3921 2nd Ave., Midtown
Ask anyone about the more sophisticated menus in Detroit, and Selden Standard comes up again and again. Named Restaurant of the Year by the Detroit Free Press, the restaurant is a collaboration between Andy Hollyday (a Toledo native who grew up cooking in his family's restaurant) and Evan Hansen (a local businessman with a major passion for wine and beer). Hollyday's menu is all about locally sourced food and shared plates, with an emphasis on cooking from scratch—pasta is all handmade, butter is churned in the back of house, and ricotta and pickling are done on-site. It's close to Comerica Park, so it's a great place to go before Tigers games if you're driving in from the suburbs.
Avalon International Breads
422 W. Willis, Midtown
Started by two women in 1997, Avalon was more than a pioneer of the small business and café scene in Detroit. For a long time, it was essentially the whole of the coffee scene in Detroit, and it's remained a beating pulse of the community. All of Avalon's breads, including the signature sourdoughs, are made with organic flours. Some loaves go into Avalon's sandwiches; they also have already-made salads, and the coffee is locally-roasted by Great Lakes Coffee and Roasting (with the almond milk latte being the standout). The café is a popular meeting spot (purposeful and accidental) but you can also set up shop here for a couple hours with a laptop. (For afterward, there's Shinola around the corner and the accompanying stores that now populate the Cass Corridor/Midtown area.)
Museum of Contemporary Art
4454 Woodward Ave., Midtown
Founded in 2006, MOCAD is firmly a product of a changing Detroit, bringing local and international artists to an audience that's younger and a bit more avant-garde than what you'll find at the city's older art institutions. The museum is housed in a cavernous old auto dealership that was redesigned for this purpose (to great acclaim—the design won a prestigious award from Architectural Review), giving them plenty of space and flexibility for performance art, major sculptures, and dramatic installations. Their most ambitious project to date, Detroit City, addresses the influence of art, both new and old, and in every medium, on the city's real and perceived identity. The cafe in the middle of the space, run by Dave Kwiatkowski and Marc Djozlija (the guys behind The Sugar House) serves great sushi and well-crafted cocktails, and entry is based on a suggested donation of $5.
441 W. Canfield St., Midtown
The Shinola brand has largely become synonymous with the changing city of Detroit itself. As a company, Shinola has made Detroit its home: Their 30,000-square foot watch factory resides inside of Detroit's College for Creative Studies in the former GM Argonaut building, a symbol of the company's mission to bring jobs to the city, and bigger picture, to America. The flagship store, a large piece of the transformation of West Canfield Street in Midtown, has become a destination in and of itself. The store is a gorgeous, industrial showcase of Shinola's signature leather watches, as well as wallets, bags, and exceptionally handsome notebooks. Bicycles hang from exposed beams and the impeccable bike workshop (where every Shinola bicycle is custom assembled) is visible behind a long glass wall running the length of the store. Conveniently, there's also a café inside as well as a flower stand from Detroit's Made Floral, with irresistibly romantic bouquets. After your visit, keep walking along Canfield (toward 2nd Avenue), which turns into a cobblestone street—Detroit's first local historic district, with houses dating back to the 1870's, reflecting a mix of Gothic Revival, Italianate, Second Empire,…
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