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Some Good Old Places in Detroit

Some Good Old Places in Detroit
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  • Post #31 - February 15th, 2011, 2:43 am
    Post #31 - February 15th, 2011, 2:43 am Post #31 - February 15th, 2011, 2:43 am
    Detroit—Motor City—is a fascinating place to visit. It's not always pretty but there's more to see and eat than many realize.

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    The recently renovated and expanded Detroit Institute of Arts surprised me with the breadth and quality of its collections. In addition to its masterpiece mural by Diego Rivera (above is a tiny piece), there are paintings by Bruegel, van Eyck and many more. A very fine, pleasingly old fashioned museum.

    I'd wanted to go to Cadieux Café since my first trip to Detroit but never managed to visit until recently. Cadieux has been a meeting place for Detroit's Belgian population since the 1920s, generations before mussels and Belgian beer became trendy in these parts.

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    The interior is inviting—nothing fancy but nicely preserved. Video game machines peaceably coexist with old artifacts (note the archery and pigeon racing trophies proudly displayed above the bar). The menu is fairly interesting (mussels nine ways, not to mention all-you-can-eat on Mussel Madness Mondays!) but we had other plans for dinner. Instead we had a few beers and watched feather bowling, an odd and amusing sport, in the adjacent room.

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    Players roll cheese-like wooden rounds down a dirt alley toward a feather at the far end. We didn't get to play (alleys are booked well in advance) but greatly enjoyed watching.

    For years I've been curious about Detroit's rich slider culture. I wonder if there's anywhere else with so many different grease shacks specializing in the little burgers. Telway, Greene's, Bate's and Campau Tower are but a few of the old places still around. A visit to the great Powers Hamburgers in Fort Wayne only increased my interest. Telway Hamburger System has a couple locations around Detroit. We chose the one on Michigan near Livernois. The place certainly looks right (and a fatal hit-and-run just down the street only added to the urban authenticity).

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    A couple sliders and a bowl of hillbilly chili sounded like a good idea. I have no idea why they call the chili that.

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    I'm pretty sure we got the last of the old batch of burgers. I'm being kind when I say these little guys were disappointing. I'd have to think long and hard to remember a skimpier or less appealing burger. It tasted mainly of cheap bun and stale grease. The chili was much worse—hands down the most disgusting bowl I've ever tried. Unfortunately that slop put an end to our slider explorations. Next time in Detroit I'll try to get back on the horse but it'll be tough to erase that chili from my memory. There have to be better places.

    Detroit really redeemed itself the next meal. The city is serious about cured meats, both corned beef (see above) and ham.

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    I tried to eat at Hambone Deli in Gratiot Market on a previous visit but it was late in the day and they were out of ham. I'll try to keep an open mind but I'd be pleasantly surprised if their ham sandwich is anywhere close to Mike's Famous Ham Place.

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    Mike's was a real highlight of the trip, enjoyable in every way. You have to admire Mike's focus: the menu consists of ham & eggs, pea soup with ham, bean soup with ham and ham sandwiches. Pie and beverages round out the menu.

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    That's Mike with a ham. He and his wife couldn't be nicer people or more welcoming hosts. Both soups are top notch, filled with ham chunks.

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    The sandwiches are works of art. Poppy seed rolls are stuffed with tender but crusty slices. Mike sets aside the nicest outside pieces to decorate the plate. How great is that—a ham sandwich with a ham garnish? Of all the places I've eaten at in all my trips to Detroit, Mike's is probably my favorite. Can't wait to get back.

    Cadieux Café
    4300 Cadieux Rd
    Detroit MI
    313-882-8560

    Telway Hamburgers
    6820 Michigan Av
    Detroit MI
    313-843-2146

    Mike's Famous Ham Place
    3700 Michigan Av
    Detroit MI
    313-894-6922
  • Post #32 - February 15th, 2011, 10:04 am
    Post #32 - February 15th, 2011, 10:04 am Post #32 - February 15th, 2011, 10:04 am
    Rene G wrote:Detroit—Motor City—is a fascinating place to visit. It's not always pretty but there's more to see and eat than many realize.


    I couldn't agree more. I think fascinating is the perfect word. The recent Chrysler commercial with Eminem during the Super Bowl gave me chills and reminded me I need to get back there asap.



    One of these day's I will get to my complete Detroit area slider report on here. I must admit, I didn't find Telway any different than you...must be a locals thing. Although that's not to say there weren't some great slider stops too, 'cause there were. Although not technically sliders, have you heard of Marcus Hamburgers out there? I thought this place had your name all over it due to it's uniqueness and old school vibe. Cool spot.

    Mike's Famous Ham Place looks like a real winner. I got the info into my ever expanding list of old school eating spots to stop at in the D. You gotta love how so many of these places like Mike's and most of the slider spots are still in those old school buildings with white enamel tiles ala White Castle back in the day. I guess they were all built by the same manufacturer around the same time, they're all so alike. My friend's dad from out there told me a few of them used to be White Tower stands which was one of the many rip off's of White Castle. Is there anymore of these buildings left in Chicago other than Muskie's?
  • Post #33 - February 15th, 2011, 7:14 pm
    Post #33 - February 15th, 2011, 7:14 pm Post #33 - February 15th, 2011, 7:14 pm
    Rene G wrote:Image


    I want to go swimming in a pool of that soup. Great find!
  • Post #34 - February 16th, 2011, 1:02 am
    Post #34 - February 16th, 2011, 1:02 am Post #34 - February 16th, 2011, 1:02 am
    Da Beef wrote:The recent Chrysler commercial with Eminem during the Super Bowl gave me chills and reminded me I need to get back there asap.

    Thanks for posting that. I rarely watch television so hadn't seen it but wanted to. That's a pretty great commercial (couldn't help noticing their excellent use of the Diego Rivera mural).

    Da Beef wrote:One of these day's I will get to my complete Detroit area slider report on here. I must admit, I didn't find Telway any different than you...must be a locals thing. Although that's not to say there weren't some great slider stops too, 'cause there were. Although not technically sliders, have you heard of Marcus Hamburgers out there? I thought this place had your name all over it due to it's uniqueness and old school vibe. Cool spot.

    I look forward to your report. We had planned to hit a few other places but Telway stopped us dead in our tracks. Couldn't face the possibility of more of the same. Very happy to hear there are better sliders in Detroit (it could hardly be otherwise). Marcus does indeed look special. I had it on my list but didn't realize its uniqueness. Coneys get all the attention in Detroit but the hamburger scene is probably more diverse and interesting.

    Da Beef wrote:You gotta love how so many of these places like Mike's and most of the slider spots are still in those old school buildings with white enamel tiles ala White Castle back in the day. I guess they were all built by the same manufacturer around the same time, they're all so alike. My friend's dad from out there told me a few of them used to be White Tower stands which was one of the many rip off's of White Castle. Is there anymore of these buildings left in Chicago other than Muskie's?

    From the picture it does look like Mike's is covered in enameled steel. I'm really not sure but seeing it close up I thought they were cast concrete panels. Maybe it was the rough-surfaced paint that made me think that.

    This is an interesting topic that I hope I can say more about in another thread. Many of White Castle's early restaurants were built of cinder blocks or bricks. It was around 1929 that the porcelain-on-steel process was perfected by a White Castle collaborator. Billy Ingram (White Castle's founder) wasted no time founding a separate company, Porcelain Steel Buildings. This company supplied prefabricated structures to many businesses including restaurants but they were especially popular as gas stations. I don't think PSB sold buildings to White Castle's many competitors, such as White Tower.

    White Tower had a strong presence in Chicago in the 1930s (and beyond) and at least one of their old brick buildings remains, relatively intact. Here's a current photo of Adam's Ribs ("Like Manna From Heaven") at the corner of Washington & Pulaski. I believe it was built sometime in the '30s.

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    Unfortunately I have no information on the history of the Muskie's structure (2878 N Lincoln). Do you know for a fact it used to be a White Tower? It doesn't look like one of that chain's classic buildings but they used so many different architectural styles in later years that it's certainly possible.

    There's a remarkably well-preserved White Tower (built in 1929) in Racine.

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    As for old White Castles in Chicago, there was a discussion of Chef Luciano's beautiful restoration in another thread. Here's the "after" picture ("before" photo is in linked thread).

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    There are more remnants of White Castles (and its imitators) scattered around the city but certainly none so carefully restored.

    MarlaCollins'Husband wrote:I want to go swimming in a pool of that soup. Great find!

    Mike's really is a great place. Now I can hardly imagine being anywhere near Detroit without making a detour for ham. The only problem is, it closes at 3pm. Here's the updated info.

    Mike's Famous Ham Place (since 1974)
    "The customer, as our witness"
    3700 Michigan Av
    Detroit MI
    313-894-6922
    Mon-Fri 6am-3pm, Sat 7am-3pm
  • Post #35 - February 16th, 2011, 8:08 pm
    Post #35 - February 16th, 2011, 8:08 pm Post #35 - February 16th, 2011, 8:08 pm
    Rene G wrote:
    Da Beef wrote:This is an interesting topic that I hope I can say more about in another thread. Many of White Castle's early restaurants were built of cinder blocks or bricks. It was around 1929 that the porcelain-on-steel process was perfected by a White Castle collaborator. Billy Ingram (White Castle's founder) wasted no time founding a separate company, Porcelain Steel Buildings. This company supplied prefabricated structures to many businesses including restaurants but they were especially popular as gas stations. I don't think PSB sold buildings to White Castle's many competitors, such as White Tower.

    White Tower had a strong presence in Chicago in the 1930s (and beyond) and at least one of their old brick buildings remains, relatively intact. Here's a current photo of Adam's Ribs ("Like Manna From Heaven") at the corner of Washington & Pulaski. I believe it was built sometime in the '30s.

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    Unfortunately I have no information on the history of the Muskie's structure (2878 N Lincoln). Do you know for a fact it used to be a White Tower? It doesn't look like one of that chain's classic buildings but they used so many different architectural styles in later years that it's certainly possible.

    There's a remarkably well-preserved White Tower (built in 1929) in Racine.

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    As for old White Castles in Chicago, there was a discussion of Chef Luciano's beautiful restoration in another thread. Here's the "after" picture ("before" photo is in linked thread).

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    There are more remnants of White Castles (and its imitators) scattered around the city but certainly none so carefully restored


    Wow that's a history lesson! That's as good as anything I have read about the history of that style of buildings. I'm glad I asked because I now remember reading on LTH about Chef Luciano and the old restored WC his chicken spots sits in today that reopened a while back. It had been on my places I gotta get to list but I never wrote it down and forgot about it in the mix. Thanks for the reminder.

    I'm not sure what the Muskies was, I didn't mean to imply it used to be a White Tower, cause I don't know that, I was just saying how a few of the old Detroit spots were once White Towers. I just kind of threw Muskies into the mix since it's the same style and I've always loved it for the building (the chicken club is pretty good) but your right, it's rectangle structure is different than the rest.

