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Donuts,fried chicken and BBQ in Detroit metro area?

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I am going on a last minute weekend trip to Detroit in a few minutes from Toronto. I usually spend a lot of time researching on here and elsewhere for food options but despite looking around for a few hours last night on yelp/here I am not much closer to making decisions, figuring out a plan.

Thr three things I am most interested in trying Detroit versions of is best offerings of fried chicken, donuts and BBQ. By versions I don't mean authentic Detroit versions (sure there is Detroit BBQ) but just best of or very good versions.

For BBQ a friend recommended Slows but then read comments on here about about slow service/etc so I was thinking about Lazybones on my way into Detroit through Sarnia (Roseville version).

For donuts I saw a few yelp reviews and some were in supposedly "sketchy" areas of town with mixed reviews. I have only been to Detroit a few times before for the autoshow but never really ventured out of that area. Going to the DLECTRICITY festival tonight in midtown and staying a 5 minute drive from there.
Not sure about fried chicken at all. I am okay with hole in the wall places but because it is my first trip not sure about "really bad" areas vs just places that might "look" bad. I am. Pretty confident travelor but people on forums over here talk about Detroit pretty harshly in terms of safety,etc. like saying to take a cab in some areas for a block,etc
Also hoping to hit up a Costco before coming back on Sunday because you guys usually have some interesting grocery items we can't get up here. Not sure which of the local Costcos has the most variety/best selection?

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  1. Welcome! Tonight is baseball partying time, all around town, too.
    In which area are you staying? What bbq do you most like--brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork, other?
    Note--there is no Costco here that is particularly better than another Costco. You may also get a kick out of Trader Joe's grocery.
    PS--I think this place is smoking pork shank today in the parking lot. Good, but crowded. I'll double check-- http://www.kbrewery.com/

    2 Replies
    1. re: VTB

      Yeah, today is the annual Oktoberfest at Kuhnhenn Brewery where they smoke the pork shank. Fun, if you can tolerate crowds. Note--Slows has a take-out branch by Wayne State, which is easier, but not as good. If you end up at Lazybones, you MUST get burnt ends. I'm no longer a huge fan of their other stuff.

      1. re: VTB

        fyi-- here is today's Kuhnhenn Oktoberfest menu. I'd recommend arriving as close to 3pm as possible

      2. I think Lazybones will please you, ylsf.

        Way out of your way if you're staying in the Midtown area is Bad Brad's BBQ in Shelby Township and the original joint in New Baltimore. Maybe on your drive back through Port Huron-Sarnia. Very different vibe from Slows. Very good 'que.

        1. Lockharts BBQ in Royal Oak would be worth a stop

          1. I'm glad the OP mentioned donuts. Gives me the opportunity to ask hounds here, where can I get a great Cruller?

            1. Ah, totally didn't think about Trader Joes. Definitely want to hit that up as I don't think there is one in the buffalo area. I am in Sarnia right now for a bathroom break at Tim Hortons before crossing the bridge. The place I am staying is a few min drive away from midtown. Think theroad is called Delaware. I don't have the he intersection/address handy. I don't know the East/west directions in relation to the river/Windsor but what ever direction is opposite of Windsor:) . Thanks for recs so far. I guess I like all BBQ :). I usually mix it up quiet so bit

              9 Replies
              1. re: ylsf

                As Red Top says, get the trip started on a good note, and stop at Bad Brad's. You should be passing New Baltimore right about this very moment!

                1. re: VTB

                  Or, don't! Bad Brad's, while eager to please, left me with the distinct impression that there might be problems afoot in the kitchen. I'll not say more than that.

                  The better idea would be to hold out for Lazybones, Slows, or others.

                2. re: ylsf

                  Dutch Girl Donuts, on Woodward 1 block of 7 Mile. Been there forever. Not the worst neighborhood, but not great either (i.e. bulletproof glass). If you're on the Delaware St in the New Center area (about 3 blocks N of the Fisher Bldg) go N on Woodward about 4 miles, it'll be on the right side.

                  1. re: gooddog

                    I would personally avoid that neighborhood right now, and I'll go a lot of places. It has deteriorated in the last few years. I'm not much of a donut eater, but if you want an old-fashioned lard-fried deal, go to Washtenaw Dairy in Ann Arbor. Quite good. As for fried chicken, it's odd that with all the people with Southern roots, this is not a big fried chicken town. Chicken Shack (broasted, as noted below) is decent, and although I have not tried the fried chicken specifically, this is a solid soul food restaurant in a safe area that has been around for a while, and I'd be it's good.


                    1. re: Jim M

                      I've had the fried chicken at B&C, and it's passable, but nothing to crow about. However, they do some things there at B&C that are very, very good, and they have, indeed, been around for a good long time. Time enough to establish themselves as a darned good soul food place.

                      Nothing convinces me more than the little things, and prior to the meal, they've always brought around a small basket of tiny little sweet potato muffins. These are nothing shy of amazing, and I always, always get more. Their sides are great as well.

                      What I'm really saying is this: even if it's not for the fried chicken, it's certainly worth a visit.

                      1. re: Jim M

                        On Google maps it looks like there is a police station withiin a few hundred feet of Dutch Girls but saw a lot if reviews saying the area is really bad..I guess I have to decide if it is worth of the for a donut. I will look up that spot in Ann Arbor, thanks.

                        And Zingermanns is that need craziness expensive. Menu does look interesting though. Thanks again. I will check back in the morning before I head out.

                        1. re: ylsf

                          The area is quite rough. Do not act like a tourist. Do not flash electronics, jewelry or cash. The DPD staff has been cut away back. Very SLOW to respond, if at all. Walk briskly and with purpose. Do NOT use the busses or bus stops.

