HOME > Chowhound > Great Lakes >


Chow ideas for west of Detroit?

I'm overnighting soon in the Ypsilanti area and will have a dinner time or two available. I used to live in Ann Arbor and might well stop by there, but I'm actually thinking more of exploring some areas like Ypsi, Plymouth, Canton and even the Dearborn area, which I have had less exposure to. If you're itching to suggest a further destination, maybe indicate driving time from Ypsi area? (I don't really know where most suburbs actually are off the top of my head, or how far it is to get to them.)

Will have adventurous 10-year old son along--he'll eat anything, although toning down the real spicy stuff. We'd be interested in most any casual great food, ethnic (Mexi, Middle Eastern, Thai, etc.) or more mainstream fare (trip-worthy pizza, somewhere with amazing soups or sandwiches, etc.).

Thanks for any ideas!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If you go to Ann Arbor....I fully endorse Grange. 10 Minute drive...


    In Canton...there is a few places. 15 Minute Drive...

    For Thai food I am very fond of Thai Bistro.

    For Indian vegetarian street food...

    For Japanese Noodles

    As for Plymouth...20 Minutes...

    Great Steak...

    Great Pizza.

    8 Replies
    1. re: JanPrimus

      Terrific suggestions! Thanks. I'm especially intrigued by a Napolitano pizza and the Indian street food options. Neither of those is to be had in my home area of South Bend, IN.

      Grange is new to me--after my time in Ann Arbor. It looks great but a bit on the formal/fancy side for this trip (my son and I will arrive dusted with grit from the runways of an historic aircraft show).

      1. re: Bada Bing

        I'll give an *extremely* loud second to Neehee's, which JP kindly turned me on to. I've now been there at least 3-4 times, and I don't live anywhere *near* the place...unfortunately for me. This place is completely without pretence, but the flavors they get their food to sing with is enough to make even the most rigorously loyal carnivore (like, say, me) to welcome a completely meatless change of pace. Impressive as all-get-out.

      2. re: JanPrimus

        Grange is good but very upscale, and a ten-year-old might or might not go for it.

        In Ypsi itself: excellent burgers and sliders at the Sidetrack, a fine townie bar. Outdoor seating. Rated among the top 20 burgers in the U.S. by GQ or one of those magazines a few years ago.


        1. re: JanPrimus

          if you are into a country drive with dine in your car there is a to die for BBQ shack on Pontiac Trail heading towards South Lyon about 20 minutes out of AA. It is a white building on the east side of the road (impossible to miss because there isn't anything else around it or out there).

          1. re: ray73

            Is that the old Romanoffs Place?

            1. re: JanPrimus

              Call before going—it has had very erratic hours lately and may not be open at all.

              1. re: JanPrimus

                yeah it is Romanoffs.... and they have odd hours because once they sell out they shut the door and they sell out everyday.... but god is it worth the drive for me... it is 2 hours round trip and I never miss a stop when I am in AA.

              2. re: ray73

                Thanks for the suggestion. As it happens, I'm already back home in Indiana, but this thread will be a useful items for me next time I'm back in your area.

            2. May I also suggest a slightly further way out for some great Mexican. Affordable and non-pretentious.


              It is a "Hole in the wall" but they do it right!

              1. Okay, I've booked a hotel (in Plymouth) for Saturday overnight. We'll be at the air show in Ypsilanti Sunday until 5pm. I'm thinking of trying to stop by Neehee's Indian place for lunch on Saturday, try to fit in the Cellar 849 pizza place Saturday night, and maybe stop by Zingerman's Sunday for dinner after the airshow on the way back toward Indiana.

                I notice, however, that I'm leaving Detroit's vaunted Middle Eastern scene untouched. Is there another place that I should consider as a serious destination?

                Thanks in advance for any tips...

                1 Reply
                1. re: Bada Bing

                  I would maybe suggest Al-Ameer over Cellar 849 since you have your son with you. 849 is a bit *fancy* and Al-Ameer is great food no matter who you are.


                  Your closer to this location...

                  27346 Ford Rd.
                  Dearborn Hts., MI 48127

                  May I even be so bold to order for you....
                  Get the Al-Ameer Platter

                  I think this is the best representation of Middle Eastern in the city. There are some higher end places (La Pita - Cue Boagman) that have great service and do some things great and there are some hole in the wall joints (Hamido - Cue JJSPW) that taste great, but I would pick Al-Ameer as a place to break my Lebanese food cherry at.