    Actually most of my info on these classic food joints comes from your sharing of what you learned. It's always so very informative. I'm going to get back to Detroit in the next couple months and visit Uncle Mike's as well as the last three slider joints on my list and some other gems from this thread and other suggestions. Thanks for continuing to share the classics with us.
  • Post #36 - March 15th, 2011, 5:48 pm
    Post #36 - March 15th, 2011, 5:48 pm Post #36 - March 15th, 2011, 5:48 pm
    Just had a fantastic weekend jaunt to Detroit, it had been over ten years since my last visit and I have a new community of friends there that I owed a visit.

    The first night, having arrived late and immediately hitting a party, there was one obvious choice for our first late night in Detroit, Lafayette Coney Island. I had there been on my last trip to town and loved its shabby diner style.
    Famished, I ordered:

    Two Coney's with everything
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    I love these dogs, perhaps my second favorite regional style to our own. The snappy natural casing sausage itself is fantastic, all pork with a kiss of smoke. That chili too, a rich meat gravy with pronounced garlic and cumin. Since childhood I've always had a fondness for the symphony of chili, raw onion, and mustard. Back to the chili, can't have too much of a good thing, might as well order it on the fries as well:

    Chili cheese fries
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    Food service fries done good by- nicely crisp. Shredded real cheddar a classy twist, and more of that addictive chili. I appreciate the high/low interplay of the ingredients of this food (well, probably more like middle/low).

    Of course food tends to be high priority when I travel, though the main operative of this trip wasn't of a culinary nature. We were to delve head first into the 25+ year old movement to revivify the city's urban blight through artistic intervention. Tyree Guyton's Heidelberg Project in the McDougall-Hunt neighborhood is considered the model for reclaiming deteriorating buildings to be used literally as canvas for large scale urban sculpture.

    Heidelberg Project
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    Back to homebase in Hamtramck, my friend described her neighbor as an old guy that sculpts this pop art jungle gym in his backyard. It is appropriately named:

    Hamtramck Disney Land
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    I was particularly impressed by Olayami Dabls' African Bead Museum, which besides housing an impressive archive of African Beads (all for sale) it is situated on several lots that host large scale detritus sculptures made by Dabls.

    African Bead Museum
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    N'Kisi are protective totems that draw their powers through iron.

    N'kisi
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    N'kisi Iron House
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    Perhaps most impressive was the "African Language Wall" a project Dabls is working on with local school children to teach them African languages through art.

    African Language Wall
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    Detroit is a really inspiring place despite its disfunction over the years. Art projects such as these have led to a new generation of artists reclaiming abandoned architecture.

    And back to the food- we weren't there all that long and our comical over-ordering at Cedarland accounted for an entire's day eating.

    So, our final stop was for Polish- we were staying in Hamtramck, the old school Polish neighborhood- so it seemed like an appropriate choice. Our friend recommended
    Polish Village Cafe.

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    Old school tavern-y interior:
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    The place was hoppin at just before noon, all sorts of community folks including some real deal older gentlemen enjoying rounds of beers with heaping platters of kielbasa. The staff was very warm and welcoming.

    This soup came highly recommended:

    Dill Pickle Soup
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    This reminded me of potato salad made into soup, which wasn't particularly appealing.

    I'm a Podhalanka guy and have never made it to Smak Tak for their esteemed Hungarian Pancake. Polish Village had it on the menu, so it seemed necessary:

    Hungarian Pancake
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    This was pretty satisfying, the potato pancake was fried mighty crisp and was pleasantly dense. The "goulash" was nice, but left a little to be desired. Note the stray meat chunk in the right foreground, it was dry. It seemed as though the meat had been cooked one way and the gravy, applied on top, had been cooked seperate. The meat was braised tender and was fine, but wasn't seeped in the flavor of the sauce. The sauce was much more a gravy, thick, with a pronounced thyme note. Visibly and flavor-wise it was a little light on the paprika, which was kinda disappointing since the menu described it as having "a bit of spice". Maybe they meant thyme. A good dish nonetheless and I could only tackle half, a steal at $8.50.

    My buddy ordered the pierogi plate
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    He ordered fried, expecting panfried and these guys were all the way deep fried. I only tried the potato, which had a filling that I found under seasoned and too coarsely mashed to my tastes. There were two of each, the other fillings were meat and a sweet cheese.

    I also ordered cucumber salad on the side, not realizing there were two versions. I had spied other diner enjoying a dressed-in-vinaigrette version with lots of dill and I received a gloppy, dressed-in-sweetened-sour-cream, version.

    A charming and popular place with decent food. I'm trying to drop the habit of relying on comparison as the basis for critique, but it seems to me like we have some really outstanding Polish food here in Chicago. The cooking at Podhalanka, in particular (since its my go-to) has a finesse and depth that I didn't find that day in Hamtramck.

    No matter though, I love Detroit and will be back.

    Polish Village Cafe
    2990 Yemans Avenue
    Hamtramck, MI 48212
    (313) 874-5726
  • Post #37 - July 28th, 2011, 11:24 am
    Post #37 - July 28th, 2011, 11:24 am Post #37 - July 28th, 2011, 11:24 am
    I spent about a night in Detroit and loved my first summertime visit. I tried to do it up like a 'local tourist' so the others with wouldnt get too freaked about visiting the good old places. The night we spent in town was a fun one with the Tigers playing a home game and it being a hot night people were out and about in Greektown.

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    Strolling Greektown

    We didn't get in until about 7p, so the first order of business was dinner and then some drinks which is how we ended up in Greektown and thus stopped into a Greek restaurant for some eats. The cop we talked too about where to stop in and eat some good Greek food told us The Golden Fleece was one of the two or three good Greek spots left in the area.

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    an old Greektown favorite

    Good place, I liked what we ate. Nice location too right across from the casino and affordable and filling. We tried the marinated (cold) octopus, saganaki, fried calamari and I went with the combo plate of gyros and souvlaki. No gyro cones from Chicago companies used here as you can see in the pic below, they use their own homemade blend which is cut into larger chunks. Very similar to Parthenon here in Chicago the meat was excellent, the pork souvlaki was also very tasty and well charred but a little on the dry side (sorry didn't get a good pic of the plate). Went with the rice with red sauce atop it instead of the fries and that was the right call, just regular frozen fries and no lip smacking sauce on top of them like that at Athenian Room either. With Comerica Park and Ford Field not far away, this is a nice place for dinner with the group before or after a game.

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    Getting Greek with it for dinner

    After a big dinner we went out on the (Greek) town. The first stop was an Irish pub rec'd by the server at the Greek joint who said there would be people there with the Tigers playing down the block. We stopped in but they didn't have any seats and drinks were served in plastic cups (game night thing). We hopped around after that stopping in at Cheli's Chilli or whatever you call it. Typical Wrigleyville atmosphere with the Tigers doing well this summer. Nothing great but they were the only place around to serve Vernor's and not just generic ginger ale, so I got my Pure Michigan summertime fix of Vernor's and Vodka while in there. Another cool little spot in the area is La Casa De La Habana, a cigar shop/martini lounge. I don't know if it qualifies as an "old" place but we stopped in and it felt like old times the Wednesday night we visited. Good live music, well made cocktails and lots of people of all variety's with everyone enjoying their night out that evening.

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    Cigar Lounge near Comerica Park

    After deciding to call it a night/early morning there was only one option...a Coney throwdown at Detroit's famous dueling Coney Island Hot Dog stands. Similar to our Maxwell Street Polish Sausage stands on Union ave, Detroit has two Coney shops right next to each other. The shops are about a 10 minute, 5 block walk from the Greektown casino and it was as safe as could be. The only people that talked to us were the ones who led us in the right direction and told us to enjoy our coneys and visit to Detroit. The people as always were nice as could be, they want visitors there and are happy to have them.

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    Detroit's famous Coney Island Hot Dog Stands

    This was my most sober experience at the famous Detroit Coney shops, meaning I remembered it. What separates Detroit Coney dogs from the rest of these spots around the Midwest is the wiener. While most other places use cheap Oscar Meyer like hot dogs, these guys use Koegel's which is a hometown hot dog company that makes a mean natural casing wiener. These dogs with my (original Chi) style of just mustard, onions, sport peppers and relish would be great and they still are with chili sauce, mustard and raw onions which are the traditional toppings for a hot dog in Detroit. As always with any classic Coney shop, the hot dogs and sauce are on display in the front windows.

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    View from outside the window at Lafayette

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    Coney with everything from Lafayette

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    View from inside the window at American

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    Coney with everything from American

    It's hard to pick a winner. I appreciated the feel and look at Lafayette more but liked the fact American used the perfect amount of sauce, how I like it anyway. Who had the better sauce? That's still TBD. I gotta get one of those cold brick's of sauce from each place and do a scientific test with the corny guy in glasses from 'America's Test Kitchen' to determine who's sauce is better. The next day we only had the morning and what turned into the early afternoon when the RV carrying the Party Trailer wouldn't start up with the heat and all and was stuck in the hotel parking lot. We ended up getting a taxi and checking out three spots I had on my "must get to, no matter what" list for this trip. Some real deal Mo-Town gems. Too many commercial, touristy "where all the visitors visit" places visited last night.

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    The old Cass Tech High School currently being torn down

    All new food spots to me, it worked out very well as they were also within reach of each other. The taxi cab system in the D is odd and well "Shady" but we had great luck. We called for a taxi that morning and they sent us one cool dude. An owner of eight cars he does taxi and chauffeur services and is a born and raised Detroit boy. When he pulled up I thought he was either the police or FBI in his unmarked black sedan. When we told him, he said whenever he visits his cousin in the Chi people here think the same. But he aint popo so we arranged to give him $20 (and I bought him some burgers and tipped) to take us around and take in some of "real" Detroit. If anyone ever wants a reliable honest guy for a driver, PM me, I got his card. He was impressed with where we were headed. First stop is a "good ole place" that I absolutely loved.

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    In Detroit's Hamtramck neighborhood along Six Mile

    Discussed upthread , Marcus Hamburgers is everything I love about these type of places and Detroit City. Located all by itself in a part of town that was once thriving with industrial and manufacturing plants, its one of the few places to survive from another time, when Detroit was booming. There's nothing else around this longtime Detroit "brakefast" spot that once served all the workers in this area from all the long gone plants and warehouses. As soon as we walked in, I felt like I was in the real Detroit city. I say that because as we all know, it has fallen on hard times but the people and many of the business refuse to give up on the city. The folks working at Marcus and the one lonely customer along with our cab driver sat and told stories of the D's past. It was really hot inside so they had fans and the doors open, the A/C was stolen when some people broke in five years ago. The man eating breakfast was a member of a famous Mo-Town band who the taxi driver immediately knew and was shocked that one of its members was still in Detroit let alone next to us eating breakfast.

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    As we enter

    Marcus Hamburgers was started in 1929 by an immigrant from Macedonia. Charles G. Marcus started selling his snacks from a horse-drawn pushcart at the Highland Park Ford factory which eventually lead to 12 restaurants in and around Detroit. The Six Mile location is the original. What makes the burgers unique is the fact they're served on hot dog buns. There's a great article you gotta read HERE about the place and why it's so great. When I read it, I had to get there. Here's video below of how they make the burgers, same way as when Charles Marcus was outside the Ford factory selling them.


