Food & Drink

The Best Brunches in Detroit, According to Your Favorite Chefs

Published On 09/11/2015 Published On 09/11/2015
Courtesy of Brooklyn Street Local

We’ve already given you our picks for Detroit’s best brunch, but what do we know? We know that when it comes to something so important, it’s good to hear from the experts. That's why we asked six sweet Detroit-area chefs to pick their favorite brunch spots, and tell why you might catch them dining there this weekend. Feast your eyes...

Chef Les Molnar of Green Dot Stables, Johnny Noodle King, and the soon-to-be-opened Huron Room

His pick: Brooklyn Street Local (address and info)
Molnar has had a busy year with the opening of the second Green Dot Stables in Malaysia (!) and his upcoming Huron Room (which will be heavy on Michigan produce, meats, and Great Lakes fish). But when he has time for brunch, you’ll probably find him eating the Canuck sandwich with house-made peameal bacon at Brooklyn Street. “I’m partial to (it) because they opened around the same time Green Dot did,” he tells us. “They try hard to keep it fresh and keep it local. They make good-tasting and healthy food, which I like in a brunch.”

Courtesy of Yana Benjamin

His second pick: The Dime Store (address and info)
Touted as an “American brunch bar,” this 2014 addition to the city is centrally located and is “an inviting place,” according to Molnar.  “You kind of forget that you’re in downtown Detroit for a minute,” he says about the space. The Dime Store’s quality ingredients stand out, and Molnar recommends the duck Reuben with a hand-crafted Bloody Mary to wash it down.
His third pick: The Bronx Bar (address and info)
One of Detroit’s seminal dive bars, the Bronx has one of the best Bloody Mary bars in the city. It’s where Molnar goes if a liquid brunch is what he seeks.

Courtesy of Yemans Street

Chef Graham Schave of Your Gourmet

His pick: Chocolate Gallery Café (address and info)
Schave sings the praises of this charming, off-the-beaten-path diner with “standard brunch fare done very well.” It’s good enough to get him out of bed early on a weekend to make the trek to Warren -- which let’s be honest, no one wants to do. The food is that exquisite, he says. His favorites are the French toast with mascarpone cheese and fresh berries, and he says the café serves some of the best omelets known to man. “It’s really a hidden gem,” Schave says. “The clientele is all over the board -- lots of regulars. A lot of times with some of these new, hip brunch places, you feel you’re paying a whole lot of money for a little bit of food and a lot of attitude, and this place isn’t like that at all.”
His second pick: Yemans Street (address and info)
As a chef who has served his food in a number of Detroit’s pop-ups, Schave recommends this rotating, weekend brunch pop-up. “It doesn’t necessarily get super expensive but it does get pretty funky. Like cookies ‘n’ cream pancakes, bacon all over everything, a donut bar... for lack of a better term, avant-garde. Just fun, funky food in a great atmosphere.”
His third pick: Café Muse (address and info)
Royal Oak
This Royal Oak hotspot has one of the most consistent brunches around and is “just always solid.” Schave says this is a great spot to hit if you’re looking for a slightly more “fine dining” feel, which “the other two lack.” He recommends the steak & eggs, which is served with a grilled hangar steak, as well as the exotic mushroom scramble with Boursin cheese and truffle oil.

Courtesy of Parks and Rec

Chef Travis Waynick and Chef John Breeland of Rochester Tap Room

Travis’ pick: Parks & Rec (address and info)
Waynick gives praise to Chef Kate Williams who helped open this new brunch spot in the theater district: “She’s doing some cool things, like old-school crepes and popovers,” he says. “Everything is just very fresh -- all the breads and everything are made in-house.”
Travis’ second pick: Gold Cash Gold (address and info)
Waynick can’t speak highly enough about the pickle brine fried chicken & waffles -- a Detroit staple -- at this new Michigan Ave restaurant. He loves GCG’s modern food with an old farmhouse twist, and that everything is made in-house. “That is the kind of stuff I go for,” he says. “I don’t want to go eat somewhere where they are buying their product elsewhere and just reheating it for me. Everything is very intricately done here.”
John’s pick: Connor’s Family Dining (address and info)
Breeland recently started doing his own Sunday brunch at Pontiac’s new shared kitchen and pop-up space, The Menagerie, as well as running his own catering business, all of which keep him very busy, but he still has time to hit his favorite breakfast spot -- this old-school diner West of the city. He always orders the corned beef, and one of two monstrous three- to five-egg omelets (The Beast, or the Son of the Beast) stuffed with five ingredients for $7.50. “That’s what I throw down and my wife watches me act like an idiot,” he says. “It’s a cool place.”

Courtesy of Rose's Fine Food

Chef Greg Reyner of Café Muse

His pick: Rose’s Fine Food (address and info)
The executive chef and owner of Café Muse is usually neck high in brunch orders himself, but when he has a weekend morning free, he heads to Rose’s Fine Food. “The baked goods are amazing,” he says. “They’ll do eggs with kale and potatoes -- it’s pseudo, almost healthy which is always a good thing.” He also digs the intimate setting and the retro vibe.

Courtesy of Beverly Hills Grill

His second pick: The Beverly Hills Grill (address and info)
Beverly Hills
Reyner says when wants to go someplace a bit more old school, he heads to this swanky restaurant in the Northern suburbs. “They’ve been doing brunch far longer than I have, and it’s always amazing,” he says. With things like whole-wheat pancakes with strawberry peach syrup, and Skuna Bay salmon hash on the menu, it’d have to be. 


