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Jul 31, 2008 12:39 PM

RO, MI Red Coat Tavern

After reading many reviews about how good the hamburgers were here I decided to finally make it out there. I can't say it's the best I ever had and I tend to compare MI food to Cali food being I grew up in Cali. But I will say without a doubt it was the best hamburger I've had in Michigan to date. The reviews here were right on. Great burger, great service, and ironically very close to work so I have to resist eating there too often. Thanks to the folks that have recommended Red Coat Tavern here on Chowhound it was a great lunch.


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  1. Well, thanks for letting us know you enjoyed it. I'd never say, "It's the best hamburger ever, anywhere" because I haven't *been* everywhere, but it is probably the best all-around burger in the Detroit area. The best *pure* burger may belong to Miller's Bar in Dearborn, but keep in mind: toppings are limited. The difference isn't much (aside from the toppings), but I'd probably still give the nod to Miller's. If Miller's offered more toppings, absolutely.

    I absolutely love the Redcoat.

    1 Reply
    1. re: boagman

      IMHO, toppings do not a burger make. One might even go so far as to argue that toppings detract from a burger. Slice of raw onion, or grilled onions, slice of cheese, maybe pickles, ketchup, maybe some mustard...after that you're pushing it. But hey, some people like pineapple on pizza. It's a crazy world out there. Anyway, here's a good website for burger lovers:

    2. redcoat is great. for something a little more contemporary, try zinc brasserie & wine bar (orchard lake rd just south of maple) - its owned by the same people.

      another good burger that i had recently was at mason's bar in livonia.

      2 Replies
      1. re: xman887

        My husband and I absolutely love Redcoat and go there often. The Piedmontese burgers are excellent (last week I had one with mushrooms, bleu cheese, and bbq sauce), as are the onion rings. And dishes other than burgers are really good too: I like the Chesapeake, which is a blackened Tilapia sandwich. I've also personally enjoyed blackened salmon, the smoked salmon appetizer, calamari, fish and chips, and the Greek salad with chicken. Great beer too.

        1. re: xman887

          zinc is owned by the same people as redcoat...really? would have never guessed!
          do you know who they are? just curious

        2. I disagree. I thought the burger was pretty weak. I could care less about toppings. I want a great tasting patty on something other than a supermarket seasme seed bun. I was really disappointed in Red Coat Tavern after reading a lot of great reviews.

          Here's my review my website


          I know. I said I didn’t want to go into the suburbs for dinner and honestly, that wasn’t the plan. We were going to take Corky and Amy’s advice and eat at Union Street Saloon. We found the place across from the Detroit Medical Center and parked the car. After dodging the homeless guy sleeping on the sidewalk, we got to the front door and found out they don’t open until 4:00. It was only 3:00, so we didn’t want to stick around that neighborhood for very long and the only other place I could remember a name for was the Red Coat Tavern, so we put it in the GPS and headed back out of town.

          After getting stuck in traffic on I-75, we got back to Woodward Ave. After a 10 minute or so drive downt the busy commercial street, we came up to the Red Coat. Actually, I missed it the first time. There is so much commercial along that stretch of Woodward the signs all block each other so by the time you get to the one you want, you’re right on top of it before you realize it. I turned into the next parking lot which was connected to the Red Coat and backtracked to find a spot just under the huge awning leading to the front door.

          First impression. DARK! Very, very dark. It took my eyes a long time to adjust. Fortunately, the hostess answered a phone before seating us so it gave my eyes time to adjust to the darkness so I didn’t trip over anyone getting to our table. It was a really good thing because the tables are crammed into the space. In the non-smoking section, there are booths along either wall with tables in the middle. We were shown to a booth near the back of the space. I actually had to suck in my gut and walk sideways to get past some patrons at the first table. The booths were very cramped too. My girlfriend and I were sitting across from each other and when the waitress set out plates down, they were touching each other. My girlfriend actually moved my Pepsi out of the way because she was afraid she was going knock it over if I left it where it usually sits.

          The menu was much smaller than I expected and not having a website, we had no way of checking it before we got there. I had read many reviews about their burgers so for me it was pretty easy. My girlfriend, however, had a hard time finding something. There were no chicken sandwiches and she didn’t really want a salad. She finally settled on a sandwich called the “Mt. Vernon” It was a ham and cheese sandwich served on an onion roll with their “special sauce.” The sandwich came with a lot of ham. She’s not a huge meat eater and this roll had a lot of meat. She pulled a little bit off so I could get a taste. The special sauce almost ruined the sandwich. I’m taking a guess here that it was some kind of french onion sauce. Between the onion roll and the sauce, the taste of onion was overpowering. She was still tasting it after two pops, nachos and a daquiri at Comerica Park. Other than that, she liked her sandwich. Neither of us had eaten all day and she was complaining about being hungry. The “Mt. Vernon” took care of that.

          I ordered one of their famous burgers. They serve the burgers with lettuce, tomato, and that same special sauce. I opted to leave all of that off and add cheddar cheese and bacon. I fail to see how the Red Coat’s burgers are any better than the competition. It was fine, but it was a 1/2 lb patty served on a store bought seasame seed bun. I could have made this at home with a frozen beef patty from Merindorf Meats. There was quite a bit of bacon and a huge slice of melted cheese. It did fill me up, but it just wasn’t anything special.

          To make things worse, neither sandwich comes with a fries or chips. We ordered a plate of fries for the table. Thin cut, out of the bag, run of the mill, generic restaurant fries.

          Our meal was fine. We both left full and the food was good. I had read so many reviews that made the Red Coat Tavern sound like one of the best places to eat in the Detroit Metro Area and I really hope that’s not the case. After striking out at our first choice, we chose to drive out to Red Coat instead of going to Greektown. I’d much rather “eat where the locals go” instead of hitting a touristy spot for dinner, but this one didn’t do much for me. It’s definately a place where the locals go. At 3:30 the place was pretty full and they were taking call ahead seating for the evening rush. For me, this was a place with high expecatations that the food didn’t quite live up to. Too much out of the can, generic food to really make an impression on me. I feel bad that we drove into town then had to drive back out to Royal Oak and not have a “knock your socks off” meal. Our meal was just over $25 before tip which I’m not going to complain about in the city and it didn’t take much more than a half hour. They were really quick at getting our food out. Red Coat is not a bad place, but the dark, cramped atmosphere did nothing for me and the unoriginal ingredients were disappointing. I won’t go out of my way to go back, but I wouldn’t tell anyone else not to.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Mid Michigan Dining

            Mid Mich Din,

            The reason I liked it a lot was in comparison to how many worse burgers I have tried here in Michigan. I agree I can usually make a burger I enjoy more at home. But they put seasoning on the burgers whether it be just salt and pepper I appreciate it. Because I've been to multiple "burger" places to find the ground beef unseasoned. There is nothing worse IMHO than unseasoned ground beef.

            1. re: Foog

              I think Red Coat burgers are consistently very good. We also ordered their prime rib dinner once (it came with a memorable popover) and it was excellent and a great price. Another bonus is that it's open late and often it's hard to get a decent meal after 10. One bad thing...Red Coat is closed on Sundays.

              1. re: Foog

                all I'm saying is that if that's the best burger in town, then Detroit should be ashamed. Red Coat was good. The burger was fine..there was nothing wrong with just wasn't a burger that screamed "Best in Show"