1130 Clark St., Mexicantown
A community park in Southwest Detroit, Clark Park was saved by residents in 1991 when financial struggles had forced the park to close temporarily. Walking through the park you do get the sense of being far from any sort of city life—while it does feel like an escape, the park is very much tied to life in Detroit. In fall, the large trees throughout the space turn beautiful shades of red, yellow, orange, and in the winter, there's a regulation-sized hockey rink at its center. In the summer, among other things, the park provides free lunch daily to a hundred-plus students. Year round, there is artwork dispersed throughout the park and a series of community programs.
4114 W. Vernor Hwy., Mexicantown
Music venue El Club opened in 2016 in a renovated space in Mexicantown that is part bar and part concert hall, with a generous outdoor garden and couch-lounge area attached. Their show line-up (most begin at 8pm) gets good buzz, but this is also a fun place to hang outside of show hours, too. It has a slightly throw back vibe; the bar is long with a sole TV in the far corner and DJ set-up in another (this isn't a quiet spot), and a neon "El Club" sign hangs high in cursive. Pizza (not just cheese-only bar slices but margherita, sausage and pepperoni, vegan pie with tahini dressing, kimchi-style, a handful of white pies, and so on) is served by Pepe Z on-site. El Club can also be rented out for private parties.
Flowers of Vietnam
4430 Vernor Hwy. W, Mexicantown
Though it's still only open for Saturday and Sunday dinner, Chef George Azar's Vietnamese pop-up has been open several months now, and rumors are spreading that it might become a more permanent installation—a prospect that everyone's rooting for. Just down the street from Clark Park, in a neighborhood that's much better known for Mexican food, Azar serves authentic Vietnamese food in a former Coney Island that's still filled with plenty of relics from the past, from old-school diner stools, to leather booths, to the old-school menus (white with individual letters that can be swapped out) behind the bar. Azar's menu is actually written in Vietnamese, serving bubble tea and Vietnamese coffee, mango and papaya salad, and a delicious pho. And though they're technically Korean, we've heard the caramel chicken wings are out of this world.
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