southern California and we never will be, but we're good." Chive in Downtown Farmington is another step forward in that direction.
Whoever said a dive bar can't be new has never been to Hamtramck. Trixie's, like Bumbo's before it, is a "new" bar, in that it is under new ownership, but it is still very much a cherished Hamtramckian dive, a neighborhood joint located in an old house with a stage for live music.
A new chicken wing joint that makes 16 original homemade sauces is getting some buzz in… Eastpointe?? Sorry, just choked on a chicken bone for a sec. If Eastpointe is the next inner-ring suburb to happen… damn.
Not to be confused with the recently shuttered Fountain Bistro, the Fountain is a full-service restaurant and bar located next to -- get ready for your minds to be blown here, people -- the fountain in Campus Martius Park. When the weather is agreeable, this will be a great place to hang out in the summer.
If you're a fan of the longtime Dangerously Delicious Pies at 3rd Street Bar in Midtown, then check it out at its very own newly opened café in Downtown Wyandotte, just a couple of blocks from the river. The same sweet and savory pies you have come to love are available for dine-in, carry-out, and catering.
The Flint-based Japanese street food concept has now opened a location in Detroit serving up raw juices and what are essentially sushi cones. Lots of new delivery mechanisms for your sushi lately, Detroit!
Too bad the brewer sucks! Just kidding. Full disclosure: he's one of this writer's good friends. His beer is plentiful and delicious and drinkable. Go tell him how awesome he is and that you like his mustache.
1. Dilla's Delights242 John R St, Detroit
2. The Skip1234 Library St, Detroit
3. GoGo's2040 Park Ave, Detroit
4. Atomic Chicken331 N Main St, Clawson
5. Yuzu Sushi Co.32832 Woodward Ave, Royal Oak
6. Rusted Crow Distillery and Spirits6056 N Telegraph Rd, Dearborn Heights
7. Queen's35 Grand River Ave, Detroit
8. El Club4114 W Vernor Hwy, Detroit
9. Griff's14595 Southfield Rd, Allen Park
10. Chive Kitchen33043 Grand River Ave, Farmington
11. Trixie's Bar2656 Carpenter St, Hamtramck
12. Detroit Wing Co17535 E 9 Mile Rd, Eastpointe
13. The Fountain Detroit, Detroit
14. Dangerously Delicious Pies4626 3rd St, Detroit
15. Chubby Duck208 Grand River Ave, Detroit
16. Kickstand Brewing3050 Union Lake Rd, Commerce Township
17. Bread By Crispelli's931 N Main St, Royal Oak
18. Crispelli's28939 Woodward Ave, Berkley
Owned by the uncle of late hip hop legend J. Dilla, this hip-hop-themed donut shops serves up fried confections made out of 100% organic flour, including flavors like Brewster’s banana pudding, Blackbottom Beatstreet blueberry, and D-lime nut. Though the donut shop is housed in a cozy, nondescript space on the first floor of the Ashley Building, the scent of fried chicken beignets will surely guide you in the right direction until you're greeted by blaring classic hip-hop and turntables.
A sister bar concept to Standby, also located in The Belt art alley, The Skip turns the cocktail bar concept on its head, serving up frozen drinks (think frozen negronis and grown folk margaritas), five different kinds of boilermakers, and an Old Fashioned made with rum. As far as post-imbibing fare, the open-air cocktail bar also serves Latin American street food.
Pacific Islander street food might not be a prominent genre of food, but thanks to this Hawaiian concept hosted by the Park Bar, Detroiters now have a chance to try out fried spam in all its variatons. The Hawaiian menu includes savory, rice- and fish-rich options like spam-free loco moco, manapuas, and Spam musubi, and should be paired with any one of the bar's rotating craft beers.
This fast-casual concept serves up multiple varieties of America's favorite bird to eat, in preparations spanning cuisines like tikka and karaage. Along with every chicken dish imaginable, the restaurant also offers sides like gorgonzola mac & cheese and braised beef and tomato gravy smothered biscuits. Operating as a mini chain, Atomic Chicken is fortunately available in multiple corners of the city.
Yuzu is a casual, yellow-painted sushi restaurant in Royal Oak that specializes in sushi burritos -- two of our favorite things rolled into one giant fish-filled, face-sized meal. Despite their size, the burrito entrees, as well as the poke bowl options, are reasonably priced, and can be had with one of several Japanese side options like carrot ginger salad and miso soup. The Spicy is filled with raw tuna or salmon, cucumber, avocado, panko, spicy mayo, but if raw fish isn’t your scene the Thai-influenced Chicken Satay with grilled chicken, shredded cabbage, carrots, crushed peanuts, and peanut sauce is salty and sweet. It’s furnished with plenty of four-tops so you can sit down and stuff your face at your own pace.
