The 6th Annual Essential Rendezvous for all things deliciously Detroit. Just a handful of selections to help us all become well acquainted and more informed Detroiters.
On July 24, 1701, Antoine de LaMothe Cadillac planted the lily strewn banner of France on the bank of the Detroit River. He and his men cleared an acre of land at what is now Jefferson, between Griswold and Shelby, and built Fort Pontchartrain d’Etroit. The City on the Straights would eventually become known as the Paris of the West, the Arsenal of Democracy, The Motor City, Motown, and Detroit Rock City.
1. Eastern Market | Detroit
Said it before and we’ll say it again, Eastern Market is the heart and soul of the city. Nothing like witnessing the sunrise over Detroit against a backdrop of farmers yelling out the prices of tomatoes and corn. But, even if you’re not an early bird you can still catch great prices throughout the day on organic produce, locally sourced fruits and veggies, and packaged foodstuffs from area merchants.
2. Ste. Anne de Détroit Catholic Church | Detroit
Not attempting to pitch religion, but I am attempting to pitch architecture and Detroit history. Founded in 1701, Ste Anne’s is the second oldest continuously operating Roman Catholic parish in the United States. The present Gothic Revival cathedral styled church was completed in 1887.
3. Michigan Central Station | Detroit
The single most photographed building in the city has become an icon of Detroit’s struggle and resiliency. The Metropolitan has long been advocating for the structure to become the first bona fide Ruin in America; complete with ground floor museum, coffee bar, and top floor event space. With external, indirect lighting, an artisan iron fence, gardens, and the use of Roosevelt Park for artists, locals and travelers to congregate, we think it’s a capital idea. Hey – works for Cairo, Athens and Rome.
4. Baker’s Keyboard Lounge | Detroit
My understanding is that Baker’s Keyboard Lounge is the oldest working jazz club in the country. All of the greats have played Baker’s stage, while thrilled audiences sat snugly in discreetly lit, half moon booths. I have been to Baker’s many times for soul food; perfectly fried and spiced catfish or chicken, with sides of mac-n-cheese and yams, accompanied by a split of Champagne. Monday nights are for comedy, with the remainder of the week set aside for local and national acts. Theofficialbakerskeyboardlounge.com
5. American Coney Island & Lafayette Coney Island | Detroit
Can you really have one without the other? Both Detroit landmarks, finally getting some much deserved national attention. “Two up with everything, “I always say. Among the best hot dogs in the country, open 24 hours. AmericanConeyIsland.com | Lafayette: 313. 964. 8198
6. 1515 Broadway | Detroit
Cafe, black-box theater and Detroit institution since 1987, 1515 Broadway has been a Salon for artists of all mediums, area businesspeople, students and locals alike. Excellent coffee and tea selection, sandwiches & baked goods, the rustic tables and chairs in this French New Wave inspired coffee house invite one to enjoy a good read, or political debate. And, chess enthusiasts will appreciate the street side tables adorned with game boards. Who says Detroit isn’t romantic? 313. 965. 1515
7. Campus Martius Park | Detroit
What a beautiful little park we have right in the center of downtown. Campus Martius offers a beautifully lit Christmas tree, ice skating, fire pits and smores in winter, with a gorgeous fountain, bistro tables and manicured lawn in summer – great views all year round. Happy Hour and cocktails at Fountain Bistro are highly recommended. Please, try the French 75.
