By The Detroit Foodie
Once home to a thriving immigrant community of Eastern Europeans, now sits one the most desolate neighborhoods in the city.
Driving through Poletown (a Detroit neighborhood just east of the daunting presence of the GM Assembly Plant) you’ll notice block after block of empty lots juxtaposed against burned out storefronts. There are hardly any surviving homes. The desolate landscape resembles more of a prairie than an urban neighborhood.
It’s hard to imagine that Poletown was once a bustling area filled with homes, schools, bakeries, butcher shops, and the like. Now, the neighborhood looks completely forsaken. But, looks can be deceiving. Like the resilient Detroit spirit, you’ll still find a few places that have stuck it out during some of the city’s most difficult times. Definitely make it point to visit the places listed below and show them your support!
Featured Dish: Perch Dinner
To the adventure seekers, foodies, and Detroit purists: if you’ve never been to the Polish Yacht Club (aka the Ivanhoe Cafe) go and bask within the nostalgia that is PYC! Up and running for over 100 years and yet it’s often overlooked. Sure, they’re known for their perfectly crisped Perch Dinners, but it’s the atmosphere that’s the real draw. So if fish isn’t your thing, then stop by for a drink at the bar. Either way, the Polish Yacht Club should be on your Detroit bucket list.
5249 Joseph Campau Ave
Detroit, MI 48211
Places to Visit:
One of the only surviving remnants of the neighborhood’s former Polish community, is the thriving parish of St. Hyacinth’s. Murals and mosaics cover the interior walls. So, take a look inside this beautiful historic Detroit church.
Dan & Vi’s
A party store with incredible food? Oh, the irony…but believe the hype! All you need to know and order is the Deli Slice. Think of it as a Sub & Pizza hybrid. Amazing!!!
5951 Chene St, Detroit, MI 48211
The Raven Lounge
There’s something transcendent about this place. Time stands still. The atmosphere feels nostalgic. People are genuine. And the Blues…well, the Blues is why you came.
Beth Olem Cemetery
Predating the GM Assembly Plant (which encloses this historic relic) is evidence of Poletown’s original Jewish community. It’s open only twice a year ( on the Sundays before Rosh Hashanah and Passover ).
John’s Carpet House
Proof that music is prevalent everywhere in Detroit, even in an open grass field! A free weekly self-organized summer music fest of sorts, with fantastic blues and jazz. So, bring a chair and spend your Sunday afternoon at the Carpet House.
While not technically in Poletown, but close enough to matter, are the 3.5 million square feet that makes up the most photographed urban decay backdrop of the city.