Eat Like a Local: Detroit
For Yahoo Food’s travel summer series, Eat Like a Local, we’re taking you on a cross-country food crawl, city by city. Here’s where to chow down in America’s lesser-known destinations without sticking out like a sore thumb.
Vegetarian tacos at Imperial. Photo credit: Imperial Mexican Restaurant, Facebook
Have you heard? Detroit is extra-foxy nowadays, with a booming food and drink scene, and particularly easy living in the summertime. Melody Baetens, features reporter for the Detroit News and a city native, reports on the restaurant and bar scene and owns her own bar, Small’s—so she’s well aware of just how good those famed Michigan craft brews are. Here are a few of her top picks in the Motor City (and yes, they include the beloved Coney dog).
Best Suds: Atwater Brewery
Down by the Detroit River is a cheerful, good-looking (‘sup, slickly modern design?) bar and brewery called Atwater, where some of Michigan’s best brews are bottled. Baetens recommends the vanilla java porter—exactly how it sounds: sweet, strong, and robust—and tucking into a few pints at one of the long picnic tables. (237 Joseph Campau St.; 313-877-9205)
Best Tacos: Imperial Mexican Restaurant
Good tacos… in Detroit? Yep, there’s actually a sizable Mexican population in the southwest part of the city. Buzzy, trendy, and bare-bones, this Ferndale neighborhood joint has “great drinks, a cool setting, amazing food, and I always run into people I know here,” says Baetens. So if you’re in the mood to meet locals, swing by for corn, margaritas, vegetarian tacos, and a “California surfer vibe.” (22828 Woodward Ave; 248-850-8060)
Best Pierogi: Polish Village Café
This “old world gem regularly pops up on best-of lists,” says Baetens, and while it’s “a favorite of the suburban and post-church Sunday crowd, the people who live in the area still visit as much as possible because of the heavily laden Polish plates and ice-cold boombas.” (Don’t know the term? We didn’t, either. Apparently that’s Detroit-speak for “glass chalice.”) That Polish plate comes with one of everything good: pierogi, sausage, stuffed cabbage, mashed potatoes, gravy, bread, and salad, all for seven bucks. (2040 Park Ave.; 313-965-3111)