8. Belle Isle Conservatory | Detroit
The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory was built in 1904, designed by Albert Khan and modeled after Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. This historic gem houses varieties of lush tropical flora and fauna, open Wed-Sun year round for the public. During spring and summer months the island is in full bloom including the beautifully manicured gardens surrounding the conservatory (my favorite picnic spot). 313. 331. 7760
9. Henry The Hatter | Detroit
Gentlemen: If you are looking to up your image there is no other place in Detroit to appropriately top your outfit than Henry The Hatter. Let these professionals show you why they have been in business since 1893. For a complete history of Detroit’s exclusive Hatter visit: HenryTheHatterDetroit.com
10. Antietam | Detroit
Of the new restaurant openings in Detroit over the past year, Antietam ranks at the top of our list. The sophisticated menu is something of a rarity, if not unique, in a town that is currently going through a revival. Antietam offers its diverse clientele a dazzling array of culinary combinations, with owner Greg Holm paying every attention to detail to not only his food, but also the quality of service administered by his staff (again, a rarity in Detroit). There is nothing “cute” or “ironic”here. Antietam’s interior is a romantic pairing of Art Deco meets rustic Francophile, with deep woods, tufted leather, hanging chandeliers, crystal goblets and, of course, a chess set. Antietam offers a quality wine list, equal to the task of matching the work created in kitchen, but it is the efforts of beverage director, Al Depompeis, and his hand-crafted assortment of absolutely divine libations that should be enjoyed by cocktail aficionados again and again. Nothing is amiss in this establishment. The Metropolitan implores you to dine and drink at Antietam; safe with the knowledge that your experience will meet with the highest satisfaction, and with great hopes that this little masterpiece marks the true direction of our beloved d’Etroit.
AntietamDetroit.com | 313. 782. 4378
11. Detroit Institute of Arts [DIA]
There is always plenty to do inside the DIA. Galleries contain some of the world’s finest works from Titian, Monet, and Warhol – even a self-portrait by Van Gogh, and there are new exhibitions running throughout the year. The Kresge Court is among the cities more romantic environments, and offers the discerning pallet a playful selection of food and drink. The DIA is open late every Friday with live music, art-making workshops, drawing in the galleries and guided tours. Activities take place from 6-10 p.m. and are free with museum admission. DIA.org
12. Rose’s Fine Food | East Side Detroit
A new edition to Detroit’s culinary fare, Rose’s Fine Food is a friendly, neighborhood spot serving made-from-scratch breakfast, lunch and vintage inspired atmosphere. The menu changes, but I do like Silverman’s Special (eggs, homemade toast, grits or potatoes) and Grandpa Richard’s Pancakes (with real maple syrup). www.rosesfinefood.com
13. Taqueria El Rey | Mexicantown
Known for serving up Detroit’s best tacos, this little family owned taqueria is a no frills, down home, authentic Mexican cookery. But, it’s Taqueria El Rey’s whole chickens, cooked out of doors and on the grill, insanely seasoned and spiced, chopped into pieces, and served with beans, rice, tortilla, and salsa that will have you craving your next visit before you even get fully into your car. Great chips, Mexican Cokes, and a pleasant custard dessert all make for one delicious lunch or dinner. Not the best known in Mexicantown but word has been spreading. Enjoy! Taquiera-ElRey.com
14. DTW (Detroit Metropolitan Airport) | Romulus
Of course, we are biased, but DTW is one of the nations, if not the worlds, finest airports. Clean, well run, and filled with plenty to do and see, one of the more fascinating features is the Light Tunnel – connecting Concourse A with Concourse B/C – that is choreographed to ambient music and serves not only as an entertaining way to catch a plane but also as a noise buffer against jumbo jets rolling over head. Don’t forget to first rub the head of the bust of Mr. Edward McNamara – located near the escalators in Concourse A that lead to the tunnel – as is the tradition for good luck. Each time I do my wait in line for coffee is greatly reduced. According to the DTW Economic Impact Report, conducted by U of M College of Business, the Total Economic Impact of the airport to the metropolitan area is $10.198 billion dollars. Now, that’s a “stimulus” package.
15. The Sanders Hot Fudge Cream Puff | 9 Metropolitan Locations
Sanders ice cream parlors have been a family tradition since 1875 and the hot fudge ice cream puff remains one of the great creations from le grand d’Etroit. We suggest Butter Pecan, wrapped inside the light, flaky puff, with just a lil bit more fudge than your diet considers necessary. SandersCandy.com
16. Supino Pizzeria | Eastern Market District
Supino stands alone as the only place in town to score a quality “slice”. Somewhere between an Italian pizza and a well-crafted New York City slice, this pizza has become a Detroit staple. The Metropolitan recommends the Cheese, the Supino, or the Margherita, but we are sure all pizza at Supino is delicious. Take it outside, stand on the corner, give it a fold, and bite. Guaranteed to make even your saddest day better. SupinoPizzeria.com
17. The Sugar House | Corktown
Maybe, we should never have mentioned that the Old Fashioned at The Sugar House was only $5 – now it is beyond $7. No matter, the ambiance, cocktails and Detroit spirit that lives inside this Corktown favorite more than makes up for it. Handcraft cocktails made fresh with a sense of history.