Joining the Royce Detroit Wine Shop, Rusted Crow is a sexy steampunk space in Dearborn Heights sporting craft cocktails made with house-distilled liquor and greasy bar bites. The Rosemary's Baby, prepared with Detroit Steam vodka, housemade rosemary syrup, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and ginger beer, will easily one up your favorite Moscow Mule, and the Crowstache is refreshing and complex with Ginstache Gin, blackberry, cucumber, lime juice, and simple syrup. The food menu is equally unique with options like a branded Mac and Cheese burger, a half pound chuck patty layered with bacon and a gooey block of fried macaroni and cheese, and the specialty Shootie on a Shingle, a 6 ounce flatiron steak served over a hill of Texas toast and topped with gravy-smothered Brussel sprouts and corn.
Opened by the folks who brought you the Bronx Bar, Queens Bar (yes, another play on a New York borough) is located in a vaguely Art Deco space that was once home to the Biegas Gallery. A bit sunnier and more stylish than its sister bar in Midtown, Queens is still of the same ethos: unfussy neighborhood spot that serves good beer and burgers.
Located in the former Mexicantown Fiesta Center, El Club is equal parts concert venue, restaurant, and bar. Hosting events like the Trip Metal Fest to the Gories, and serving up its own Italian pizza, don't be surprised if the crowd du jour consists of a mix of hard partiers, as well as diners who simply want a relaxed night sipping margaritas on the patio.
This minimalist gastropub offers an umami-packed something for everyone, from scotch eggs served with spicy remoulades, to chicken strips and pulled lamb poutine. A weathered wood-covered, homey, one-room venue, Griff's Grills takes detailed measures to maximize their service, offering housemade ketchup and mustard and even incorporating the owner's own herbs into the entrees.
This Farmington vegan spot offers a meat-free menu meant to appeal to vegans and meat-lovers alike, using fresh, local ingredients like McClure’s pickles and whole wheat flour from Westwind Milling. The space is small, but a clean design, and an attractive collection of house cocktails (like the Boozy Blush prepared with housemade Michigan cherry syrup, rhubarb bitters, and orange juice) keeps the place busy on the weekends.
This Hamtramck neighborhood bar is located in an old house with a stage for live music, setting it up as a sort of elevated dive. A cherished and established local spot, expect a familiar and easygoing crowd, sipping on everything from craft beer to $2 PBRs.
This casual chicken wing joint in Eastpointe makes 16 original homemade sauces, and serves up a menu of boneless and classic chicken wings in which to drown them in. The sides are just as rich and gut-busting, and include poutine, mac 'n cheese, and french fries topped in your choice of wing sauce and melted cheese.
Next to Woodward Fountain in Center City, The Fountain Detroit is a miniature beach paradise surrounded by concrete. From afar, this full-service outdoor bar might look like a pop-up event or family playground, but it serves a whole slew of beverages and bar food options. Lounge under a big umbrella and watch the kiddos play in the sand while you feast on a fresh salmon burger or sip on a frozen strawberry margarita — all necessary equipment for an imaginary beach day.
This pie shop founded by musician Rodney "The Pie Man" Henry, whips up creations deserving of the title "Best Pie in Michigan." Every delectable batch of pies, both sweet and savory, are baked fresh and from scratch every day. This means the menu changes daily so you never know what you're getting yourself into when you walk through its doors and into its rustic, bar-like dining area. That is, except a flavor-packed punch: the best seller here is called the S.M.O.G. (that stands for steak, mushrooms, onions and gruyere).
Flint's award-winning chef Ian Diem uses the space that once housed Cilantro Bistro to provide what the people of Downtown Detroit need: a legitimate sushi restaurant. The menu's chock full of standard Japanese soups and salads, but what sets this place high above the rest is its signature "cones," arguably a precursor to the sushi burrito trend. Simply put, they're pieces of seaweed stuffed with rice or quinoa and whatever meats and toppings you choose — all wrapped up like a gryo that fits perfectly in the palm of your hand.
Kickstand Brewing, located way up north in Commerce Township, is all about variety. Its selection of draught beer, made by the double-batch, has more mainstays than it does seasonal brews, a rare move for a craft brewery. Its probably because it creates so many incredible beers (like the Sorachi Blonde with lemongrass, the malty Center Stage Amber and the decadent Birch Bark Porter) that they have no choice but to offer them all year-round. They're easily compatible with any of the pub-grub menu options like a BBQ pork pizza, Southwest burger or reuben sandwich.
An offshoot of neighborhood fave pizza joint, Crispelli's, this family run bakery and pastry shop in Royal Oak serves up classic Italian sweets in a spacious, modern setting. Chocolate croissants are and sweet and creamy without being too heavy and vegetable quiche dishes are a worthy option for lunch. Stop in and scoop up a freshly baked loaf (pro tip: get the kalamata)-- it's the perfect addition to any home made meal.
This bakery/pizzeria/Italian market hybrid offers two different kinds of pizza made with house-made dough -- round Italian thin crust, and square Detroit deep dish. While we appreciate the variety, when at a loosely Italian fast-casual restaurant with counter service, go with the loosely Italian-style pie. They make a lot of great, simple pies, and then there's the shrimp & chorizo, as well as cilantro pesto, roasted red peppers, fontina, Gruyere, and feta.