Several different factors led to the decline of Detroit, Michigan; however, the Motor City has bounced back faster than expected. This rebirth has led to more business opportunities, and with them, a demand for quality places to eat and drink.
From old standbys to new spots filling the gaps, Detroit’s dining scene is blossoming. Whether you’re looking for a good brew, a classic Michigan Coney dog, or some tender barbecue, Detroit has it all.
Here are Detroit's culinary and beverage highlights.
Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company
Your first stop should be the Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company within the iconic Guardian Building. Although the coffee company has several locations, the ambience of this spot will take your morning brew to the next level.
Looking at the exterior of the building, you’d never guess that the lobby of this downtown skyscraper has a vaulted ceiling reminiscent of a cathedral’s. Also boasting stained glass windows and murals, the building has been nicknamed the Cathedral of Finance, and it provides a stunning backdrop to enjoy a coffee of your choice.
Great Lakes serves the standard espresso drinks, but it also spices things up with different specialty drinks, like its honey cinnamon latte and lavender latte. It also carries tea, matcha, chai, and a selection of breakfast items.
Conveniently located downtown within walking distance of several popular sites, the Dime Store brunch bar is a great place to stop before a long day of sightseeing. Voted the best brunch in Detroit by Hour Detroit readers, Dime Store prides itself on serving delicious, unique dishes made from the freshest ingredients from local vendors.
Expect a slight wait for your table, since this casual spot is one of the top places to eat and drink in Detroit. Dime Store serves several types of egg Benedict, including pork belly, salmon, and cheesesteak. Omelets, sandwiches, and mac and cheese are other popular choices. Complete your meal with a warm cup of coffee or a Michigan-brewed beer.
Motor City Brewing Works
On both sides of West Canfield Street, old warehouses have been converted into restaurants, boutiques, and, of course, brewpubs. In this trendy Midtown block is Motor City Brewing Works, a great place for a family dinner, a reunion with friends, or a casual date night.
Motor City Brewing is known for its handmade pizzas and unique beer selection. Whether you stick with the classic Margherita or try the specialty Bronx Bomber, you can’t go wrong. For a bit of a kick, try the Sopla Fuego, with habanero sauce, chorizo, jalapenos, and sour cream. All of the pizzas are big enough to share!
It’s called Motor City Brewing Works, after all, so you can’t forget the beer! Motor City Brewing’s flagship beer is the Ghettoblaster, an English-style mild ale with a low alcohol content and lots of flavor. In addition to its several regular beers, Motor City Brewing also offers a seasonal selection. You might catch a winter ale, a thick stout, or a refreshing summer brew.
Punch Bowl Social
Located in downtown Detroit, Punch Bowl Social is easily accessible for visitors and locals alike. And it isn’t just a place to eat and drink -- this spot is an experience.
The front dining room is clean and orderly, but it’s not very big. Instead of sitting down here, opt to dine in “the back,” which consists of two huge rooms (or maybe even three?). The very back room boasts billiards, couches, and a massive fireplace to lounge around. The front room is full of tables and chairs surrounding a large circular bar. You can take a seat on one of the cushioned bar stools and wait for a bartender to serve you up a blended cocktail or a beer on tap.
Punch Bowl Social also sells great food, from shareable appetizers to tacos and main dishes. Munch on some classic buffalo wings or queso dip before diving into a burger or the five-layer beef brisket chili. Yum!
Once you’re done with your meal, work off the calories with the restaurant’s plethora of activities: bowling, darts, karaoke, billiards, cornhole (on the second floor), and board games. You could easily spend hours eating, drinking, and playing games at Punch Bowl Social.
Lafayette Coney Island
You can’t visit Michigan and not stop by one of the small Coney Island shops for a Coney dog. Although you probably think of New York when you think of Coney dogs, they’re also much loved in Detroit. A Coney dog includes beef sausage, chili, yellow mustard, and chopped onions between two hot dog buns. The filling is called Coney sauce.
Rumored to have been brought over by Greeks who passed through Ellis Island in the early 1900s, this messy concoction has become a Detroit staple. And the two main Coney dog providers, Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island, which were opened by two brothers next door to each other, are still enmeshed in a feud. Although we’ve listed Lafayette Coney Island as one of the best places to eat in Detroit, you should Coney-dog-hop between the two locations to decide for yourself! The rest of the Greek fare they offer is also exceptional.
Green Dot Stables
Green Dot Stables is located in a less glitzy area west of downtown. Driving over, you’ll see abandoned and boarded-up buildings. Green Dot, however, has its own parking lot, which is usually full, especially at mealtimes!
The windowless space is made of brick and wood; it used to be a stable. The walls are covered in horse-racing memorabilia, and chances are there will be horse racing playing on the television. Not only are the decorations on point, but the food and drinks (nothing over $4!) also stand out.
Green Dot Stables is known for providing small bites of everything on its menu. This means everything is priced between $2 to $3, with a few special items hitting the top $4 mark. Go ahead -- pick five to seven items from the menu! Don’t miss the incredible sliders. The General Tso’s chicken slider, a plant-based chicken burger that you will swear is actual meat, is also delicious. And you might as well purchase a few drinks, since you won’t find $2 cans of beer or $3 cocktails in very many places.
Who says that the Midwest can’t make barbecue? Opened in 2005, Slow’s BBQ has made a name for itself with freshly cooked, finger-licking barbecue dishes. Although most times there’s a line, the delayed gratification of juicy barbecue is worth the wait.
Grab a plate with the three classic meat offerings of brisket, pulled pork, and apple barbecue glazed chicken, or get a full order of each. The meat is just as good within a sandwich as it is on its own. Try the Yardbird, which was named one of the top three sandwiches in America, or the Reason, an original sandwich stuffed with pulled pork smothered in North Carolina-style sauce and coleslaw. A few other crowd favorites include the brisket Coney fries, corn dodgers, and mac and cheese.
And what would barbecue be without a cold beer to wash it down? Take your pick and stay awhile -- the draft beer list offers 36 different choices, from ciders to ales to IPAs.