18. Red Coat Tavern | Royal Oak
Tavern décor – low light, red tufted booths, dark wood and a buzzing atmosphere; this place is always busy, and after decades of being in business the Tavern still has the best Bar/Restaurant burger and Fish n Chips in town. Strong pours, fair pricing and good service have made this area landmark an industry favorite. 248. 549. 0300
19. Main Art Theatre | Royal Oak
The best in independent and foreign film can be found at Landmark’s Main Art Theatre. Three screens, all with great sound and seating, the Main Art’s main auditorium rates among the top movie going experiences in the city. Friendly and knowledgeable personnel staff the theatre, and run a fine concession stand, complete with gourmet chocolates, tea and coffee. Main Art hosts Midnight movies throughout the year and also regularly screens the work of local filmmakers. LandmarkTheatres.com
20. Cyberoptix Tie Lab | Detroit
Screen-printed by hand, “elegantly subversive”, Designer Bethany Shorb has created an answer for ties that normally suck. Shorb, and her team of artisans, have caught the attention of bpm, Bust, Metro Pop, and even Martha Stewart – Suit up & Boot up Detroit! Cyberoptix.com
21. Valentine Distilling Co. | Ferndale
The creation of Rifino Valentine, this distilling company and tasting room is a throwback to those happy days of prohibition. Rifino refurbished the building with his own hands, often utilizing reclaimed brick, glass and ironwork from abandoned buildings in Detroit. Lovers of hand crafted cocktails can choose from vodka, gin and whiskey based libations, developed by mixologist, Nick Brancaleone, in an intimate atmosphere designed for conversation. In fact, it is safe to say Valentine Distilling Company is the pioneer of distilled spirits and handcraft cocktails in the Detroit metropolitan region, having opened its doors in early 2010. Using full disclosure, Valentine is a long-standing supporter of this publication and, Nick Brancaleone is brother to its editor – but, that doesn’t make its product or service any less potent. We are proud to support this fine establishment. ValentineDistilling.com | 248.629. 9951
22. Detroit Opera House | Theatre District
One of the finest nights one can have in the city is to experience Opera at the Detroit Opera House. Music, theatre, women in gowns, martinis, the velvet curtain, and the nervous anticipation of witnessing a classic art form – now, where the hell did I put my tie?
23. Le Petit Zinc | Corktown
Feeling a little French? This neighborhood café specializes in crepes, breakfast, salads, sandwiches, and brunch. With a number of crepe salees or sucrees to choose from I often find myself repeating my favorites: Fromage de Chevre et Epinards, Jambon et Fromage, or just the simple sucree combination Citron Sucre. And, where else can one find Ratatouille (vegetable stew)? With its French colonial vibe, complete with patio sanctuary, it is a wonder I am not here every day. Lepetitzincdetroit.com
24. Detroit Mercantile Company | Eastern Market District
Owner Robert Stanzler has curated a collection of “Made in the USA” new and vintage items from Detroit, the Great Lakes State, and all across America. His shop is thoughtfully designed, and for those who appreciate authentic gear, DMC is a fine place to search of that perfect item; be it Carhartt clothing, vintage bicycles, road signs, or just a few interesting postcards (to let everyone at home know you’re thinking of them). DetroitMercantile.com
25. Michael Symon’s Roast | Detroit
Located in the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel sits Chef Michael Symon’s Roast. Dinner menu includes Crispy Pig Tails, Roasted Marrow, with a seasonal Roast Beast, Duck and Smoked Sturgeon. But, the Sea Salt & Olive Oil Filet, with a side of Rosemary Fries and one of Brussels Sprouts Walnuts are how this Metropolitan dines. Monday through Friday, between the hours of 4:30-6:30, the good folks at Roast offer an unbelievably fine Happy Hour. Food items between $3-$5, great beer and wine prices, though we prefer the French 75, the Negroni, or The Metropolitan specialty cocktails.