    Marcus Burgers being made

    Marcus is still all in the family and now owned by two brothers who worked at the same spot in their youth. When they heard that their aunt and uncle were moving Marcus Burgers to a suburb they bought the original location where we are at today and didn't change a thing. Still fresh ground in house beef, burgers cooked in their own juices and served on hot dog buns and open for lunch and breakfast only. I've been to so many burger places and they are all different but I think Marcus is right there with Pete's in Wisconsin for best old school tasting hamburger. It's all about cooking them in their juice. They arent rare, fully cooked thru but so juicy and full of flavor you truly cant eat just one.

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    a Marcus Burger

    Burgers can come with cheese, toppings are in bowls along the U shaped counter and you top them yourself. I got a couple cheeseburgers and used some raw finely chopped onions and mustard and they were excellent, green relish is also available. I had three while there and got three to go ($2) these are everything White Castle wants to be or maybe once was tastewise. I liked the use of the hot dog bun, worked real well, the cheap bun was all that was needed just like a great minimalist style Chicago dog. Three bites of each and I was done, so you need to order a few. What a great breakfast stop. Read that article. I think the longtime waitress mentioned in it is the lady in the video walking by, she was sweet as could be. We might not be in paradise, but that's a cheeseburger!

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    My cheeseburgers as they arrive, topped proper and ready to chow down

    Wow so as good as Marcus Hamburgers was there was still more to go and it got better as we headed over to Mike's Famous Ham Place. When Rene G posts that this place was the highlight of his trip and that the sandwiches are "works of art" I already know it's the shiznit. I used to think Marshall Mathers was the King of Detroit but Mike is making me have second thoughts about that. As seen in the pics below Mike's switched it up outside from blue to red with a new paint job and all. They're very proud of being named Metro Detroit's "best sandwich".

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    The Rene G rec'd Ham "Heaven" as I call it

    We stopped in and they were about halfway thru with the ham that day. As is mentioned up above Mike and his wife are one hell of a duo. He does the ham, she does the soups and that's about all they offer which is all you need. We ordered a few to go, with the works which included cheese, mustard and fresh deli pickles which work great, much better than sweet ones would. We watched as Mike carved the ham for our sandwiches off the bone giving us taster samples after each slice.


    Ham off the bone from Mike's

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    Take a tasta!

    Amazing little place. Despite the fact it was 100 outside I had to get some soup which I ate later that night, my dad makes a mean split pea but don't tell him Mike's wife's is better, than everyone else out theres too. Just great friendly folks both behind the counter and sitting at it enjoying their ham from heaven. I'll be back in Detroit for some Monday Night Football in October and Mike will be getting a call from me for a couple tubs of soup for tailgating and some ham sandwiches for breakfast. Easy to understand why this was named the best sandwich in a city with so many. Yes it's as good as it looks.

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    Mike's Hamtastic sandwich

    Off to the Eastern Market where we needed to take a quick look around and pick up a few things to throw on the Party Trailer grill for later that night. I love this place. It is truly a pitmasters paradise. Everything you could ever need and then some as far as the good stuff like sausage and every cut of beef or pork you need. Then there's the corned beef selection seen in photos upthread. It was too much for me. We only needed a couple things to grill for dinner so I had to pass on so much this time but I cant wait to get back here and shop for Da Bears vs. Lions Monday Night Football Showdown in October. It's going to be an epic tailgate with whats available at the Eastern Market. We got some beff tenderloin kebabs that were the best ever. Better than any restaurant or grocery stores pre-made kebabs. Stop in the lot at Ford Field and look for the Party Trailer.

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    Andouille from the Market grilled up later that day

    Discussed up above is the talk of Detroit and how it takes it's corned beef seriously. Well I did Greek food in Greektown, ate Coneys in the wee hours of the morning, went to an old school hamburger joint, had a ham sandwich at Mike's and shopped at the Eastern Market so there was only one thing I was missing as far as eating like a local. I needed a corned beef sandwich. I heard good things about Hygrade Deli which was right by Mike's but I passed on that but couldn't pass on Nathans Deli. It was a block down from the gas station we stopped in to fill the bus up before we went to Buffet in da burbs, so I ran down there and got myself a sandwich.

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    Nathan's Deli in downtown Detroit

    I took it as a good sign that there were quite a few cars in the lot and it looked alright from the outside so I went on in and knew what I was getting as soon as the lady ahead of me ordered one. Another popular local eat in Detroit is the Dinty Moore sandwich. Nope it's not canned beef stew on a bun but rather just a triple decker corned beef sandwich with Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, lettuce and tomatoes on toasted rye. I liked the sandwich but wouldn't go back here specifically for another. I would see whats up with one of the many other corned beef spots around town before swearing Dinty's off. Next time I'm going to try Hygrade Deli, our driver said it was his favorite and it looked like classic Detroit from the outside.

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    Nathan's Deli Dinty Moore Sandwich

    We arrived somewhat late at what was my first ever Jimmy Buffet concert experience, I tagged along to eat up Detroit. It was fun but I guess nothing like they normally are. I thought it would be all older white folk but was surprised that it was about 50/50 with people older and younger than 35. Makes sense since I saw so many kids with their parents there, must of always been that way. The kids caught on, lucky Buffy. So they say the party is always in the lot at these Margaritaville concerts and that's where we were staying. I wasn't headed in, sat back, enjoyed some Moscow Mules and grilled while watching weird, drunk people both old enough to be my grandparents and girls too young pass by while watching some Major League Baseball on the Party Trailer. Unfortunately I didn't make it to any of my slider spots I need to get to too complete the round up. As always, I'll be back.

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    Hot Summer Days in Detroit

    Golden Fleece Restaurant
    525 Monroe Street
    Detroit, MI 48226-2932
    (313) 962-7093

    Lafayette Coney Island*
    118 West Lafayette
    Detroit, MI
    (313) 964-8198

    *American Coney Island Next Door

    Marcus Hamburgers
    6349 E McNichols Rd
    Detroit, MI 48212-2023
    (313) 891-6170

    Mike's Famous Ham Place
    3700 Michigan Ave
    Detroit, Michigan 48216
    (313) 894-6922

    Nathan's Deli
    581 East Jefferson Avenue
    Detroit, MI 48226-4324
    (313) 962-3354
  • Post #38 - July 31st, 2011, 4:31 pm
    Post #38 - July 31st, 2011, 4:31 pm Post #38 - July 31st, 2011, 4:31 pm
    great post da beef ,i enjoyed these stops as well.
    was back in detroit on sat. for pig & whiskey event.
    so went back to mikes ham shop. :mrgreen:
    i will be going back for sure
    philw bbq cbj for kcbs &M.I.M. carolina pit masters
  • Post #39 - August 29th, 2011, 12:38 pm
    Post #39 - August 29th, 2011, 12:38 pm Post #39 - August 29th, 2011, 12:38 pm
    Rene G wrote:Detroit—Motor City—is a fascinating place to visit.
    * * *
    Image

    Mike's was a real highlight of the trip, enjoyable in every way.
    Image

    That's Mike with a ham. He and his wife couldn't be nicer people or more welcoming hosts. * * * The sandwiches are works of art. Poppy seed rolls are stuffed with tender but crusty slices. Mike sets aside the nicest outside pieces to decorate the plate. How great is that—a ham sandwich with a ham garnish? Of all the places I've eaten at in all my trips to Detroit, Mike's is probably my favorite. Can't wait to get back.
    * * *
    Mike's Famous Ham Place
    3700 Michigan Av
    Detroit MI
    313-894-6922


    Rene G and PIGMON,
    Thank you. I have a long backlog of follow-ups to confirm recommendations and to thank LTHers for leads that fill my work travels with much better food than what I'd otherwise get at the chains, airline magazine standbys, and trendy concierge-kickbacking downtown spots. Like many here, I relish the otherwise pointless drive to Torrence from LA for a bowl of good ramen and some oden, risk missing a flight looking for whole hog BBQ, or arrive at 3 am instead of midnight to eat hot chicken and fish in Nashville. But I have never had as pleasant a surprise on the road as Mike's Famous Ham Place.

    Everything above is true. An urban jewel box of ham, maintained in spotless, crisp, no-frills condition, on a born-to-lose stretch on the edge of downtown, Corktown proper, a foul ball from the weedy lot where Tigers' Stadium stood. Other than Zaragoza here, I can't really think of a place with this kind of excellent singularity. It's too damn good. The soups are fantastic, but the ham sandwich is a top 5 sandwich, worldwide, in my book. The bread, like a fat bialy, is perfect. The pickles, perfect. The ham is simply the best "city ham" I have ever tasted, cut into irregular shards by a classic city character who has mastered it. And that's it.

    I don't care if you like ham. If you've seen me come and go as a poster, you know I'm not given to hyperbole about these things. I've picked a winner or two over the years and not gotten too excited about it (to the point where a great place perhaps remained obscure a while for no good reason). Here's my final thought on Mike's: anyone on this site who gets anywhere near Detroit and doesn't both eat at Mike's and love it should pack it in, stock up on Lean Cuisine and Hot Pockets, and go to hell.

    I will be nominating Mike's as the first (far) out of town GNR. If it were anywhere else, Mike's would be a Beard America's Classic.
  • Post #40 - August 29th, 2011, 7:36 pm
    Post #40 - August 29th, 2011, 7:36 pm Post #40 - August 29th, 2011, 7:36 pm
    JeffB wrote:I will be nominating Mike's as the first (far) out of town GNR. If it were anywhere else, Mike's would be a Beard America's Classic.

    I have to agree with you, JeffB. Here's a link to the James Beard Foundation regarding the nomination process:

    James Beard Foundation wrote:Anyone can submit a chef or restaurant for consideration during the online open call for entries in the fall. There is no entry fee.

    The Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee produces a ballot with approximately 20 semifinalists in each category. This ballot is distributed online to a voting body of 308 previous James Beard Restaurant & Chef Award winners; 200 to 250 panelists divided evenly among 10 regions (see below); and 17 members of the Restaurant and Chef Award subcommittee. All votes count equally and are tabulated by the independent accounting firm Lutz & Carr.

    The finalists in each category are announced in March. A second ballot is then distributed to the same voting body. Winners are announced during the Awards Ceremony in May.
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #41 - September 1st, 2011, 5:08 am
    Post #41 - September 1st, 2011, 5:08 am Post #41 - September 1st, 2011, 5:08 am
    JeffB wrote: ...But I have never had as pleasant a surprise on the road as Mike's Famous Ham Place.


    You hit the nail right on the head, Jeff.

    Experiencing unrecognized culinary historic landmarks/gems like Mike's Ham Place should be any foodie road tripper's ultimate objective: those rare experiences which bring you to foodie nirvana!