                          When I go - I park within a car length or two of their front door, otherwise, I abort the visit.

                          1. re: rainsux

                            Hmm. I guess kind of hard to not act as a tourist with Canadian plates but I know what you mean about not flashing valuables, etc. I think I will do as suggested and drive by, if no parking will keep going and I will leave all my bags/gps on the trunk. Going to ask the hosts where I am staying first what they think if I see them this morning.

                            I see that Beans and Cornbread have an AYCE brunch. I am usually not a fan of AYCE but wondering if the quality suffers or still a good option to try them out.

                          2. re: ylsf

                            Zingerman's Roadhouse, which is different from Zingerman's Deli, serves American regional specialties, some of which would be hard to get in Canada in their pure form. Expensive but can be very good, and in Ann Arbor (my town) their fried chicken is undoubtedly the best. Agreed on Beans & Cornbread in general—it's a real "taste of Detroit."

                    2. Thanks again. I went to lazybones on way in. Will report back about other food later but still looking for recs for fried chicken and donuts :)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ylsf

                        If money is not precious, you could make the drive for chicken at Zingermann's Roadhouse.
                        If you just are jonesing for cheap satisfying Detroit fried chicken, you could hit a Chicken Shack. I'm sure there are other places in Detroit. Sorry I can't help ya.

                        1. re: VTB

                          Yeah, but Chicken Shack isn't technically fried...it's broasted. Some may not see a real difference, but there is. That being said, I do like Chicken Shack, and it can easily fill that jones in a pinch.

                      2. How was your trip? Get to Trader Joe's? Hope so. DLectricity was AWESOME...one of the best things I've ever seen in Detroit, or or maybe any city. Glad you could be there.

                        Hope you got your donut jones fixed, too

                        1. Full report to come but really enjoyed the city and food. Unfortunately I was so hesitant about reports of Dutch Girls area being sketchy I didn't double check times it was open. Drove there today to find it closed. oh well. Just at a rest stop back in Canada but will report back soon with more details.

                          1. Sorry for the late reply but Howell's Bar in Dearborn has some of the best fried chicken on Thursdays. Comes as either two large chicken quarters or one large breast, plus three sides. Corn salad, southern-style green beans, and potato salad.

                            1035 Mason Street, Dearborn, MI 48124

                            1. So I started typing up a longer trip report but I somehow lost it...

                              Quick summary

                              Stopped at Lazy Bones on way in to Detroit. I found that the staff wasn't very pleasant. Also noticed something at places in general in the Detroit area, a lot of places didn't want to give me a glass of water. Unusual because places in Canada don't seem to have an issue with this. I had asked the cashier for some suggestions at Lazy Bones as I hadn't been before and she seemed confused as to why I would be asking her for recommendations. Anyway, I enjoyed the BBQ (pulled pork and burnt tips), but I thought the mac and cheese was disgusting. The potato wedges were decent (like 4 whole potatoes!) .
                              Impressed by Eastern Market even though by the time I got there most things were closing down (around 3pm on Saturday). Couldn't believe the low prices! I had a coffee (Mexican drip) from Germac (sp?) and enjoyed it enough to buy a few 1/2 lbs of different beans. I also bought some nuts from their space next door.
                              While at the coffee shop in a local free weekly newspaper I saw a mention of Supino's. I went for a slice (even though I was pretty full still!) and I am glad I did because it was one of the best slices I have ever had. I had the special (artichoke, chevre, etc) and really loved the tomato sauce on it.
                              After that I went to an art show at the Pioneer building, then to the art festival downtown that night (Dlectricity). I really enjoyed the art festival. It was a smaller scale then the all-night festival we have in Toronto but fun still. For a late night snack/dinner at 2am Stopped at this bowling alley on Majestic and got a fully loaded hot dog. Tasty hot dog, better than the typical hot dogs I have had in Toronto.

                              On Sunday I ended up at Slow's BBQ for lunch. It was very busy so I took their offer to sit out on the patio. It was a cool day but the heater's kept me warm and I had room to read my newspaper. The service was excellent and quick contrary to the reports I had seen on here. Really loved the BBQ here except the smoked chicken was dry (brisket/pulled pork was as closed to perfect as I have had before). 4 different kinds of sauce. I had the "sampler" which had the 3 kinds of meat on it. I LOVED the mac and cheese. Definitely one of the best mac/cheeses I have had before. Coleslaw was pretty decent too. Overall, way too much food again so I took home a bunch of leftovers back to Canada.
                              I ended up going to Grosse Pointe for Trader Joe's and then stopped at the Costco in Roseville. Just love how many interesting products that are available in the USA vs. in Canada. I wish there was a Trader Joes in Canada (or, at least in Buffalo/northern NY state area!). Got so many interesting things there.
                              I picked up some beer as well (including a locally brewed porter) and one by Kuhnhenn Brewery. I wish I had time to have gone to check out their Octoberfest, that sounded great too.

                              I am curious about the place in Eastern Market area...Bert's BBQ. Music sounded great coming from there. How is the actual food? I was tempted to go but I was so full !

                              Thanks again for all of the help/recs!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: ylsf

                                Sorry to hear you lost your report. I hate when that happens. Still enjoyed reading your re-do.
                                Bert's is a place I really want to love. Inner city street grilling/barbecue. Cool. But, the lines and the attitudes (granted there may be cultural barriers at play) kind of leave me unimpressed. Just my opinion.
                                Hey, hope you return. There is plenty more fun to be had!

                                1. re: ylsf

                                  You got a pretty good Detroit sampler! Supino is one of the best pizzerias in the area.