Each year, Jerry Vile and his team of dirty curators come together to orchestrate the largest erotic art show in the world. While the show may not be for everyone, it certainly brings out the naughty in those of us who do attend. Fine art, sculpture and live performance make up the majority of the exhibition, while the mercurial audience of fetishists fill out the rest. DirtyDetroit.com
27. Cliff Bell’s | Detroit
A well lit, speakeasy featuring live music, romantic seating, cocktails and a very interesting menu. Cliff Bell’s has been a Detroit favorite since it opened it’s doors, with a calendar of events that offers live jazz, electronic artists, and the once per month Moth StorySlam, where area storytellers take the stage to share stories before a full house. Cliff’s has certainly earned its spot in the fabric of the city. Expect superior ambiance, with well-attired and engaged patrons. Happy Hour includes 3-$5 drafts, cocktails and wine and a solid bar menu. Cliffbells.com
28. Standard Barber Company | Detroit
Located on the second floor of the Reid Building, Standard Barber Company has been creating classic, dapper cuts for men since 2014. Recently, renovated, the men’s barbershop has reopened, as of February 02, with new vigor, and is ready to once again serve well groomed gentlemen. Look for the bright red door – street level – at 138 Cadillac Square. 313. 965. 6500 | StandardBarberShop.com
29. Moro’s | Allen Park
Thomas Moro opened his restaurant in 1980. He has kept a keen eye on his culinary roots, with classic dishes culled from high-end Italian restaurants and American Country Club settings, circa 1960s. If you have yet to enjoy certain dishes of lore, i.e. Chateaubriand (served tableside to 2 or more), with scalloped potato, vegetable sides, Minestrone AND a Classic Caesar salad, with homemade Italian bread (also ala 1960s), followed by a fruit & nut basket (with 1960s nutcracker), vintage Chianti, coffee then Moro’s is an absolute must on your list of fine dining. Remember to finish your evening with either Cherries Jubilee or the Banana Tropicale (also served tableside). And, please, tell Moro The Metropolitan sent you. 313. 382. 7152 | MorosDining.com
30. Le Petit Prince | Birmingham
Authentic French bakery, family owned and operated. Highly recommend the Almond Paste Croissant, Pointu, Mistral or any ganache pastry. Absolutely nothing like it in the state. 248. 644. 7114
31. Los Galanes | Mexicantown
Fabulous street side seating for a spring/summer time dinner date – accented with Spanish tiled tables, colorful lanterns and Pina Coladas. Tacos and guac are sure winners, but if you’re in the mood for hot food may we suggest Caldo de Pollo (a knock-out homemade chicken soup with huge hunks of chicken and vegetables). Never a bad time at Los Galanes! 313. 554. 444 | losgalanesdetroit.com
32. Selden Standard | Detroit
Another new offering for those interested in innovative food and drink is Selden Standard, helmed by partner and Executive Chef, Andy Hollyday – located in Midtown. Chef Hollyday worked as Executive Chef at Michael Symon’s Roast, but has launched – along with partners – his version of small plates, culled from local farms and markets. Open for Lunch, Dinner and Brunch, the clean and crisp restaurant/bar excels at mature fare, with simply exquisite takes on meat and fish [Mussels, Duck, Rabbit, Quail], but with a wink at dishes currently found in the Hipster lexicon – Kale Caesar, Roasted Brussels, Pork Shoulder – which make for an all around enjoyable and exciting menu. Craft cocktails, beer, and ciders, and a taught, yet thoughtful, selection of Bubbles and Wine round out the intelligent options for food and beverage. For lovers of all things sweet, Pastry Chef, Sara Hackstock (also formerly of Roast) has developed a selection of Desserts that will certainly add comfort to our cold, Michigan nights. We recommend the Dark Chocolate Pot de crème. Lets just say that again: The Dark. Chocolate. Pot. De Crème. 313. 438. 5055 | SeldenStandard.com
33. The Roma Café | Eastern Market District
Authentic, old school Italian cooking located in the Eastern Market area. In fact, The Roma is the oldest in the city, serving Detroit since 1890. Though, there are many fine items on the menu, my father, and his dad, always liked the Strip Sirloin alla pizzaiola, with a side of angel hair pasta! RomaCafe.com
34. Cost Plus Wine Company | Eastern Market District
This family owned and operated wine shop has been supplying Detroiter’s with some of the world’s finest wine for decades. Inside, you will find a lively atmosphere, with folks from the neighborhood and market gathering to share news, stories, or just a few laughs.