    So glad you saw the beauty in Mike’s.
  • Post #42 - September 5th, 2011, 1:25 pm
    Post #42 - September 5th, 2011, 1:25 pm Post #42 - September 5th, 2011, 1:25 pm
    I would be drive up for a mike s or marcus burger any time who is up for the ride!
    philw bbq cbj for kcbs &M.I.M. carolina pit masters
  • Post #43 - May 31st, 2012, 3:14 pm
    Post #43 - May 31st, 2012, 3:14 pm Post #43 - May 31st, 2012, 3:14 pm
    Detroit is the shiznit. Yes I said it, I cant get enough of it and it's gritty yet mostly friendly atmosphere and to go with that, it's culinary gems. Of which there seems to be an extraordinary never ending amount. I've been doing some things up in Michigan and Detroit has been a stop on my map a few times since my last post in this thread. I spent the weekend up there after Thanksgiving and ate like I was born and raised in the D. First up, not in Detroit but en route from Chicago is Gabriel's Hoagies in Ypsilanti.

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    Ypsilanti, MI

    We checked this place out on the way in and came away very pleased. They first brought "hoagies" here in 1959 and not much has changed. They offer two kinds and most everyone is there for the cheesesteak. The other option offered is a "lunchmeat" special consisting of the usual shady cold cut suspects. The cheesesteak was legit for those who are a fan of them, obviously the locals from around this way are since they've been around a while and have a "this or that" menu. They offer the steaks with peppers if you want, which are San Del brand 'tangy diced hot cherry peppers' which I thought went great with it. I've been back since while on the way into the D.

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    Cheese Steak Hoagie in Michigan

    Riding along, we took Michigan ave all the way into the city which was a nice way to ride since we were able to stop in at a brand new old school slider spot which had just opened. I'm working on a report with 10+ places featured that have been around forever in the white panel buildings they sit in today. Since this place is new I'll share it here but judging by the building I'd say it was a different hamburger place in it's past.

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    Vinnie's Hamburger Stand (Canton, MI)

    Detroit is a burger town, no doubt about it. As mentioned upthread they have a slider culture which is a topic of debate of late on LTH. White Castle isn't from Detroit but if I recall rightly, it's Chicago and Detroit where they have the most outlets of them. I'm shocked WC survives amongst the endless amount of old school spots who do these "sliders". They arent steamed and lean more towards the size of a McDonald's hamburger but they do start out as balls of beef at each place which are then smashed with the onions on top. Vinnie's is a little more upscale than the old time spots and they use a potato bun and cost a little more though not much. I liked my double cheese for what I paid.

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    Double cheeseburger

    After that it was over to Miller's Bar in Dearborn for another burger. Miller's regularly gets mentioned many times when people talk "best burger in America". Already mentioned upthread this place has long been on my radar bc of the Don King like hyped "10 Best..." this and that lists which are impossible to do with things like burgers, especially here in the USA where there's 1000's of worthy ones. But the lists can still be fun to peruse. I dont get offended by them even if they suck. Did anyone see 'Travel & Leisure(s)' list of the best burger cities? Providence #1? Philly #2? Chicago #3? San Juan #5? Portland, Maine rated? Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Madison, WI nor Detroit not even mentioned?!?!?! Whatever. I don't take them too serious.

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    Dearborn, MI (Since 1941)

    Just like the 1st two stops do, Miller's has a simple menu, in which this case, you better like burgers. I think I recall them having a few non burger options ala chicken sandwiches but this is a bar that people come to for burgers. I'm not even sure that too many people drink here regularly except for those who eat a couple burgers a week here and have a few drinks to go with it.

    Rene G wrote:Good meat and lots of it, undistinguished bun and barely any garnishes, not even grilled onions. If you need onion, a couple raw slices will be served on another sheet of waxed paper. Luckily the burger stands on its own. You usually don't see burgers this thick cooked on a griddle but that's the way they've been doing it for 60-some years. Ordered medium rare, it came that way (that's cheese-n-blood oozing out). Probably not everyone's idea of a perfect burger but I liked it just fine.


    What he said. Miller's burger is the exact opposite of the popular 'slider' spots around Detroit. One thing I should point out even though it might make a few people stay away is they use Velveeta for their cheese. I was surprised when I walked in and saw a bunch of boxes of the stuff being put away behind the bar. The burger isn't as photogenic as others we've seen although looking at the picture reminds me of how much I appreciated the overall flavor of it and the fact it was all about the beef. I loved the old school dimly lit bar and the pay as you leave honor system they still use today. A good ole place if I may say.

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    Ground Round with Cheese

    Shockingly I still remember most of the details of my trip and after the burgers it was time to further explore Dearborn and it's Arab-American food/culture. This was my first time visiting Dearborn despite having been to Detroit countless times. I'm a little mad it took until now but I like to look at the good and realize that now theres even further more to explore around this fine but somewhat forgotten city. My buddy wanted to stop in at a spot his sisters boyfriend (from Detroit) rec'd and we decided to do that first.

    Image
    Dearborn, MI

    This place wasn't as huge, though not small, but it felt like a mall. Inside it was clean and packed with a younger crowd of people, very lively on what I now recall was 'Black Friday'. Back in the 80's the New Yasmeen was a tiny Lebanese bakery that put out many people from this areas favorite bread. Today they've moved into this much wider space and offer everything from their original baked breads to sandwiches and sweets. I'm not going to claim to be an expert on this type of food but everything we had we really enjoyed. The sweets seen in the two picture set below were pretty crazy. I bit into one of those little light brown balls later on after the bars not realizing they were filled with some sort of sweet gooey concoction. Weird stuff. I wish I could of further explored the menu but we had other places to hit up.

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    Lebanese eats in Dearborn just outside Detroit

    G Wiv wrote:LTHForum,

    I love Middle Eastern food in Chicago, stuffed grape leaves at Salam, grilled Cornish Hen at Al-Khaymeih and roast chicken at Semiramis, to name a few, but Cedarland in Dearborn, Michigan kicked some serious halal starting with raw Lamb Kibbe....In all deference to Salam's Tuesday special, Cedarlands stuffed grape leaves were the best I've had, infused with rich lamb broth and hint of lemon, but what really separated them from the pack were the grape leaves themselves seemed to have been given a light toast under a broiler which served to amplify flavor....


    Rene G wrote:We settled on Al-Ameer and were very happy with our choice....The menu is extensive (eg, multiple kibbeh choices) but doesn't stray too far from the usual Lebanese favorites. We pretty much ordered common dishes but were impressed with the quality of the ingredients and careful preparation. One example of the attention to detail is their freshly baked bread. The baker was hard at work even at 10pm.....Falafel was another highlight, most certainly cooked to order, with an ultra-crispy shell surrounding almost fluffy interior. Some of the best I've had....Shawarma was the best in recent memory, nicely crisped, with a spicy tang unlike any I've had before....


    Decisions! Decisions? Well those that know me from here know if there's two I don't choose. Neither does whomever I'm with, "we're trying both of them". I don't claim to be an expert but I'm with G Wiv in that I love Middle Eastern food (especially of late and after this trip) and I always look forward to Rene G rec's in Bridgeview/Devon etc... I need to get away from just the falafel and shawarma and further explore different places and their menu options but when I get two rec's from posters who've lead me to the light before and they're for stuffed grape leaves (LOVE) and falafel which I feel I've been deprived from the good stuff, those are both exactly what I'm getting. Add to that both a shish kebab and mixed shawarma (lamb and chicken) sandwich.

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    Thanks for the rec's guys...

    One last time, I'm no expert but will without a doubt agree with these guys in that these were the best grape leaves and falafel that I have had. The sandwiches were fantstic as well with the fresh bread and flavorfull fillings. So far my fear has become somewhat true in that I haven't been able to find anything close to either of these places here in Chicago since my last visit but I cant wait to taste what else Dearborn has in store and further explore what Chicago has to offer. For more info and pictures on these two great LTH found rec's click HERE. On into Detroit City limits we roll.

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    You could spend days exploring the abandoned buildings in some parts

    Rene G wrote: I'd wanted to go to Cadieux Café since my first trip to Detroit but never managed to visit until recently. Cadieux has been a meeting place for Detroit's Belgian population since the 1920s, generations before mussels and Belgian beer became trendy in these parts.


    And I've wanted to go since I first read your post on Cadieux Cafe here in this thread and it's feature on 'No Reservations: Detroit'. I took my first visit there this trip and I've been back a couple times since. I cant get enough. To the point where if things keep going well with business in Michigan, I might just be better off having a place to stay at while I'm there and there's an abandoned house right next door I'm sure I could get for close to nothing.

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    The Parking Lot

    So as you can see from the picture we were here at night, a Friday during the holiday season so it was rocking. It's only right being real so let me say this place isn't located in the greatest neighborhood, but then again, it's not Detroit's worst :twisted: That said unlike Wells Brothers in Racine (WI) there is no popo to escort you from the parking lot into the bar. Michigan does however have the conceal to carry law but I wouldn't recommend bringing your Heat with you to the Cadieux, what fun is it if you cant buzz from the strong Belgian beers and go feather bowling. Plus if you do indeed end up needing to use it, the people your going to be in a shootout with don't play by the rules. So they may have forbidden to citizens type weapons and if you do get shot with a silencer no one is going to hear it in this eerily quiet neighborhood but then again even if they just shoot you with a pistol and people do hear it, it's just another night in the hood for some. All that said the only locals from around this way I've come across were mothers with their little kids enjoying the day. I've been here both day and late into the night and have not a problem to speak of.

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    a different type of high life...

    Everything about this place is classic Detroit and the type of spot you need to seek out around America while they're still around. I can imagine when the neighborhood and the abandoned houses around it were filled with people and the Cafe was rocking. In fact it was rocking the weekend we were there and other times I've been back since. We weren't able to get a into a slot to feather bowl since it still is a very popular place to drink, eat and play the game that is Belgian's original pastime. As mentioned, this is the only home to feather bowling in the United States. I look forward to coming back and learning/playing the game.

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    FYI

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    People getting at it

    The menu has appetizers (Liver Pate to Hot Wings), entrees (Fish n' Chips) and sandwiches (Holland grilled cheese to burgers) and some Belgian specialties too (beer stew, beer braised chicken) but it seems to be all about the mussels. But now that I remember it the burgers and grilled cheeses looked better than your average bar food. But for me it's all about the mussels which I've loved since I was kid and my mom would make them for dinner. They come a few different ways which include original style steamed in white wine with veggies and also steamed in beer and a few other ways. The garlic/white wine combo is a real winner. The orders come loaded with plump really tasty mussels inside the shells. I gotta Belgian mussel fix a month or so back and went to Hopleaf and not only does Cadieux give you more and betetr sized ones its a much better deal. Hopleaf does have much better frites (of which they give way too much) the ones here are frozen fries, if they had the real deal ones, I would think it would be as good as it gets.

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    'Detroit Mussel' (I got a great t-shirt from here with that slogan on it)

    I have better pics when it wasn't night and the bar this dark but love this one because you can see the steam rising from them and also take note of the bar where we were sitting at. You gotta love it as it's filled with old school beer caps by the 100's. Nothing has changed here except the neighborhood it's in which I'll stress one more time IS NOT DANGEROUS. It's just not Bloomfield Hills. You'll be a-ok if you visit and mind your business, I promise. Man would it be cool to have the Cadieux Cafe just a few doors down...

