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Jan 15, 2009 08:18 AM

Moving to the Detroit area & wondering

about local food there. I'm in DC now, and utterly spoiled for choice among the farmer's markets and amazing ethnic markets/restaurants. I would love some idea of what's around Detroit as far as those things go. Thank you!

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  1. Depends what you want. We're not a little UN like Washington, but there's interesting stuff around if you look for it. Probably more spread out than you're used to, with little ethnic pockets around the various suburbs. Best Middle Eastern food anywhere, mostly in Dearborn and points north and west. There's a small-to-moderate Mexicantown in the city, with a great supermarket, La Colmena. Way up in the northeast suburbs there's a Vietnamese strip, while the Indians are out in western Wayne County. Several authentic Japanese places thanks to transplanted workers for Japanes auto and truck companies. Chinese food is not great, and more exotic cuisines like Indonesian are hard to find. For farmers' markets we do pretty well. In the city is the old Eastern Market, which is often dirt cheap rather than really good, but is well worth a visit, with some fun surrounding shops. For the more organic/upscale type, try the Ann Arbor Farmers' Market; there are probably others. Ann Arbor has very good Asian markets. The real attraction is fresh summer produce. Go out in the country, and, as Robert Frost says, get lost enough to find yourself; you won't be far from a farm stand. Welcome. We obviously have our problems, but we are not the wasteland depicted in the press. I've eaten out almost every week in downtown Detroit for two years, only duplicating once (Slows BBQ), and getting good food almost every time.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Jim M

      Everything Jim M said, and also to heap more praise on the fresh summer produce and the fall's bountiful apple crop, etc. Also maybe to remind you that Windsor is right across the river, if you are looking for dim sum.

      1. re: Jim M

        Hear, hear, Jim M.

        Michigan is second only to California in variety of crops, so when the farmer's markets get going we have great selection. And all year round there are many nice upscale markets, both local and national (Whole Foods, TJs) to choose from.

        What area will you be living/working in, fraser? Metro Detroit is very spread out and with some idea where you'll be, we can tailor our suggestions.

        1. re: Jim M

          Another vote for Jim.

          The area has a lot to offer if you know where to look and it's nice to see someone asking.

          Some of the treats I like are Home Dairy delivery from

          Natural grown beef and Buffalo from TMZ meats.

          One of the worlds best Deli's and specialty stores in Ann Arbor -

          Some of the best pickles I have ever had.

          1. re: JanPrimus

            Wow, thank you everybody! I'm not sure yet where, exactly, we'll be living, but the job possibility is at Wayne State. I did a little digging, as suggested, and I am very delighted with the abundance & variety of crops grown in MI. We're looking forward to discovering it all.

            1. re: fraser

              I would look at Royal Oak and the surrounding cities as a possible place to start the house hunting. Royal Oak has a very nice farmers market.

              Both Wayne State and Royal Oak are right off of Woodward Ave.

              For higher end shopping you would have Holiday Market in Royal Oak.

              ....a bit further north a few dollars more is Papa Joe's.

              Near Wayne State is Zaccaro's Market...
              If you come in and flash your Wayne State ID you get 10% off everything you purchase (every day of the week).

              A wee bit further but my favorite is Plum Market...

              I wished I lived on that side of town....

              1. re: JanPrimus

                Farther in, funkier, with smaller (and cheaper) houses, Ferndale is also a good food town. Many interesting restaurants near the 9 Mile/Woodward corner.

                Starving Artist:

                Howe's Bayou


                And many more . . . Holiday Market, noted above, would also be very close.

                1. re: Jim M

                  I realize this is old, but I've never had close to a good meal at Howie's Bayou.

                  1. re: Coconuts

                    Huh, really? While I'll fully spot that I haven't been there in at least a few years, the po' boys I've had there were certainly good when I had them. I'll fully spot that their signature drink, the "hurricane", isn't anything to write home about, but at least the food was pretty good.