                2. We just got into our hotel after dinner at Neehees. It was absolutely terrific food. I think it's my best experience of eating Indian food ever. The freshness, intensity and novelty of the offerings is just great. Thanks for this tip.

                  We had, by the way, the Hara Dhaniya Masala Dosa (#80; Cilantro spice mix spread on crepe) and the Chole Bhature (55; Spicy tangy chick peas served with two bhaturas, onions & lime). The Chole was relatively spicy, significantly more so than the dosa. The dosa came with that soupy stuff (sambala?) and two great sauces on the side, one orangish and the other green, both very herby and tangy. Marvelous flavors.

                  The place was packed, too, and the clear majority of the customers were Indian. Very nice Indian grocery next door. The cashier there mentioned that they're moving into a bigger space, in the same strip mall, I think.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Bada Bing

                    Glad to hear you enjoyed it. I have been working that menu over for months now and I just can not nail down a favorite. I almost would say the #2 Special Bhel because one day I had it and it was like the worlds best Heroin. That last four times it has not been prepared with the same measure....so I will forever be after that ultimate food high but always coming up just shy. I may end up selling my moms jewelry and spending my kids college money just for that Special Bhel possible high.

                    1. re: Bada Bing

                      All the credit for that recommendation should go to JP, since he's the one who actually turned me on to it, and challenged me to get over my anti-vegetarian food stance. He's the one who, straight-faced, told me that he *never* missed meat when he'd been there, and he's an unabashedly unashamed carnivore like I am. He threw down the gauntlet, and I picked it up. I'm so glad he did.

                      You're right about the move, though exactly when it's supposed to happen is a bit of a question. I do know that, when it does go through, they'll have 4X the space, which will be welcomed by everyone, both customer and worker alike, I'd say. For such an unpretentious spot, the food is just fantastic. I can totally understand anyone getting there, seeing the place in all of its "glory", and saying, "Uh-oh...", but once you start eating, you just don't care anymore. For this, I can fetch my own water, yes, thank you.

                      You can easily see why the place is packed. In fact, I winced a bit on Saturday, as I physically drove by the place (you were probably there at that moment!) and couldn't stop to eat or get carryout. I'm a solid hour from there...and knowing that I was just *that* close to it, it hurt. ;)

                      So glad you could enjoy it as we do.

                      1. re: boagman

                        Speaking as a devoted but not obsessive carnivore, I agree that vegetarian Neehee's should satisfy most anyone's desires for heartiness or "substance." The place is marvelous. I'm almost exclusively a home cook, but I would go to this place AT LEAST every week if I could.

                    2. I'm the OP for this old thread, and am reviving it because I am headed in a month to Ypsilanti/WIllow Run Airport for exactly the same air show and with the same questions in mind.

                      From my first visit and the previous discussion, I have these thoughts:

                      1. Hell or high water, I'm going back to Nehee's at least once.

                      2. My original query netted many suggestions that I was not able to try, notably Middle-Eastern. If we set some time aside to go to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, should I prioritze Al-Ameer?

                      3. Any further ideas? For example, I will go out of my way for distinctive pizza. I've tried all kinds, make it myself at a high level, and am always on the lookout for great takes on the form, artisanal or plebeian.

                      Also, let me know if any of you are game to join up for a Chow meeting. I've never done that before, but why not? My 12-year-old son is along, but he's already a budding foodie. We're likely to be in the area Friday, August 3 into Saturday or Sunday,

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Bada Bing

                        Welcome back, prematurely. You'll like returning to Neehee's, but they're currently closed for renovations because some poor soul ran their SUV into the storefront of the new location (don't worry...it's just a few storefronts down from the old one) and they're currently closed, but they should be open by late July at the latest. It's still great, it's just bigger, cleaner, and shinier...and *just as* popular. The extra seating they have now is so very, very welcome, and the service is still endearing.

                        I've never been to Al-Ameer, but it's pretty well-liked on this board.

                        Distinctive pizza, to me, belongs to Loui's Pizza in Hazel Park, but that's a solid 45-60 minute drive from Ypsi, depending upon the traffic. It's the definitive Detroit-style pizza, and it's still my favorite, ever. Pizzeria Biga in Southfield is a completely different, although still very tasty, place.