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    ...but theres lots of touch up work to be done

    I'm happy to add another place to this top notch thread, which is one of my favorites on this site. "The Dakota Inn Rathskeller was opened on August 1, 1933 by Karl Kurz, the Grandfather of Karl E. Kurz, the present owner. Seventy years later (now nearing 80), Detroit's only authentic German bar is still going strong" via their website. I don't know that the Dakota Inn is Detroit's only authentic German bar, I went to another one in Greektown that was old and authentic (the drinking part anyway) but this place was what I imagine "authentic" German to be.

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    Since 1933

    The original owner worked at the Ford Highland Park Auto Factory and saved up enough to start his dream of building an old German style Rathskeller in Detroit. It started out as a three stool bar and he built it out from there. Here we are today and you can still see the job he put into his place. I didn't get too many great pics since its dark inside but it was a great place to be. We sat in one of the many dark old wooden booths and enjoyed walking around the large space that's its become today seating up to 150 people. So I was told by the local who brought us here they throw a big old bash in Oktober. I'd like to go.


    One word to describe the holiday season at a German Drinking Hall? Festive

    They serve lunch Wednesday through Friday and dinner is served Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5p until 11. It's a very popular place to eat and drink on Fri. & Sat. nights. We got a variety of things and everything was pretty good and what you'd expect. Honestly I don't think the good German restaurants differ all that greatly but maybe I'm missing out. The potato pancakes, potato salad, Spaetzle, knackwurst, Bavarian brats and pork schnitzel all pleased as did the beer and atmosphere inside this Detroit gem. A good old place indeed.

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    German Loungin'

    Detroit also has quite the Coney culture as mentioned upthread and there's 100's of Coney shops around town including 'George's Famous' which the sign outside said was established in 1917. Located in Southwest Detroit on Michigan avenue theres not much on George's Famous Coney Island on the internet as I check here today.

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    Lets check it out...

    I tried one to compare it to the Big Daddys, Lafayette and American. I ate half and threw the other away. I know coneys can be a mess but this one was beyond that as far as staying clean. On top of that they used some skinless lifeless wiener like tube of meat, as opposed to the golden standard Koegel's brand the two more well known spots use. Stick with whichever one of them you like.

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    Coney from George's Famous Coney Island

    Detroit and some other places around the Midwest have some great spots for corned beef. Not from this particular trip but now is the time to share this anyway I enjoyed my stop at Al's Famous Deli in Royal Oak. It was a random drive by and I decided to stop in and was glad I did. Their most popular selling sandwich consists of one of their famous onion rolls which is toasted with their corned beef Swiss cheese and cole slaw inside. Some might consider that sacrilegious with the cole slaw but it was tasty and he corned beef was good. Next door was an old school custard ice cream stand called 'Custard & Co'. I'll always be a fan of a cherry dipped cone on a nice day.

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    Royal Oak, MI Deli

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    Ice Cream Shop next door

    Rolling back into the Motor City and my trip the wkd after Thanksgiving, we of course had Mike's Famous aka the holy grail of ham sandwiches planned but fate was not our my side this time around as they were closed for the holiday weekend. Hygrade Deli is within feet of Mike's Place and was open so why not?

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    High Grade I'm curin'

    Another old school Detroit gem this place has been around almost 60 years from when it first started at the cities old market, the Western Market, which stretched across a piece of land where I-75 now sits. It was named after the anchor food operation there, Hygrade Food Products Corp. It moved to where it sits today in the 60's and they used to get plenty of traffic from downtown. Nowadays it along with Mike's are about all that remains. The staff you could tell was like one big family with one of the waitress' adorable daughter running around. The food was homey and what we expected, better than the mid grades aka "Middies" from early high school you were used to. Corned beef is their biggest seller and I enjoyed my Reuben which was cooked crisp and thought their pancakes were as terrific a batch as I've had in a while, granted I'm not a big breakfast guy.

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    Stack of Pancakes, who's got the ganja butter? It's legal with a card in these parts...

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    Reuben Sandwich

    On the day we rode out we decided to head over to the Eastern Market for some breakfast eats. It was Sunday morning so the market itself and most everything there was closed with the exception of Louie's Ham and Corned Beef which is a popular breakfast stop around the market.

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    Located in the Eastern Market

    Louie's was pretty packed this Sunday morning which was a good sign and the fact they mention both ham and corned beef in their name is another. I'm not a big breakfast guy but I love some good ham off the bone and real deal homemade corned beef hash. The menu has quite a few options with both the ham and the corned beef in them. From omelets to sandwiches and so on there were alot of options but I stayed true to the game and went with the ham hash with eggs and a side of their corned beef hash. My buddy got a corned beef sandwich, a favorite food of his, he said it was ok nothing like Jake's in Milwaukee which I took him to and he loves. The ham and corned beef hashes were different with the potatoes being larger sliced hunks in the ham hash. I liked both but enjoyed the CBH a little more because of the overall texture with smaller cut potatoes.

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    Louie's Ham Hash and Eggs

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    Corned Beef Sandwich and Corned Beef Hash

    It was on the way to the Market around maybe 9a that I experienced my most "Detroit from an outsiders view" moment since I've first been. We were riding around the neighborhood which I guess these days can be rough. There's vacant homefronts with nothing there anymore. The few homes that remain are scattered throughout weeds and concrete bulges in the cement. Out of nowhere a zombie like lady popped up and approached my window. I don't think she even knew we were there as she just walked by, as high as the clouds in the sky. We rode on and then another lady in an old school Cadillac drove up to us rolled her window down and asked if we were ok. Yeah we said having no idea what she was talking about. A few minutes later we passed an abandoned house blazing on fire. We actually were the ones who reported it to 911 since there was another house not far from this that was still being lived in with pit bulls barking from its yard. It was pretty crazy/weird and I remember hearing an old Eminem song from the '8 Mile' soundtrack playing in my head. It fit well for this moment.

    ♫♪You gotta live it to feel it, if you didn't you wouldn't get it
    "I dont see what the big deal is, what? he thinks that he's skilled?
    just cause he walks walkin borderlines of Detroit city limits?"
    But it's different, it's a certain significance, a certificate
    of authenticity, you've probably never even been
    But it's everything to me, it's my credibility...♫♪

    I know Detroit is taking small steps up and more younger grungier people aka hipsters are moving there and taking advantages of cheap land to do what they love be it music, art, food, gardening and so on. I hope the city can recover but I don't want to see it turn into Phoenix or Orlando with strip malls galore or a "new Detroit" that no longer has what Detroit once did with all of its beautiful old buildings, landscapes, Made in America jobs and plenty of culture to go with it. It's not Los Angeles nor Miami (not much glitz nor glamor) and isn't the first place that pops into mind when thinking about a place to take the family for a weekend getaway but that's why it can be such an interesting place to visit.

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    I don't go around fire expecting not to sweat...

    Gabriel's Hoagies
    2585 East Michigan Avenue
    Ypsilanti, MI 48198
    (734) 483-5846

    Vinnie's Hamburger Stand
    47417 Michigan Avenue
    Canton, MI 48188
    (734) 961-9000

    Miller's Bar
    23700 Michigan Avenue
    Dearborn, MI 48124
    (313) 565-2577

    New Yasmeen Bakery
    13900 West Warren Avenue
    Dearborn, MI 48126
    (313) 582-6035

    Al-Ameer Restaurant
    12710 West Warren Avenue
    Dearborn, MI 48126
    (313) 582-8185

    Cedarland Restaurant
    13007 West Warren Avenue
    Dearborn, MI 48126
    (313) 582-4849

    Cadieux Cafe
    4300 Cadieux Road
    Detroit, MI 48224
    (313) 882-8560

    Dakota Inn
    17324 John R Street
    Detroit, MI 48203
    (313) 867-9722

    George's Famous Coney Island
    6362 Michigan Avenue
    Detroit, MI 48210
    (313) 894-0245

    Al's Famous Deli
    32906 Woodward Avenue
    Royal Oak, MI 48073
    (248) 549-3663

    Custard & Co Inc
    32922 Woodward Avenue
    Royal Oak, MI 48073
    (248) 549-2777

    Hygrade Deli
    3640 Michigan Avenue
    Detroit, MI 48216
    (313) 894-6620

    Louie's Ham and Corned Beef
    3570 Riopelle Street
    Detroit, MI 48207
    (313) 831-1800
  • Post #44 - May 31st, 2012, 5:36 pm
    Post #44 - May 31st, 2012, 5:36 pm Post #44 - May 31st, 2012, 5:36 pm
    Another great post for the record books... The fact you are not 300 lbs amazes me. Been wanting to get to Detroit and now for sure. Thanks for the post...

    Danny
    Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?...........Louis Armstrong
  • Post #45 - June 1st, 2012, 10:51 am
    Post #45 - June 1st, 2012, 10:51 am Post #45 - June 1st, 2012, 10:51 am
    jhawk1 wrote:Another great post for the record books... The fact you are not 300 lbs amazes me. Been wanting to get to Detroit and now for sure. Thanks for the post...

    Danny


    Glad that this thread might get you there. As that is the entire point of posting the locally owned mom and pop type places found on the roads throughout this great country of ours. If your not sharing them bc you got beef with people here or elsewhere, you're missing the point. That being spreading the word about the places that dont have PR departments and money to spend on the looks of the place and all that. I leave the fancy spots with chefs people worship and all the disagreeing about why its legit or isnt to TOC, Chicago Magazine, Twitter, other threads on here etc... Not to say those places arent good. I just understand different people like different things.

    You need to get here for a weekend, if for anything to say you've been and cross it out on the map of "places I've visited", even so I know you'll like it. Let me know, gonna need a few folks to get a game of feather bowling going and hey, you do see me at Lakeshore almost every day 8) But give me a few years and I just may be pushing 300+.
  • Post #46 - June 1st, 2012, 11:07 am
    Post #46 - June 1st, 2012, 11:07 am Post #46 - June 1st, 2012, 11:07 am
    jhawk1 wrote:Another great post for the record books... The fact you are not 300 lbs amazes me. Been wanting to get to Detroit and now for sure. Thanks for the post...

    In total agreement. Thanks, for the awesome cache of valuable information. This is extremely useful and very much appreciated. The folks in Ann Arbor boast about their food scene -- and it is a good one -- but based in this thread, I'd say Detroit is more my speed. Your posts have certainly moved it up on my destination list.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #47 - June 1st, 2012, 11:14 am
    Post #47 - June 1st, 2012, 11:14 am Post #47 - June 1st, 2012, 11:14 am
    Thanks for putting pen to paper for all of this. I don't think I've ever posted much on my various trips to Detroit, but I feel like most of them, except maybe the Eastern Market BBQ stand is in your posts. New Yaseem Bakery is probably my favorite of the Dearborn places, and we've always totally over-ordered. I love their way with greens and onions, and am forever trying to duplicate that one at home.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #48 - May 7th, 2013, 7:01 am
    Post #48 - May 7th, 2013, 7:01 am Post #48 - May 7th, 2013, 7:01 am
    Detroit continues to impress and amaze. With Dearborn's great Middle Eastern restaurants and markets, it's one of the heartland's top food destinations. It’s a shame more people don't take advantage of it. Here's a rundown of a recent visit, most of it spent in Dearborn (to be covered in a separate post). This report covers an afternoon in Detroit.