35. Greektown | Detroit
Yes, I know, Greektown is not what it used to be. But, Manhattan’s Little Italy ain’t what it used to be either. But, we still have ouzo and lamb, Saganaki and baklava, and for one city block you can enjoy several different restaurants, a casino, a bakery and one or two late night bars. Plus, they pump Greek music through speakers on the street. The Golden Fleece is currently the oldest operating restaurant in Greektown, with fabulous Gyros, lamb and chicken kebobs. Santorini is another favorite restaurant on the block, where Detroit City politicos mingle with both locals and tourists at the bar. And, be on the lookout for the Greek Independence Day Parade, which usually happens near the end of March each year.
36. Louis Pizza | Hazel Park
For square, deep-dish pizza in Detroit there is only Loui’s. This classic pizzeria has been around for decades and has been the subject of several Metropolitan articles. We simply can not get enough of that thick, cheesy, pizza, with just the right amount of burnt, crispy dough supporting Loui’s sauce. The interior of this local favorite has not changed since the day it opened. Loui’s is a true Detroit original. Louispizza.net
37. Hygrade Deli | Corktown
We are embarrassed to say it but until owner, Stuart Litt, had contacted The Metropolitan d’Etroit via facebook we had never heard of this 60 plus year old Deli, located along Michigan Ave in Corktown. Now that we’ve had the opportunity to step inside and order a few of the best Reuben’s we have ever had there is no doubt that we shall return. Oh, and the latest Batman movie just shot inside! 313. 894. 6620
38. The Penobscot Building | Detroit
Enjoy Mad Men? Fantasize about Don Draper selling you a line before taking you to bed? Or, maybe, you prefer the voluptuous redhead? Well, this is where they would have worked if they were in Detroit. Take a walk through the building and feel the history. My dad was a broker in the Penobscot. We’d ride the train downtown, and eat in the cafeteria on the Congress level – where he had me call him “uncle” whenever a voluptuous redhead was nearby – and spend the afternoon in the city. For that I am in love with this building. PenobscotBuilding.com
39. Café D’Mongos Speakeasy | Detroit
Once, the best kept secret in Detroit; now, the celebrated wonderbar of Capital Park. Forget what you think you know about stepping out on Friday night: let your guard down, relax, explore, and enjoy the experience of new adventure. Café D’Mongo’s is a pure gem: Food, drink, French atmosphere, a great staff and crowd, and one of the hottest house bands in town.
40. Gayle’s Chocolates | DTW & Royal Oak
It’s cold out, and chances are it is going to be cold for quite some time. Hot chocolate at the counter of Gayle’s makes it all ok. High cocoa content chocolate and, if you’re lucky, a good snow storm outside to hide from. Other favorites at Gayle’s are Chocolate Covered Dried Cherries and Champagne Truffles. What woman wouldn’t want a gift from Gayle’s? GaylesChocolates.com
41. Greenfield Village/The Henry Ford | Dearborn
Greenfield Village takes us back in time, with Model T rides, steam engine train rides, workers dressed in period clothing, famous buildings and homes, time period meals served at The Eagle Tavern, a beautiful antique carousel, and special holiday events. The Henry Ford is a museum like no other, with cars, trains, buildings and history inside that will stick with your for a lifetime. Great fun for the whole family. Thehenryford.org
42. Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company | Detroit & Bloomfield
Metropolitan staffers spend many afternoons sipping organic, ethically sourced coffee from this urban roasting company. Brick, hardwood, French bistro tables, community seating, and plenty of natural light combine to form the perfect union of form and function. Great Lakes offers small plates, tea, desserts, and a fully stocked bar (which is where our editor spends most of his time). The Bloomfield location includes the Maple Theatre, which offers independent and foreign film.