                        Wurst Bar in Ypsi and Biercamp in Ann Arbor are also getting some rave reviews around here, though I haven't been to either (I just don't get out that far west very often, really).

                        Hope you enjoy yourself on your trip back!

                        1. re: boagman

                          If Neehee's is still closed, try Hut-K Chaats on Packard in Ann Arbor for something in a similar vein. I would give the slight edge to Neehee's (bigger menu for one thing), but Hut-K is doing good business around here. Biercamp is mostly a store with a few sandwiches—if you're going to grill out at the air show, it's a must. To eat in for wurst, yes yes, Wurst Bar.

                        2. re: Bada Bing

                          Are you only into "foodie" food, or do you like lowbrow food served with a side of quirky nostalgia? If so, Ypsilanti has a wealth of places. I love Chick Inn, an old 50s drive-in. Also Bill's Drive-In has good coneys and homemade rootbeer (and that's IT, we're talking a very limited menu). Other places are Roy's Squeeze Inn and Gabriel's Cheesesteak. All are on Michigan Ave, except Chick Inn, which is on Prospect @ Holmes. I always endorse these places, so I'm sure regular readers are rolling their eyes with boredom by now, but the places are GOOD.

                          I love La Fiesta Mexicana on Cross for delicious Jalisco-area Mexican food. Sidetrack in Ypsi is a good bar, as is Aubree's (they're across the street from each other on Cross in Depot Town). Red Rock bbq is new and gooood. Haab's has the best fried chicken in town. Those are both on Michigan right downtown Ypsi.

                          You really should try to get some Middle Eastern food, even if you have to drive to Dearborn to get it.

                          1. re: charlesbois

                            For me, "foodie" absolutely includes good humble grub. But I know what you mean.

                            Mexican sounds great, too. Even though I lived in Ann Arbor for several years, I never got around to trying La Fiesta Mexicana in nearby Ypsi. Sounds as if it's maintained a great rep for a long time.

                            1. re: charlesbois

                              also in Ypsilanti-
                              Michigan Ave area

                              Hana Korean
                              1346 E Michigan Ave
                              Ypsilanti, MI 48198
                              (734) 483-2455
                              Cuppy's Soulfood
                              1396 E Michigan Ave
                              Ypsilanti, MI 48198
                              (734) 320-2577

                              1. re: Michigan Mishuganer

                                MM, can you give me the scoop on Cuppy's? I've been wanting to try it out as it''s not far from where I live and I even got some coupons in the mail. What can you recommend?

                          2. People rave about Hamido in Dearborn for Middle Eastern.

                            Pizza: Tomatoes Apizza in Farmington (14 and Middlebelt)-go m-f for the lunch buffet, it will blow your mind! Request a meatball pizza

                            Buddy's is a classic, Loui's in Hazel Park took their recipe and modified it

                            Supinos in Detroit

                            Curry on Crust is an Indian/Italian fusion pizza owned by the family of neehee's

                            Halal Desi and Amar also does Indian pizza in hamtown

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: christyar

                              As much as I love Neehee's.....Curry on Crust is a DUD!

                            2. I've had occasion to eat at 3 different places in AA and will recommend all of them. Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger is one of the best burgers I've had anywhere. I live a quad with cheese and bacon on an onion bun.

                              Zingermann's Deli is makes some terrific sandwiches. A bit pricy but I'd rather pay a little more for something that's a lot better.

                              Casey's Bar is fantastic. Nice and friendly with really good food. I can easily recommend the burger or the corned beef. Both made fresh in house.

                              I've also been to the Dam Site Inn in Hell. Well worth a trip out there if for no other reason than to say you've (literally) been through Hell. Stop in at the general store where the post office is and send yourself a post card. Also, the food at the DSI was very good while I was there. Good solid pizza and burgers. Skip the "Special sauce though."


                              1. Long as we're talking about Ypsi places, how about Gabriel's on Michigan Ave.? Really good Phillie cheese steak sandwich. Yum!