    In the old Poletown neighborhood, roughly between the Eastern Market and Hamtramck, sits the Polish Yacht Club, one of the few inhabited buildings for blocks around. The neighborhood is bleak indeed, even by Detroit standards. Stepping into the warm cheerful bar room is a bit of a shock after driving through block after block of urban devastation.

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    The Polish Yacht Club, also known as Ivanhoe Café, is remarkable for many reasons. Still family-run after more than 100 years, they attract a substantial crowd of loyal lunchers. I arrived expecting to find a business on its last legs but left hopeful for its future. It's heartwarming to see these old places doing well. One could lose track of time wandering through the several rooms studying the artifacts and curios hanging everywhere. The main dining room has plenty to look at.

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    Note the circular painting of a kielbasa under sail, flying the PYC pennant. Food was quite good, though somewhat uneven. Meals begin with a relish tray of dill pickles and peperoncini plus a large bowl of cole slaw. The slaw, with its restrained creamy dressing and fresh crunch, was very much to my taste. We chose a Polish sampler plate (that's only a small portion of it) and a kielbasa reuben sandwich.

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    Potato pancakes were excellent, with a bit of chunky texture in an ultra-crispy shell. Boldly seasoned and fine textured kielbasa was expertly fried to a crisp crust. Pierogi, tasting like something out of the supermarket freezer case, were the only real miss. Avoid these.

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    Making a reuben from Polish sausage is a great idea (though I don't think PYC uses real butter to fry it). I don't know why these aren't more popular. I'd consider the Polish Yacht Club an essential Detroit stop, if only for a quick drink at the bar. Great place.

    Detroit has a surprising number of old bars, many over 100 years old. I especially wanted to visit Kovac's for its beautiful interior, almost unchanged since it opened around 1890.

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    Unfortunately Kovac's has been closed for a while, though a few peeks through the blinds suggested the interior is mostly intact. Instead we spent a pleasant hour at Abick's, still family run after a century.

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    Unfortunately and unexpectedly that was all we had time for because we spent too much time in Dearborn that evening and the next day. So many old bars left to see; hope they'll all still be around for my next visit.

    We made a quick stop at Marcus for their unique sausage-shaped hamburger and a bowl of chili.

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    I thought Pigmon would like the chili with its jiggly haleem-like texture but he took only one spoonful and fell silent. I enjoyed the burger but am pretty sure it had been cooked well in advance.

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    We followed Marcus with a stop at Hygrade Deli for a corned beef sandwich.

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    Hygrade sits across the street from Mike's Famous Ham Place, making the corner of Michigan & Roosevelt one of the prime sandwich destinations in the United States.

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    Hygrade looks like a deli, it smells like a deli. Their sandwich of machine-sliced Sy Ginsberg corned beef is nothing fancy but it tastes great. The pickle, made by Topor Pickle Co, tastes great too. Both the corned beef and the pickles are made within a mile of Hygrade so we set off to see if either United Meat or Topor Pickle have a factory store.

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    United Meat produces Sy Ginsberg corned beef but they have no factory store. Topor Pickle Co was a little harder to find.

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    Topor keeps a low profile (it's the red brick building). They have no factory store but their naturally fermented pickles can be found in the refrigerated section of some local supermarkets. I wanted to find their pickled peppers but was unsuccessful.

    At that point we needed some coffee so decided to check out the relatively new Astro, on a nicely preserved block that includes Slow's Barbecue (just off the left of the photo). Good coffee, pleasant place.

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    It wouldn't be a Detroit post without a couple coneys, now would it? We made an unplanned stop at both American and Lafayette for back-to-back coneys.

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    Same result for the third time: American (left) squeaks out a win for taste, but Lafayette wins by a landslide for atmosphere. Not so smart eating a couple coneys after Polish Yacht Club, after Marcus, after Hygrade and before a large Lebanese dinner at Al-Ajami in Dearborn.

    On the way out of town we grabbed a couple ham sandwiches to go. Wanted to try Johnny's Ham King but there wasn't time.

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    Even though we couldn't visit the King we went to the Palace.

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    A&L's not bad, not bad at all. We also got a sandwich from Mike's Famous Ham Place.

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    There's really no question who's the real ham king of Detroit.


    Polish Yacht Club (Ivanhoe Café)
    5249 Joseph Campau St
    Detroit MI
    313-925-5335

    Abick's
    3500 Gilbert St
    Detroit MI
    313-894-9329

    Kovac's (closed)
    6986 W Jefferson Av
    Detroit MI

    Hygrade Deli
    3640 Michigan Av
    Detroit MI
    313-894-6620

    United Meat & Deli (Sy Ginsberg)
    3273 Hubbard St
    Detroit MI
    313-894-6300

    Topor's Pickle
    2800 Standish St
    Detroit MI
    313-237-0288.

    Astro Coffee
    2124 Michigan Av
    Detroit MI
    313-638-2989

    Johnny's Ham King
    2601 W Fort St
    Detroit MI
    313-961-2202

    A&L Ham Palace
    9405 W Fort St
    Detroit MI
    313-841-1309

    Mike's Famous Ham Place
    3700 Michigan Av
    Detroit MI
    313-894-6922
  • Post #49 - May 7th, 2013, 8:11 am
    Post #49 - May 7th, 2013, 8:11 am Post #49 - May 7th, 2013, 8:11 am
    Rene G wrote:Detroit continues to impress and amaze.

    We followed Marcus with a stop at Hygrade Deli for a corned beef sandwich.

    Hygrade looks like a deli, it smells like a deli. Their sandwich of machine-sliced Sy Ginsberg corned beef is nothing fancy but it tastes great. The pickle, made by Topor Pickle Co, tastes great too. Both the corned beef and the pickles are made within a mile of Hygrade so we set off to see if either United Meat or Topor Pickle have a factory store.
    United Meat produces Sy Ginsberg corned beef but they have no factory store. Topor Pickle Co was a little harder to find.

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    Topor keeps a low profile (it's the red brick building).


    Although not at the absolute highest levels of a corned beefdom, Hygrade's effort coupled with the accompanied Topor full sour pickle made for a solid nosh certainly worth seeking out. For my father, a highly finnicky, old-school full sour pickle maven reared on "The Great Vest Side,", the Topor pickle came pretty damn close to his utopian and highly elusive ideal sans its fairly extreme saltiness.

    Rene G wrote:Instead we spent a pleasant hour at Abick's, still family run after a century.

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    Our stop at Abick's was one for the ages. The only other people in the bar were two young ladies who started telling us about their recent visit to Chicago and an encounter with a great Southside culinary oddity known as the mother-in-law. Of course, I just couldn't help myself and had to tell them about Peter and how he'd introduced the MIL to Anthony Bourdain for his show "No Reservations" at which point one of them retorted how the friend seated next to her had also shown Bourdain The Cadieux Cafe while he was shooting an episode in Detroit! I met Detroit's version of ReneG! Bookends.

    Mike's Ham is one of my favorite places anywhere...just on vibe alone. Very enjoyable ham sammy too.
  • Post #50 - May 7th, 2013, 9:30 am
    Post #50 - May 7th, 2013, 9:30 am Post #50 - May 7th, 2013, 9:30 am
    Another outstanding trip for you two, Rene G ad PIGMON! I am unlikely to revisit Detroit any time soon, but I feel like I have been there after reading you posts. Special thanks for the vibrant photos. One expects Detroit to be dingy, but it is nothing if not colorful. I can't wait to read more about Dearborn.
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #51 - July 29th, 2013, 8:36 am
    Post #51 - July 29th, 2013, 8:36 am Post #51 - July 29th, 2013, 8:36 am
    Used to spend a few weeks of my childhood summers in the suburbs of Detroit each year. Got to see alot of Tigers games and just hang out with the cousins. Hadn't been back to Detroit since I saw the Grateful Dead there - Spring Tour 1992.

    Found the opportunity to get back to Detroit recently and had a blast. Great town.

    The coney, never had one til' this trip to Detroit. Gotta say I love em'. Even one that used a subpar hotdog worked. No shit, there is a Coney Spot on every corner in Detrpit proper, not exaggerating, every corner.

    Subpar hotdog not the case @ Hamtramck Coney Island, right on the main drag - Joseph Campau. DIner setting, grill up front with large windows for folks to watch. Told this is how it is supposed to be.

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    Quality grilled dog, nice coney sauce, etc. Just works for me, and I cant get enough of em':

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    Hamtramck Coney Island
    9741 Joseph Campau St.
    Hamtramck, MI.

    Had a great time at what is billed as the "oldest continously operating bar" in Detroit's. Stone House Bar. Located a little north of Detroit and Hamtramck. Interesting neighborhood, this bar was a lone refuge. Spot started as a farmhouse then became the "clubhouse" of Detroits Purple Gang during prohibition. Now I guess Id call it a biker bar. Friendly staff and owner who seemed to enjoy some new faces in their bar. Owner plied us with shots of some Polish white lightning before he let us go on our way.

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    Stone House Bar
    19803 Ralston St.
    Highland Park, IL.

    http://thestonehousebar.tripod.com/
  • Post #52 - August 5th, 2013, 7:51 am
    Post #52 - August 5th, 2013, 7:51 am Post #52 - August 5th, 2013, 7:51 am
    Did Detroit with 1 hand tied behind my back this trip, had shay and vangie along which wasnt the issue, but had my mom with and she can be difficult - fun trip, but I was always hungry & Alot of the hours in town chewed up at the White Sox/Tigers game and a picnic but Imanaged to push on through & hit a few spots on this quick trip.

    Saturday night we had a reservation at Roast - the michael Symon spot in town. Wasnt sure how it was going to be but came away happy. Had a few sazeracs and we shared a few dishes - like I said hands kind of held back from my usual way of ordering.

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    We shared and heiloom tomato and avocado salad that was really good, also shared the brussel sprouts and walnuts dish, other than the steak this might have been my favorite thing of the night. - lots going on, acid, garlic, excellent.

    for an entree I did the house aged NY strip - served with a marrow bone - nice touch. Dry aged, a really tasty steak.

    Roast
    1128 Washington Blvd.
    Detroit, MI.

    http://www.roastdetroit.com/

    Nice area around Comerica, especially the old theatres right across Woodward from the park:

    The boys are coming here in Sept 9/24., Im already doing Milwaukee, perhaps Detroit as well..:

    The Fillmore -

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    Fox Theatre:
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    After the game I was ready to eat, headed down the street to Lafayette Coney Island, Kind of getting hooked on the coney dog, sadly only had this one on this trip in, but it was a good one.-

    yep, 1 please:
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    money(lafayette coney):

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    Figured I wasnt done yet, Cadieux Cafe, went last week, ended up going in twice on this trip, Even got to play, im thinking feather bowling is probably the greatest bar sport of all time:

    Open til 2 a.m. on Sat:
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    Had a great time on Sat night, took the Shay and Vangie back on Sun. before jetting west. Decent fish and chips.