43. Luxe Bar & Grill | Birmingham
Filet, Hamburger, Roasted Brussel Sprout Salad and a good Martini all make for a great late night dinner in this compact, New York inspired space. 248. 792. 6051 | luxbarandgrill.com
44. The Rustbelt Market | Ferndale
The creation of Tiffany and Chris Best, Rustbelt Market is a terribly well designed retail & event space, loaded with area artisans, craftsmen, and culinary artists. Spend hours among original works, repurposed items, and the curios of over 50 vendors. The Rustbelt also operates as an incubator for small business, having launched the opening of several vendors into their own space. 810. 441. 0956 | rustbeltmarket.com
45. Noble Fish | Clawson
The sushi is superior; this is where all Detroit sushi lovers go. Everyone knows this. Everyone. There isn’t much more for me to say; if you love sushi, visit Noble Fish. 248. 585. 2314 | noblefish.com
46. Slows Bar BQ | Corktown & Midtown
It would be impossible to speak of Corktown without the discussion of Slows Bar B Q. Owner Phil Cooley has earned global press for his efforts over the past decade to revitalize that neighborhood. But, it’s also important to note that Slows is still a solid Bar B Q joint. My preference is to dine at the bar with The Reason, or the Pulled Pork, with Mac & Cheese. Another option is carry out at Slow’s-To-Go midtown location. Grab some BBQ, pick up a bottle of your favorite Bourbon, and stay indoors with your significant other during our next snowfall. #BBQcuddles Slowsbarbq.com
47. Two James Spirits | Corktown
Another of the many fine establishments in Corktown is Two James, which sits just west of Roosevelt Park, in the shadow of Michigan Central Station. The Tasting Room/distillery is open every day but Monday, and is a warm and inviting space that offers flights of Two James spirits, craft cocktails, and plenty of atmosphere. While always a sucker for an Old Fashioned, I have also enjoyed the wide range of Gin, Vodka and Whiskey based cocktails that revolve with the seasons on the menu. TwoJames.com
48. Dutch Girl Donut | Detroit
Family owned and operated since 1947; you can taste the family tradition. No frills, no seating, just the best donuts in Detroit for 65 plus years. If you’re an out-of-towner looking to win the hearts of locals, bring a box of Dutch Girls. 313. 368. 3020
49. Pinwheel Bakery & Red Hook Coffee | Ferndale & West Village, Detroit
Just a small neighborhood bakery and coffee shop, but does it do a fine job; with Pinwheel baking everything from scratch each morning including, sweet and savory baked goods, cookies, cakes and macarons, all served alongside Red Hook’s Stumptown coffee. And, Red Hook uses strictly Guernsey Dairy products. Both locations are a fine way to start your morning, or to simply pass an afternoon. RedHookDetroit.com | PinwheelBakery.com
50. Giovanni’s Ristorante | Detroit
Established in 1968, Giovanni’s is a classic Italian restaurant with an atmosphere that exudes oldworld charm. Owner Francis Truant treats all of her guests like family, while her son, Executive Chef Randy Truant creates delicious old country recipes in the traditional style of Italian cooking, much of which was learned beneath Executive Chef Paulina Tarducci. Homemade pasta is served each day, with a variety of Antipasti, Zuppe, pizzas, and meat and fish dishes. All original sauces come from the San Marino region in Italy, and served in this discreet downriver Detroit location with amore. Giovannisristorante.com
51. Polonia | Hamtramck [bonus]
No list about Detroit could be complete without Polonia restaurant. Friends and family have gathered in this Hamtramck restaurant for good, old fashioned, traditional Polish food for over forty years. Polonia serves hearty dishes at very reasonable rates. Allow us to suggest the Polish combination plate, the Stuffed Cabbage and the City Chicken (a rare find indeed). Na zdrowie! Polonia-Restaurant.com
So, how did The Metropolitan create it’s list for 2015? Simple. We placed our top 100 selections in a hat and pulled them out one by one. Please, email your spots for Detroit lovers to [email protected]