Chef Mike Barrera of Townhouse

His pick: La Dolce Vita (address and info)
LDV has long been an intriguing, off-the-beaten-path site for Detroiters in the know -- but one of its best offerings is a killer brunch, Barrera says. “There’s no one set dish that’s way better than another,” he says. “(But) they have bottomless mimosas, which is always a bonus, and kind of the beauty of brunch. The coolest thing about that place is where it’s located, it’s kinda tucked away with this beautiful atrium.”
His second pick: Selden Standard (address and info)
One of the darlings of the new Detroit dining world is also one of Barrera’s favorite brunch spots. The secret to Selden’s success, Barrera says, is having a smaller menu. “When the menu is more precise, it’s going to have a lot of pop and flavor,” he says. “An oversaturated menu seems to be watered down.” He almost salivates when describing his favorite dishes: pastrami hash, eggs Benedict, and the tortilla Española.

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Megan Frye is a writer/world traveler who lives in Detroit, and will totally have brunch with you. Follow her: @fryechild.

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1. 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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2. Dime Store 719 Griswold St, Detroit, MI 48226

This American brunch bar, located inside the Chrysler house, offers a trendy downtown meal at an affordable price, packed with gourmet ingredients. The space is high-ceilinged and festooned with eclectic wall art, neon lights, and a bright color palette that evokes mimosas. As if the menu of omelettes and sandwiches weren't telling enough, the meal du jour here is breakfast and lunch, with a side of booze (even beermosas!), and it's all by way of Detroit. If you're curious where any of your courses come from, look to the last page of the menu, which lists all of its midwestern sources. Midwestern gastropub fare

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3. Bronx Bar 4476 2nd Ave, Detroit, MI 48201

Dimly lit, graffitied, and complete with a shot board and pool table, the Bronx bar is everyone's favorite dive. Sure, the staff is exceptionally cranky in a city where "cranky" is often a best-case scenario, but with juicy burgers, and a make-your-own-Bloody Mary bar on weekends, they've gotta make concessions somewhere.

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4. The Chocolate Gallery Cafe 3672 Chicago Rd, Warren, 48206

If there was ever an excuse to have dessert for breakfast, this is it. From a mascarpone french toast to ricotta pancakes, put that eggs Benedict out of your mind and opt for the sweet tooth brunch this time.

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5. Yemans Street 2995 Yemans St, Hamtramck, 48212 (Hamtramck)

A host of a variety of different cuisines, this trendy food destination has brought renewed flavor and drama to the area.

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6. Cafe Muse 418 S. Washington Ave, Royal Oak, MI 48067 (Royal Oak)

Made with harvarti, fontina & fresh mozzarella, organic bread, and a smear of honey (all locally sourced), Muse's grilled cheese was unsurprisingly recognized by Esquire as one of the "best sandwiches in America". Snag this and other awe-inspiring creations for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or boozy dinner.

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7. Parks & Rec 1942 Grand River Ave, Detroit, 48226

Parks & Rec Diner is not the quintessential, old-school Detroit diner that the city knows so well. While it does have classic diner tendencies (open every day at 8am to feed Motor City's early morning masses), the menu is not one of them. While plenty of standard diner dishes still remain, like biscuits and gravy, omelettes, and a bologna sandwich, you’ll find elevated outliers, as well. Think coconut milk yogurt parfait, a house-cured salmon plate, and a cinnamon roll with orange-Chevre icing.

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8. 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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9. Connor's Family Dining 15356 Haggerty Rd, Northville, MI 48170

Head here for meals that still value American portion sizes. Hunger? By the end of your meal you won't even remember the meaning of such a word.

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10. Rose's Fine Food 10551 E Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI 48214

The small building that Rose’s Fine Food inhabits has been a diner for decades and has retained all of its original, crusty East Detroit charm. But by making everything from scratch from locally-sourced products, Rose’s delivers an "ultimate" gourmet twist on typical American diner food. For breakfast it serves options like decadent, gluten-free buckwheat pancakes and the Poodle Platter (2 poached eggs, sautéed greens, potatoes, and homemade toast with homemade ricotta cheese and jam); lunch is more savory with options like buttery lamb tacos with homemade turmeric yogurt on homemade tortillas. The owner’s believe in paying their employees a living salary, as in they don’t need tips to survive but they are still appreciated and part of those proceeds go to local charities.

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11. Beverly Hills Grill 31471 Southfield Rd, Beverly Hills, MI 48025 (Beverly Hills)

Jumping brunch spot serving New American food. The place to go if you appreciate the bustling clamor of busy kitchens and cacophonies of merry, tipsy diners.

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12. La Dolce Vita 17546 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48203

A double-threat, La Dolce Vita is equally capable of satisfying you with bottomless mimosas and shrimp benedicts in the early hours or wowing your date with lobster-stuffed ravioli and house-made gnocchi in the evening. When the weather allows, don't settle for anything less than a spot on the patio as you fatten up to jazz music.

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13. Selden Standard 3921 Second Ave, Detroit, MI 48201 (Midtown)

Made moody and proper with charcoal black tables and seats, and a white-tiled full-service bar that intimidates with its wide liquor selection, Selden Standard marries the upscale with fresh, rustic fare usually seen in more whimsical settings. The menu is brought to you with the help of partnerships with michigan farms, and features simply dressed courses like charred octopus, chicken and ricotta campanelle, and half grilled chicken.



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