    Had one last stop I needed to squeeze in, last week I had a cheesesteak hoagie from a spot in Livonia, MI. - Lefty's, This version of a cheesesteak really brought me back to the days when I was slinging a similar version. Leftys had the perfect cheese to onion to meat ratio and the "right" bread, what cinched it was the chopped cherry peppers on top. These are key and are what I was missing from other cheesesteak spots.

    Flashback, last week - Lefty's - Livonia, MI.

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    one of the finest cheesesteaks I have had:

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    Lefty's Famous Cheesesteak Hoagies
    29407 6 Mile
    Livonia, MI.

    http://www.leftyscheesesteak.com/

    Yesterday, Leftys is closed Sundays, but up for trying a new spot., - knew Beef had been to Gabriel's Cheesesteak Hoagies in Ypsilaniti and liked it, all the rec. I need.

    Old school - the only school my friends:

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    another really good version, not quite up to Lefty's on a one visit comparison, but if either of these spots were in my town, or the next town over Id be happy.:

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    Gonna be back soon, the 5 hour drive isnt that bad.
  • Post #53 - August 12th, 2013, 10:42 am
    Post #53 - August 12th, 2013, 10:42 am Post #53 - August 12th, 2013, 10:42 am
    Detroit might be bankrupt but the good old timers aren't going anywhere. I'm here whats about once maybe twice a month these days for biz and continue to find gems worth the ride. Mike and his ham are pretty much the first place I'll recommend when pointing out where one should go but that was before I finally got to try Scotty Simpson's Fish & Chips.

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    Since 1950

    It's not surprising to find a chippy of this caliber in the Motor City considering it's right across the river from Ontario, Canada where every town has one. They know their Fish and Chips across the border 'eh! But you don't have to cross the Ambassador bridge to get the good stuff. Scotty Simpsons has been a neighborhood staple since 1950. The current owner started cooking there in 1960 and can still be found greeting his customers as they enter.

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    Standing in line

    Like pretty much every other old time place in this thread Scotty's is bare bones. You can feel the grease on the walls which only adds to the charm as you wait in line watching the action happen. Chippy's should have few things on their menu, its all centered around fried fish. Lots have just that and fries which if you want to be considered good must come freshly cut. Scotty's actually has a large menu for a shack with perch and smelt joining frog legs, chicken, shrimp, and their specialty fish and chips. Perfection is found here my friends. Scotty Simpsons is a vintage Bristol parked inside the Ford Motor Company lot.

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    Sensational Fish n' Chips

    The once famous Chin Tiki was opened up in 1967 in downtown Detroit and had a nice little run until it's closing in 1980. If you were someone when visiting Detroit during it's prime you went there. A favorite of Muhammad Ali and Joe DiMaggio it was the 2nd operation of Marvin Chin who ran Chin's Chop Suey since it's opening in 1955 until it's closing in the middle 80's.

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    RIP (Pic borrowed from Water Winter Wonderland)

    The tiki bar has been abandoned since it closed with the exception of a brief stint as a set in the movie '8 Mile' with Eminem. "♫I got an Oscar but I'm still a grouch, I use it as a door stop and a prop for the broken leg for the couch ♫". While pictures of the place taken by urban explorers reveal many of the stuff inside was left behind, alot of it also went to Chin's Chop Suey in Livonia which was opened by Marvin's son. I guess some also went to the production crew of the movie without the owners consent.

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    Locals Favorite in Livonia, MI

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    a peak inside

    We've had some discussion about the American Chinese regional favorite called many things including crispy almond chicken and war sue gai the latter of which the spellings can vary. The exact origin of War Sue Gai is kind of murky but it's birth almost certainly traces back to Detroit or maybe Columbus, Ohio. It's a hugely popular dish in both these places. At Chin's they list both almond chicken and also "War Shue Gai" on their menu. You can see the difference in the listed two in the picture I took below.

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    Chicken Offerings

    Egg rolls to start were awful. Literally fried wonton stuffed to the brim with bean sprouts they weren't worth eating after one bite was taken. I dated a girl in college from Columbus who's parents owned a Chinese restaurant and her families almond chicken recipe was always welcomed by me and my roommates. But Chin's takes the dish to another level with the addition of veggies and pork. I probably liked this alot more than I should have as I've had urges for it ever since. The chicken was batter fried to perfection and the sauce wasn't all that gloppy and actually had some pretty good flavor. The plate could easily feed three so I was left with leftovers which were later left at a bar somewhere. Too bad because I wanted some later that night.

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    War Shue Gui aka War Sue Gai

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    a look in the light

    jimswside wrote: Had a great time at what is billed as the "oldest continously operating bar" in Detroit's. Stone House Bar. Located a little north of Detroit and Hamtramck. Interesting neighborhood, this bar was a lone refuge. Spot started as a farmhouse then became the "clubhouse" of Detroits Purple Gang during prohibition. Now I guess Id call it a biker bar. Friendly staff and owner who seemed to enjoy some new faces in their bar. Owner plied us with shots of some Polish white lightning before he let us go on our way.


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    Since the 1940's in Highland Park, MI

    You aren't going to share the story about the Afghanistan vet and crack pushing kids? If anyone wants to hear what was an experience that can only be described as Sons of Anarchy meets The Wire you'll have to go have a chat with the ex-cop owner who's a super friendly dude. Much nicer than the bars adopted cat who keeps all the critters at bay and has been known to show up on the porch with dead crows and other fun kills. Fair warning on any free shot offered, that shit is STRONG. When I took down the first one I was expecting vodka and instead got some 190+ proof Polish stuff that had the effect of rocket fuel. It took all the concentration in the world to make sure that war sue gai didnt end up on the floor with me out flying out the door like past men who tried to take the Purple Gang. These days its a bikers bar. Be not afraid my friends, the people here are very welcoming and those outside know to leave anyone and any car parked near there alone. They're just going about their business anyway, you do the same and all will be well. Go in a stranger, leave a friend.

    Rene G wrote: It wouldn't be a Detroit post without a couple coneys, now would it?


    No sir it would not be.

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    Since 1921

    Duly's Place is virtually the same today as it was when they first opened. As Jim and others have mentioned, you cant go thru this city without seeing a Coney shop on each and every block. I think Duly's is the prime example of atmosphere at these places. A lunch counter where people come to at all hours of the day to eat. We saw weirdos and teenage girls alongside drunks and old timers all in there at once.

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    After Midnight Crowd

    Some Coney Dog shop history buffs will tell you that it was the Greek Immigrants who started these stands and then Albanian ones followed, but Duly's proves them wrong. Duly Seit came from Albania and worked at his place until his death in 1963. Coney Shops dont just sell hot dogs. Most offer a nice sized selection of the usual suspects you'd find in a diner. Breakfast is big as are burgers, sandwiches etc... The chili cheese fries come with lots of fanfare here but being my first trip I had to go Coney. Great sauce, awful dog. Just like with the Vienna beef options here, if you dont use the natural casing Koegel wiener there, it's not a worthy option.

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    Coney Everything at Duly's Place

    As jimswside has doc'd and mentioned Hamtramack Coney Island is a worthy stop for one. It too had the atmosphere down pat. I feel like most anyone working at any of the Coney Shops I've been too has been there since their youth and wont be gone until their time to leave earth comes. It's a lifetime job. A couple of old timers at the grill with a old regular sitting down and a younger guy taking orders. Friendly folks who know that the only way to go is the natural casing Koegel wiener made specifically for Coney style hot dogs.

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    Coney Everything at Hamtramack Coney Island

    Not far down the block from here is Srodek's Polish and European Delicatessen. The neighborhood had a heavy amount of Polish Settlers come, some of which are still around including these guys and their old time customers who were inside speaking in native tongue with them on our visit. If its an Eastern European favorite, they probably have it here. Everything looked good. The house made pierogi stuffed with farmers cheese and bacon and peach apricot kolaczki I took back home with me were great. Plenty more to come to this top notch thread. Let me know when the book is being released!

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    Since 1981

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    a peak inside

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    Meats in display case

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    Smoked Sausage Case

    Scotty Simpsons Fish & Chips
    22200 Fenkell St
    Detroit, MI 48223
    (313) 533-0950

    Chin's Chop Suey
    28205 Plymouth Rd
    Livonia, MI 48150
    (734) 421-1627

    Stonehouse Bar
    19803 Ralston St
    Highland Park, MI 48203
    (313) 891-3333

    Duly's Place
    5458 W Vernor Hwy
    Detroit, MI 48209
    (313) 554-3076

    Hamtramck Coney Island
    9741 Joseph Campau Ave
    Hamtramck, MI 48212
    (313) 873-4569

    Srodek Deli
    9601 Joseph Campau Ave
    Hamtramck, MI 48212
    (313) 871-8080
  • Post #54 - August 12th, 2013, 10:59 am
    Post #54 - August 12th, 2013, 10:59 am Post #54 - August 12th, 2013, 10:59 am
    Scotty Simpson's is some of the best fish and chips I have had. Screwed up and didnt get back there last weekend.

    A couple pics ill add:

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    top notch fish:

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  • Post #55 - December 2nd, 2013, 3:22 pm
    Post #55 - December 2nd, 2013, 3:22 pm Post #55 - December 2nd, 2013, 3:22 pm
    -Detroit Slider City

    The stories and pictures of Detroit that those outside of there see remain ones of abandoned buildings, corruption and bankruptcy. However those that have followed this thread know that those stories are only half of it. The other is the places and people that remain. The spots you've seen shared up-thread and those here today. We know about the Motor City's deep affection for Coney Dogs but there's another love and it's as much about the buildings as the food. In a city where architecture is strong, the slider shops stand out. Beautiful white enamel diner style buildings sitting in the same place, most for over 50 years, nothing except maybe the prices have changed. "Sliders" are what the locals call the burgers that these spots put out, many do so 24 hours a day. Not as small as a White Castle slider nor steamed these are more like your typical 1930's style smashed burger with grilled onions, the type you used to find everywhere. This is actually a couple years worth of round-ups but I'm confident in saying not much if anything has changed at these places. There's a reason they've survived. For many they bring back memories of better times.
    ______________________________________________

    Sonny's

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    City Limits

    I cant figure out when Sonny's got it's start but there are two locations and this one is within city limits on Schoolcraft road. In an area where not much else remains, this beautiful building still stands and the local folks still flood the place. Great atmosphere inside here, as good as any I stopped in at. I didn't get a snap of their longtime grill but it sits right behind the counter by the register and must be 5x5 feet at max. I witnessed a funny exchange between a mother and her child who was impatient with the wait. "I'm gonna eat your sliders" if you don't start behaving. She hushed up real quick. I'm usually a no ketchup on my burger guy but sometimes forget to mention it as I did here but I actually kind of liked the hint of sweet on these. I could see myself eating them at later hours, they're open 24/7. I walked out with a t-shirt that cost me a buck less than my six pack of cheeseburgers ($6).

