DETROIT – Well, the year is coming to an end. Oh, 2022, we hardly knew you.
But before this thing wraps up, I thought it would be fun for just a normal guy (me) to review some of my favorite things I found around Detroit this year.
I’m not a food critic, reviewer, or even really that adventurous. I’m just a guy, who likes to eat, point at things and say, hey that’s cool, and occasionally go for a walk to a new trendy bar.
If that’s not the sell of the century, I don’t know what is! Let’s get into my Best of Detroit 2022 guide, because why not, you’re still here, aren’t you?!
The year of Supergeil
Friends, there are A LOT of new restaurants in the city of Detroit this year. But there’s one that stands out from the rest. You guessed it, it’s Supergeil.
This Corktown gem is a rock’s throw across the street from Two James, and for good reason -- they own it. The cocktail menu is built around the distiller, but the food menu is inspired by a town in Germany that was known for its Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine. A true hodge-podge, if you will.
The menu is filled with unique tastes, like the olives, flatbreads, and the fries, which are dressed with a spicy house dressing and perfectly hot peppers, and of course, the doner sandwiches, which are to die for.
I’ve been there several times this year, and it has brought me joy and happiness every time. Check it out if you’re around Corktown soon.
The elevation of Detroit-style pizza
Detroit-style pizza is the best pizza on the planet. We’re not arguing that at all. It’s everywhere right now, isn’t it? Even Pizza Hut is making their own version of it -- please don’t ever buy it.
They’ve both been open for a few years now, but the pandemic really put their crusts on the back-burners. Now, they’re huge hits among the pan pizza faithful (that’s me).
This ain’t your normal Detroit-style pizza. I said it was elevated! That means the crust is better, the ingredients are fresher and the bite is crunchier. And the toppings, oh, the toppings, are giving us a whole new experience.
This is not a hit piece on Buddy’s, or Shield’s, and any of those classic spots -- which are all great. But these two newer spots deserve a place on the map.
‘Tis the Seasons Market
I’m the kind of guy who likes to walk around nice grocery stores, just to take in the fun jars, local products and fancy wines. Seasons Market & Cafe in Midtown gives me all of it.
This place opened earlier this year and it seems to be a hit in the community. (Hey, we moved to Midtown, by the way, don’t think I forgot)
Seasons carries fresh market produce, rotating, well, seasonally, as well as local products like coffees, sauces, breads and more. They’ve got all the basics.
They also serve up a full coffee bar, stocked with grab and go soups, sandwiches and salads, and you can even order up some hot soup from the cafe every day, or even have a glass of wine or beer on the vast patio outside nested between the El Moore Lodge.
And the people who work there are lovely and accommodating. It’s the place to be, if you want good vibes.
East Africa arrives in Detroit
We’re heading up Woodward for a bite at Baobab Fare, an East African joint that was opened by Nadia Nijimbere and Hamissi Mamba, who fled Burundi for the US in 2014.
Baobab Fare is open in New Center, on Woodward and West Grand Boulevard, right on the corner. You can’t miss it, it’s black and yellow.
I think I’ve tried everything on the menu, with every combo, and every single meal has, as the kids say, slapped. The flavors, the love, the culture, you can taste all of it in every bite.
It’s also a market and juice bar, and they serve some great hot drinks, too. There’s a beautiful sense of community here that you can’t deny.
The rooftop at Cøllect Beer Bar
Just past the busy strip of Eastern Market, over on Gratiot, you may stumble into a very low-key beer bar with lots of character.
Cøllect Beer Bar, up the stairs -- yes, keep going -- is a lovely little spot, bringing in the chill vibes but in an elevated setting. You can grab a beer, and then walk up more stairs, to the rooftop patio, overlooking the market and the city.
Obviously, if it’s raining, you’re probably going to be inside. But that’s still cool.
The beer selection is thorough, and they offer other options, like wine, ciders and non-alcoholic beverages from their special cooler. Stop in for a quick one, if you’re gassed from buying cauliflower.
Side note: Pour one out for something that would have made this list, but they closed -- Bunny Bunny -- which shared a stairway with Cøllect Beer Bar. Truly one of the best menus in town. So sad to see them go. But we carry on.
La Jalisciense, to the rescue
After my favorite taco spot, Taqueria El Rey, burned down earlier this year, I was left with a massive taco void.
But then I found La Jalisciense Supermercado Y Taqueria.
Located just past the Mexican Town strip on Vernor, La Jalisciense serves up fresh, delicious food, and the tacos are front and center.
I’m not saying La Jalisciense has the absolute best tacos in the city -- I’m not qualified to say. But their tacos have been heroic to this household.
And yes, it’s attached to a Mexican market, you can grab some groceries on your way out. What fun!
The people are at Spot Lite Detroit
Spot Lite is not a restaurant, but it does feed your soul with jams.
Spot Lite Detroit is probably one of the more popular music/bar venues in the city right now. It’s not a young, club crowd, it’s more older millennial, grab a drink and listen to some music vibes. It’s a wide open space with indoor and outdoor seating.
They host lots of cool events, but they also have vinyl records you can browse and buy, as well as pop ups, like Cairo Coffee, which is open right now.
Spot Lite is in the Islandview neighborhood, off Charlevoix and Mt. Elliott. They’re open at 10 a.m. most days, so you can bring your laptop, have a coffee and get some work done.
The clock is not ticking at Time Will Tell
There is no shortage of craft cocktail bars in Detroit -- you can find a really good one in most neighborhoods. But one caught my eye this year -- Time Will Tell.
Tucked into an unassuming space along Woodward, just north of Baltimore, this somewhat swanky spot is decked out in luxurious curtains, fun wallpaper and stunning ceilings.
The menu is short and sweet, offering a handful of hand crafted cocktail treats. You can’t go wrong. Just pick one, already!
The place looks great and the vibes are even better. If you’re heading to the Fisher (or leaving), stop by for a nightcap.
- Oak & Reel: If you’re feeling a really fancy night out, Oak & Reel is the place to be. It’s probably the all around best restaurant in the city right now.
- Rocco’s Italian Deli: If you’re looking for one of the best sandwiches in town, look no further than Rocco’s in Midtown. They’ve also got a great chop salad.
- The Congregation: Tucked between Boston-Edison and Virginia Park, this old church converted into cafe is a lovely lunch stop. They have some wide open outdoor space, too.
- La Pecora Nera: Another one of the best sandwiches in the city, “Black Sheep” is a great lunch (and breakfast) spot Downtown, on Washington Boulevard.
Well, there you have it! Those are some of my favorite Detroit finds this year. They may not be new to you, but they were new to me. And this is all about me. If that’s not clear by now.
Cheers to finding new things in 2023. Thanks for reading.