                    Have things gone that far downhill?

            2. re: JanPrimus

              I've only tried TMZ and McClure's from that list, but both are excellent (but now I need to see if Calder delivers to our area!).

              I also love Bastone in Royal Oak (Belgian brewery- everything on the menu is good, but the specials are about a 50/50 shot) and Blue Nile (Ethiopian) in Ferndale. Bastone's sister Cuban restaurant was ok.

            3. re: Jim M

              Jim M is a source of truth here..believe.. :)

            4. coming to detroit? that's new. you realize that we are in an economic depression, our political leadership is laughable, and we had a windchill of 25 below zero last night.

              that said, there are plenty of good markets and restaurants around town to get you through it. wayne state area, ferndale, dearborn, mexican town, hamtramck, royal oak, and birmingham all have strong offerings.

              worth a look: champane's (chicago road between mound and van dyke in warren) - a great beer, wine, & liquor store. they can help numb the pain.

              1. I always urge new Detroiters to be sure to visit Diamond Jim Brady's for dinner. It's simply really wonderful unpretentious entrees and warm atmosphere make it a great place to "step back and take a breath". It's easy to get to with plenty of parking. Very "no hassle" except that some times there's a little wait for a table. No big deal, Karen, Lori or Candy at the bar will take good care of you.
                Man, are you going to miss the Metro!!
                Welcome to Detroit.

                1 Reply
                1. re: SonyBob

                  Sony Bob, I always trust your recs, and today totally agree.

                2. Here is a collection of waypoints from my GPS. In
                  no particular order.


                  Rocket Eddy's
                  2897 Orchard Lake Rd
                  Keego Harbor, MI 48320
                  (248) 683-3775
                  42.606537, -83.341884

                  Orchard Lake, betw 12 Mile & 13 Mile
                  Farmington Hills, MI

                  Red Coat Tavern
                  31542 Woodward Ave
                  Royal Oak, MI 48073
                  (248) 549-0300
                  42.521638, -83.189663

                  31501 Woodward Ave
                  Royal Oak, MI 48073
                  (248) 549-3659
                  42.521361, -83.189397

                  Millers Bar
                  23700 Michigan Ave
                  Dearborn, MI 48124
                  (313) 565-2577
                  42.301630, -83.263845

                  Knapps Dairy Bar
                  304 S Main St
                  Rochester, MI 48307
                  (248) 651-4545‎
                  42.679445, -83.133730

                  Blimpy Burger
                  551 S Division St
                  Ann Arbor, MI 48104
                  (734) 663-4590
                  42.275012, -83.744269

                  Monty's Grill
                  28300 Woodward Ave
                  Royal Oak, MI 48067
                  (248) 547-1959
                  42.498451, -83.167235

                  Hot dogs:

                  1648 Rochester Rd
                  Troy, MI 48083
                  (248) 524-9778
                  42.549488, -83.132008

                  Lafayette Coney Island
                  118 W Lafayette Blvd
                  Detroit, MI 48226
                  (313) 964-8198
                  42.331728, -83.048196


                  Louis' Pizza
                  23141 Dequindre Rd Hazel Park, MI 48030
                  42.463126, -83.084036

                  @ Barclay Circle
                  2595 S Rochester Rd, Rochester Hills, MI
                  (248) 844-8899
                  42.641949, -83.132020

                  6622 Telegraph Road, Bloomfield, MI
                  (248) 855-5855
                  42.543232, -83.284752

                  Green Lantern
                  4326 Rochester Rd, Royal Oak, MI
                  (248) 298-3005
                  42.527908, -83.137332

                  Green Lantern
                  28960 John R Rd, Madison Heights, MI
                  (248) 541-5439
                  42.504623, -83.105752

                  Pizza Papalis
                  23703 Greenfield Rd, Southfield, MI
                  (248) 552-7272
                  42.464829, -83.201340

                  Pizza Papalis
                  4036 Telegraph Rd, Bloomfield Hills, MI
                  (866) 787-7272
                  42.580786, -83.280751

