Detroit – With the weather slowly warming up, and COVID still on the top of minds, many are looking to dine at restaurants with large outdoor patios. Well, there is a new restaurant that just opened up that is all open-air dining, and it is in a really cool spot, the Detroit canals!
You can sit fire-side as you chow down on fresh, farm-to-table fare while watching boats leisurely make their way out to the Detroit River. It’s called Coriander Kitchen and Farm, and it is all thanks to the partnership of Farmer Gwen Meyer, and Chef Alison Heeres.
Their partnership started in 2015 when the pair bought half an acre of land just outside of Eastern Market. Meyer studied agriculture in school, and they both wanted to bring locally grown food to Detroit. While Meyer acted as head farmer, Heeres would make meals with the food they grew. It was a very fruitful partnership with them both inspiring one another.
The pair then partnered up with Meyer’s husband, the owner of Detroit River Sports, to do Paddle to Table events. After a tour of the Detroit River on kayaks, they would serve up a fresh farm-to-table meal.
Detroit River Sports was in need of a building, and they found it in an old party store on Riverside Boulevard right between the canals and boat launch. Meyer’s husband grew up in the area and had fond memories of swimming through the canals to the store to get candy.
“He had a vision for bringing life back into this space,” says Meyer.
He pitched that instead of doing catering, like they originally planned, they should open up a restaurant in the building instead.
“I said ‘no,’” laughed Heeres. “But I fell in love with the place, and just felt like it was something that needed to be here, and if anyone was going to do it, we thought it should be us.”
It took over 4 years for them to repair and transform the old bait shop and party store into a restaurant. They rebuilt the top floor, making it all open-air with no windows. The building is painted in vibrant colors and their plans are to add tons of plants when the weather gets warmer.
The most stand-out part of the restaurant, though, is the patio. Gravel covers the ground while vintage patio sets encircle fire pits. There are also plenty of picnic tables if you want to go for a more traditional dining experience. The patio is bordered by the canal, so you get prime views of the water and wildlife.
To go with their casual atmosphere, they went with a fairly simple menu. Most of their entrees are sandwiches, pitas, and salads. What they do not grow themselves, they source locally. Chef Heeres says they went with sandwiches because they are very comforting, everyone loves them, but they can also be filled with tasty unique ingredients.
If you are wanting to try something a bit new, go for their lamb shoulder flatbread. It features thinly sliced lamb that has been dry rubbed and tossed in a roasted red pepper eggplant sauce, topped with green lentils, pickled green tomatoes, and caramelized onions. If you want something classic, go with the burger or the fried fish sandwich. They are both pretty classic, well made with fresh ingredients.
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Coriander Kitchen and Farm is located at 14601 Riverside Blvd. in Detroit. Currently, they are open for carry-out and dine-in on their patio Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.