                                1. While I haven't been, my discerning son has been, and highly recommends Blue Tractor in A2 for BBQ. Detroit is blessed with exceptional Mid-Eastern food so I wouldn't miss a stop in Dearborn - Al-Ameer, La Pita, but if you want a really neighborhood experience go to New Yasmeen Bakery on West Warren... a little bit of a drive but really a kind of "town hall" for the Arab-American population. It's modern, bright airy, makes its own pitas (which are sent all over the city and totally awesome) and has hot food selection so you can try a whole lot of things without ordering a whole dinner. The bakery items are gorgeous and delicious. This is the real deal and I think you'd both really enjoy it -- casual enough for your son, but you'll get wonderful food and ambiance.

                                  BTW I worked in Dearborn for a number of years and was a colleague of a number of Arab-American folks and tried a lot of places -- this is where the neighborhood goes. Arab-Americans are possibly the most hospitable people I've had the pleasure to know so you'll be well taken care of.

                                  1. Okay, my itinerary is shaping up. We'll do Al-Ameer for Friday lunch prior to hitting the Ford Museum (is either Al-Ameer location just fine?), then NeeHee's for dinner. Hotel is in Canton. Probably have breakfast there and spend all day at the Air Show.

                                    Can have dinner on the way out in the Ypsi/Ann Arbor area. Lots of options, I know. Any ideas for what might complement what we will have already done?

                                    Also, I plan to take a cooler for the trunk. Let me know if there are places where I should pack items for the trip home. For example, I gather there's some sausage makers, etc., in those parts. And 'd like to get my hands on some Berkshire pork.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: Bada Bing

                                      I recommend dinner on Saturday at Mani Osteria in Ann Arbor. Good pizza, small plates, pasta, drinks located in between campus and Main Street.

                                      1. re: Bada Bing

                                        Biercamp on State St. in Ann Arbor for brats/jerky/sausage to take home.

                                          1. re: Bada Bing

                                            I found out that this was true tonight when I called. The woman at Curry on Crust said it was going to be another week, and you could hear the frustration in her voice.

                                            How can a 2 week storefront renovation turn into a 2 month fiasco? Can someone explain this to me in words that I can understand?

                                            1. re: boagman

                                              I recall that a Walgreen's pharmacy near me (a chain with no lack of resources) had to wait a least 6 weeks or so for the fabrication of a new entry door after a similar occurrence. I bet we need to blame the moribund--or rather, outsourced--condition of American manufacturing...

                                          2. re: Bada Bing

                                            Check out my post above...New Yasmeen Bakery is just a short drive from Henry Ford. You can bring home amazing pastries, the best pita bread I've ever had, hot/cold food. It really is where the community goes and is a great spot to get the real deal on chow.

                                          3. I can offer a report from our recent visit with this theme:

                                            Lunch on Friday at Al-Ameer was delicious. We split the Al-Ameer platter, and enjoyed everything. The lamb shish-kabob was my favorite there--very well seasoned and perfectly cooked. The garden salad was a welcome side, but next time I'll have them sub a fatoosh for more ethnic variety.

                                            On the way out of Dearborn, I bought a shoulder of lamb from one of the countless meat markets and also stopped in to look at New Yasmeen Bakery, which looked like a terrific place for sweets and incredibly fresh pitas. We did not purchase there this time.

                                            With Neehees still closed, we went to Thai Bistro for dinner. I got drunken noodles, which was very tasty but not better than what I can get at my favorite two places at home in South Bend, Indiana, but my son ordered their duck curry, which had terrific moist chunks of duck meat and came in a wonderfully seasoned brown/red sauce, reminiscent of a panang curry.

                                            We went to La Fiesta Mexicana, in Ypsi, for dinner the next day. For appetizer we got the Queso Fundido, tasty melted cheese with seasonings which you spread into fresh tortilla. For entree I ordered Carne en se Jugo, essentially a beef stew, which was deliciously seasoned. Portion was rather modest, but I was not troubled by that, given all our weekend eating. My son ordered the Burrito Elegante, a large burrito in a great freshly made tortilla. Maybe it's my USA palate, but I did feel that more saucing would be welcome for it, and I would have liked a larger percentage of the finely diced onions to have been more fully cooked (more fresh onion taste than I was able to relish here).

                                            On the way out of town, I stopped at Biercamp in Ann Arbor and added a large number of cured and fresh sausages and jerky to the cooler for the ride home, also a tub of pulled pork. Haven't tried yet, but just the aroma is amazing. Everything I sample there was tops. The owners, as at La Fiesta Mexicana, were a real pleasure to meet.

                                            Thanks to all those who offered tips!