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    Cheeseburgers from Sonny's
    ______________________________________________

    The Telway

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    City Limits

    This classic grease pit has been around since 1944. They have another location in Madison Heights. It's an all night diner and the coffee and cheap mini burgers are their most popular items. An article from The Metro Times circa 2002 says the building itself has been around for 78 years which would mean it's pushing 90 these days but that seems a little old for this style. There's only about eight seats inside but most of the business comes from the take out window on the other side of the entrance.

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    To-Go Window

    All these spots featured offer bags of burgers which must of been the preferred way of ordering them back when lunch time hit at the factories. These days it's still a popular spot and two guesses for why would be it's still a place where one can fill up with just a few bucks and there must be quite a few who grew up on them. Because they weren't my favorite. Mushy is the best way to describe them. Not inedible but definitely different. I guess I could see enjoying them if they brought back pleasant memories of better days in Detroit.

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    Telway Cheeseburgers
    ______________________________________________

    Motz's Burgers

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    City Limits

    Over by the river in Southwest Detroit is one of the cities longest tenured burger makers. Motz's Burgers has been around since 1929 and with the exception of price they haven't changed a thing. Same customers, same service. Because it'sd been around alot longer this place you'll notice is built with brick. The burgers are bigger than all the rest featured on here. Not large but definitely not small balls (We'll call them medium sized) of beef are smashed on their longtime griddle with the smell of the onions being abundant inside and out. Common trend from all these spots is the use of cheap picnic buns which I don't really mind because the beef shines. Motz's is often mentioned on "best burgers in America" lists and while I've always said those are impossible to limit to a certain number, there's a reason they've been around for over eight decades. Notice the chili dogs print on the sign? Only place I've ever seen them called that in these parts.

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    Cheeseburger from Motz's
    ______________________________________________

    Elmer's Hamburgers

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    City Limits

    You'll find Elmer's off the beaten path sitting deep on the cities west side. Located in an area where there used to be seven steel plants within a couple miles, the only other business still around is a nite-club and I'm sure most everyone from there goes to Elmer's when last call is over. It’s been open 24/7 for the last 50 years. Originally there were two but nowadays just this one. Its run by a couple and their kids who took it over from their grandparents. The one thing that has changed here I read, is the bulletproof glass as robberies got all too common in the 70's. Judging by the "systems" text on the outside I'm guessing Elmer took this place over from one of the many White Castle "system" spawns that came around after it started taking the country by storm. I didn't sample these burgers all one by one within a small time frame but I remember Elmer's as much as any other. Another thing all these spots have in common is grease at the bottom of the brown bag they come in, not to mention the walls at all. Elmer's makes a fresh but certainly not lean hand smashed patty that comes with an extra black pepper kick, grilled onions and pickles. Old school doesn't get much better, both in taste and atmosphere.

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    Elmer's Extra Peppery Cheeseburger
    ______________________________________________

    Campau Tower

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    Hamtramck, MI

    This beautiful structure in downtown Hamtramck was originally a White Tower. That being one of the many cpopycats who tried to claim White Castles crown. They were founded in Milwaukee in 1926 according to Wikipedia. It also mentions that in 1929, White Tower put 30 locations in Detroit alone. So it's possible this structure goes back to then. At their high point White Tower had 230 locations in a handful of states. I learned the last of the White Towers is in Toledo (Ohio) but there's still a handful of buildings up including this one which I believe is still 24 hours. Your odds of having a normal experience at these places aren't as high as your average fast food joint because of this. Of course I had an interesting interaction here. Menu was widespread and I noticed they had "sliders" listed on top of the cheeseburgers which came with a nice heaping helping of rehydrated onions ala WC. Stuffed both under the cheese and at the bottom of the bun. Anyone that appreciates the old school 30's style burger documented HERE by Mike G will appreciate most of these spots, Campau included.

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    Campau Tower Cheeseburger
    ______________________________________________

    The Giant System

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    Dearborn Heights, MI

    Unfortunately this spot has been under renovation on my last two attempts to visit. But you gotta look at the good and at least it's not being torn down. Some stuff on the web seems to trace this spot back to somewhere around 1950. There's not much more on it out there.
    ______________________________________________

    Carter's

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    Lincoln Park, MI

    This beautiful building and the Carter's name have been around for over 50 years. As was the case here you can expect the employees to be long time workers. Also the case for all, whoever lives nearby is a regular. Many of these spots are social gathering places as much as they are eating establishments.

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    a peak inside

    The burger here comes pre-formed but it is a fresh patty used. When they throw them them on the griddle they really sizzle. Something unique I noticed here compared to others was that they toast the bottom part of the bun. Their menu is large and Thursday is Coney day (.99) and all their soups, chili and cakes are homemade.

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    Cheeseburger from Carter's
    ______________________________________________

    Hunter House Hamburgers

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    Birmingham, MI

    Hunter House Hamburgers was established in 1952. They've been going strong ever since. You know you're near when the grilled onion smell is in the air. It's probably the most well known resident in Birmingham, a suburb where many of Detroit's best athletes live. You can still catch some top notch car shows and eat their famous "sliders" inside their beautiful porcelain diner.

    Image
    a peak inside

    Meat is coming from the same local butcher as the current owners parents used back when they got started. Who knows how many pounds of onions they've smashed into that beef but it must be in the millions because these are some really wonderful burgers in that change nothing type of way. The folks working the grill here were way younger than any of the other spots, it must be a popular high school summertime gig, but they did a great job with the burgers. The thick kosher deli sliced pickles were best of the bunch. The mood here was definitely more jolly than most others.

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    Hunter House Cheeseburgers
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    Bate's Burgers

    Image
    Livonia, MI

    They've been going strong here since 1959. Like Hunter House the inside here was really well kept and every stool was taken during my visit. I found it best to get these burgers from the pick-up window a and eat them al trunko after they steam a little bit in the bag but Bate's had a sign saying that's a no-no. I rebelled. All good these style of burgers go down quick.

    Image
    Sign outside

    I did a handful of these on one swoop and have been back to a few since then, Bate's remains very consistent. It was the overall winner on one roundabout to a few within close proximity of each other. It's almost impossible not to start salivating over some of these spots as the smell in the air is too much to pass up. It'd be hard driving by here everyday and not stopping in for at least a couple every other day.

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    Cheeseburger from Bate's Burgers
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    Greene's Hamburgers

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    Farmington, MI

    The Greene's name has been around since the late 1950's. There were a few around the Detroit area for a while but just this one in Farmington remains. You know the drill by now. Fresh beef with tons of onions smashed into them.

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    Making Sliders

    They probably handled the onions here better than anyone else, I don't know if it's because they load them on or their using a specific type, Spanish seemed to be preferred at most spots, but these were some potent burgers. Locals were sitting at the stools ordering them up like they were beer "I'll take another when you get a chance hun"

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    Greene's Cheeseburger
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    Sonny's
    20001 Schoolcraft Rd
    Detroit, MI 48223
    (313) 535-2278

    Telway Hamburgers
    6820 Michigan Ave
    Detroit, MI 48210
    (313) 843-2146

    Motz's Burgers
    7208 W Fort St
    Detroit, MI 48209
    (313) 843-9186

    Elmer's Hamburgers
    8515 W Chicago
    Detroit, MI 48204
    (313) 933-7766

    Campau Tower
    10337 Joseph Campau Avenue
    Hamtramck, MI 48212
    (313) 873-7330

    Giant System
    21944 Van Born Rd
    Dearborn Heights, MI 48125
    (313) 561-3940

    Carter's Hamburgers
    2908 Fort St
    Lincoln Park, MI 48146
    (313) 928-6222

    Hunter House Hamburgers
    35075 Woodward Ave
    Birmingham, MI 48009
    (248) 646-7121

    Bates Burgers
    33406 5 Mile Rd
    Livonia, MI 48154
    (734) 427-3464

    Greene's Hamburgers
    24155 Orchard Lake Rd
    Farmington, MI 48336
    (248) 474-7980
  • Post #56 - December 2nd, 2013, 3:47 pm
    Post #56 - December 2nd, 2013, 3:47 pm Post #56 - December 2nd, 2013, 3:47 pm
    Great stuff Beef--they all look pretty crave-worthy but, in particular, the Motz burger looks incredible. Those onions...wow!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #57 - December 2nd, 2013, 5:50 pm
    Post #57 - December 2nd, 2013, 5:50 pm Post #57 - December 2nd, 2013, 5:50 pm
    You just made my first trip to Detroit (whenever that is) more anticipated. Thanks again Beef.
  • Post #58 - December 3rd, 2013, 8:01 pm
    Post #58 - December 3rd, 2013, 8:01 pm Post #58 - December 3rd, 2013, 8:01 pm
    I would add, if you wanna try all the slider/greasy burger joints, a trip to Bray's in Westland. Affectionately called donkey butt due to the large statue of a donkey outside the restaurant.
  • Post #59 - December 5th, 2013, 12:41 pm
    Post #59 - December 5th, 2013, 12:41 pm Post #59 - December 5th, 2013, 12:41 pm
    I'm truly impressed. Several years ago I planned a less ambitious Detroit slider tour but Telway, our first destination, stopped us dead in our tracks.

    Da Beef wrote:All these spots featured offer bags of burgers which must of been the preferred way of ordering them back when lunch time hit at the factories. These days it's still a popular spot and two guesses for why would be it's still a place where one can fill up with just a few bucks and there must be quite a few who grew up on them. Because they weren't my favorite. Mushy is the best way to describe them. Not inedible but definitely different. I guess I could see enjoying them if they brought back pleasant memories of better days in Detroit.

    Image
    Telway Cheeseburgers

    I think the bags of burgers—and just about everything else at Detroit's many gleaming white burger palaces—were inspired by White Castle. Their slogan, "Buy 'em by the sack," introduced in the 1920s when take-out food wasn't common, became widely imitated (eg, Steak 'n Shake's Takhomasak).

    Mushy? Sounds like you got lucky. Mushy suggests the presence of moisture. That Telway photo below is from over three years ago and it still brings back unpleasant memories. Did you happen to try Telway's chili?

    Rene G wrote:Image

    I'm pretty sure we got the last of the old batch of burgers. I'm being kind when I say these little guys were disappointing. I'd have to think long and hard to remember a skimpier or less appealing burger. It tasted mainly of cheap bun and stale grease. The chili was much worse—hands down the most disgusting bowl I've ever tried. Unfortunately that slop put an end to our slider explorations. Next time in Detroit I'll try to get back on the horse but it'll be tough to erase that chili from my memory. There have to be better places.

    I have to say, some of those Detroit sliders look pretty good. Time to get back on the horse?
  • Post #60 - December 5th, 2013, 1:24 pm
    Post #60 - December 5th, 2013, 1:24 pm Post #60 - December 5th, 2013, 1:24 pm
    Beef and Rene: You guys have done more for Detroit than Megatron and Cabrera! Keep it up, and let me know if you identify a place on par with Mike's, for any food.

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