                  Pizza Papalis
                  22022 Michigan Ave # B, Dearborn, MI
                  (313) 724-7722
                  42.306026, -83.244578

                  Pizza Papalis
                  719 Griswold St # 180, Detroit, MI
                  (313) 259-4444
                  42.331074, -83.047347

                  Pizza Papalis
                  54 W Auburn Road, Rochester Hills, MI
                  (248) 852-7272
                  42.636115, -83.132725

                  Buddy's Pizza
                  17125 Conant St, Detroit, MI
                  (313) 892-9001
                  42.419018, -83.063541

                  Buddy's Pizza
                  31646 Northwestern Hwy, Farmington Hills, MI
                  (248) 855-4600
                  42.518988, -83.340519

                  Buddy's Pizza
                  2612 N Squirrel Rd, Auburn Hills, MI
                  (248) 276-9040
                  42.681368, -83.221408

                  Buddy's Pizza
                  22148 Michigan Ave, Dearborn, MI
                  (313) 562-5900
                  42.305442, -83.247060

                  Buddy's Pizza
                  33605 Plymouth Rd, Livonia, MI
                  (734) 261-3550
                  42.368175, -83.374256

                  Buddy's Pizza
                  8100 Old 13 Mile Rd, Warren, MI
                  (586) 574-9200
                  42.521146, -83.026619

                  Buddy's Pizza
                  32218 Woodward Ave, Royal Oak, MI
                  (248) 549-8000
                  42.526449, -83.194294

                  Buddy's Pizza
                  3637 W Maple Rd
                  Bloomfield Township MI 48301
                  42.545335, -83.262853

                  Buddy's Pizza
                  19163 Mack Ave, Grosse Pointe Woods, MI
                  (313) 884-7400
                  42.418457, -82.910683

                  Mom & Pop restaurants:

                  2919 Crooks Rd, Troy, MI‎
                  (248) 614-5390‎
                  42.561115, -83.167210

                  Christine's Cuisine
                  729 E 9 Mile Rd, Ferndale, MI‎
                  (248) 584-3354‎
                  42.460862, -83.123950

                  Ruggero's (lasagna is my fav)
                  2055 S Linden Rd
                  Flint, MI 48532
                  (810) 733-7633
                  43.000782, -83.772623

                  Fly Trap
                  22950 Woodward Ave, Ferndale, MI
                  (248) 399-5150‎
                  42.461984, -83.135280

                  Inn Season (Vegetarian)
                  500 E 4th St, Royal Oak, MI‎
                  (248) 547-7916‎
                  42.487256, -83.139489

                  Breakfast Club
                  30600 John R Rd, Madison Heights, MI‎
                  (248) 307-9090‎
                  42.516858, -83.106272

                  Glisce Crepes
                  1945 W Maple Rd, Troy, MI‎
                  (248) 288-9000‎
                  42.547789, -83.171829

                  Mama's Place (Soul food)
                  15250 W 7 Mile Rd, Detroit, MI‎
                  (313) 342-6120‎
                  42.430285, -83.196790

                  Beans & Cornbread (Soul food)
                  29508 Northwestern Hwy, Southfield, MI‎
                  (248) 208-1680‎
                  42.503258, -83.313308

                  Cafe Muse (bkfst & lunch svc only)
                  418 S. Washington Ave.
                  Royal Oak, MI 48067
                  42.487071, -83.146576

                  Ice Cream & Frozen Custard:

                  Ray's Ice Cream Co.
                  4233 Coolidge Hwy
                  Royal Oak, MI
                  42.525665, -83.184124

                  Guernsey Farms Dairy
                  21300 Novi Road
                  Northville, MI
                  42.443460, -83.473816

                  Cook's Dairy Farm
                  2950 East Seymour Lake
                  Ortonville, MI
                  42.808228 -83.394482

