American & Lafayette Coney Islands
114 & 118 W. Lafayette Blvd., Downtown
A true-blue Detroit classic, these two Coney Island diners are open all day and share a wall—and a long-standing rivalry pertaining to the city’s best hot dogs. Basically, everyone in Detroit likes either American or Lafayette—it’s down-and-dirty food, but a quintessential Motor City experience.
1401 Vermont St., Corktown
Known as the café for discerning coffee drinkers, Anthology is located in the dead-end parking lot where Porter and Vermont Street meet. (The low, grey brick building tatted in murals is easy to miss on a first drive-by.) Drinks are served from a central island coffee bar that's flanked by a row of small tables in the clean, industrial-hip space. Note that Anthology is not opened on Wednesday or Thursday.
2124 Michigan Ave., Corktown
Astro is the picture definition of a local indie coffee shop: chalkboard menu, painted floral backdrop, vintage globe atop a small wood table, antique-y turquoise kitchen cabinet, lingering locals, on-point egg sandwiches (with rosemary aioli), and of course beloved coffee drinks. Combine your stop here with a visit to the Detroit Artifactry store across the street.
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.)
Detroit Institute of Bagels
1236 Michigan Ave., Corktown
The name of this bagel spot says it all. The bagels here emerge from a labor-intensive, 30-hour process that includes both boiling and baking—and lend them the perfect chewy texture. You can opt to try them as one of several egg sandwiches, or pair them with spreads ranging from Butternut Squash Tahini to Sriracha Lentil. The only thing more comforting than the shop’s earthy wood floors and weathered brick is the amazing smell coming from the ovens.
242 John R St., Downtown
Run by Herman Hayes, known in Detroit as Uncle Herm, Dilla's Delights honors the memory of his late nephew, the influential hip hop producer J Dilla. When it opened in 2016, the highly anticipated shop quickly—by 8 a.m.—sold out. Hayes uses organic ingredients to make his oft-inventive, sought after flavors. While there are no seats at Dilla's, fans make use of the narrow counter space looking out onto Downtown Detroit.
719 Griswold St., Downtown
Juice shops are not ubiquitous in Detroit as they've become in many cities. For your juice-fix here, go to Drought. Opened by four sisters, the company makes organic, cold-pressed juices, often using produce grown in Michigan, each one glass-bottled. Green #1 (chard, cabbage, apple, celery, kale, lemon) is a favorite. Drought also has oat and chia shakes, cold brew coffee, and packaged one-day cleanses. The new "Biocean" seawater shots at the checkout are said to be effective boosters, too. There are four Michigan locations; the Detroit storefront is located inside the Chrysler House, and is just meant for grabbing a juice on the go. (Fair warning: A quality chocolate shop with gift-worthy packaging, called Bon Bon Bon, sits directly across the way. Also inside building: the Dime Store restaurant.)
1445 Adelaide St., Downtown
The Eastern Market sits just east of Midtown and is home to Detroit's well known, sprawling farmers market scene. There is always a reason to visit but the Saturday market is the largest, with more than 200 vendors, year round. June through September, there is also a crafts-focused Sunday market, and a smaller grocery market on Tuesdays. Outside of the market sheds, people also come to Eastern Market to see the surrounding murals; many are new although some original street art remains in the area. (More can be found in Southwest Detroit.) Other beloved Eastern Market spots include Trinosophes cafe and gallery, Red Bull House of Art, Detroit Distillery, and Italian eatery La Rondinella.
525 Monroe St., Greektown
A hole-in-the-wall in the Greektown district of Downtown Detroit, Golden Fleece has been around since the beginning of the 1970's. It specializes in super-clutch, late-night food: gyros, souvlaki, shish kebabs, saganaki, and so on.
Johnny Noodle King
2601 W. Fort St., Corktown
The owners of the sliders spot, Green Dot, opened a nearby ramen venture in 2014 that has proved to be wildly popular—as in, entire house (maybe 60 seats) packed at 9pm on a weekday. This is not a place concerned with cooking the most authentic dishes, but rather the most satisfying. Many of the bowls draw from classic Japanese menus but there's also combos like the Philly (shaved ribeye, scallions, poblano) and the Southwest (shredded chicken and cheese, tomato, house made créma) that keep things interesting.
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