                  Alinosi Ice Cream
                  20737 Mack Avenue
                  Grosse Pointe Woods, MI
                  42.444486, -82.906915

                  Erma's Frozen Custard
                  6451 Aurburn Road
                  Utica, MI
                  42.627516 -83.04585

                  Calder Brothers Dairy
                  Lincoln Park
                  42.248761 / Longitude: -83.171801

                  Chocolate Vault
                  110-116 West Chicago Blvd.
                  Tecumseh, MI
                  42.00392 -83.945518

                  Shatila Bakery & Cafe
                  14300 West Warren Avenue
                  Dearborn, MI
                  42.343966 -83.183054

                  Knapp's Dairy Bar
                  304 South Main Street
                  Rochester, MI
                  (248) 651-4545
                  42.679556 -83.133594

                  Bob Jo's Frozen Custard
                  4071 Fort Street
                  Wyandotte, MI
                  42.191987 -83.179632


                  Golden Harvest
                  12 Mile Road; Between Van Dyke & Mound
                  Warren, MI

                  NW corner of Maple & Orchard Lake
                  West Bloomfield, MI

                  Mene Sushi
                  NW corner of Maple & Orchard Lake
                  West Bloomfield, MI

                  Russian/Eastern European:
                  The Fiddler
                  SW corner of Maple & Orchard Lake
                  West Bloomfield

                  Real Seafood
                  South Main St.
                  Ann Arbor, MI

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: rainsux


                    Pasta Fagioli
                    2398 Franklin Road
                    Bloomfield Hills, MI

                    854 Erie St.
                    Windsor, On, Canada

                    Spago ... very good kitchen, but
                    wait staff doesn't write down orders.
                    Three visits - never got what I ordered
                    on any of the three vsits.
                    Erie St.
                    Windsor, On


                    14315 Northline Road
                    Southgate, MI

                    Blue Danube
                    1235 Ottawa St
                    Windsor, On


                    Krzysiak House
                    (at lunch, you'll have to ask for the Polish menu)
                    1605 Michigan Ave
                    Bay City, MI


                    Dakota Inn
                    28875 John R. Street
                    Detroit, MI

                    Old Heidelberg
                    (service can be VERY erratic)
                    215 North Main
                    Ann Arbor, MI

                    305 North Zeeb Road
                    Ann Arbor, MI

                    Ribs & BBQ:

                    Lazybones Smokehouse
                    27475 Groesbeck Hwy
                    Roseville, MI

                    (I only go there for the ribs)
                    27815 Middlebelt Rd
                    Farmington Hills, MI

                    1. re: rainsux

                      Good picks. The Heidelberg's food can be erratic too. But I still go there, because when they nail it, they've got the echt German flavor.

                      1. re: rainsux

                        Bay City for Polish??? A bit of a hike for dinner! Maybe stop on the way up north...

                        Fraser, you will have to be indoctrinated on the wonders of Up North!!

                      2. re: rainsux

                        This is a great post, thanks for doing all the detail work.

                        1. re: rainsux

                          Nice list with details..good for you. Very helpful. Hope the new hound takes advantage of our info.

                          1. re: rainsux

                            being a GPS freak also...well done!! (i gather you like buddys pizza!!)

                          2. I have to plug the Polish Village Cafe
                            2990 Yemans St.
                            Hamtramck, MI 48212

                            Best Polish food in metro Detroit!

                            3 Replies
                              1. re: alwrobel

                                And if you like Polish food and end up living in RO or environs, Polish Market on Dequindre and Maple in Troy has the ingredients, the ambiance, and carryout!

                                1. re: coney with everything

                                  Hey, we were at Metzgers' which used to be in downtown A2, but now in an off -ramp mall. Girls night. We had a blast, and the food was so plentiful and just delicious --a friend and I shared the platter -- many wursts, kraut, spaetzle, et.c. We stayed for a way long time and were so nicely attened to.. Gotta say, there is a time and place for rockin'g German food!