Detroit is the Motor City but, believe it or not, you don’t need to drive everywhere. Renowned restaurants, farmers markets, and tasting rooms can be found along easily walkable routes. So call a rideshare, grab your bike, or hop on public transit, because you won’t need your car to enjoy a leisurely summer walk in one of these local food hot spots.
For an early morning eye-opener, grab an espresso or pour-over coffee to go from the local roasters at Astro Coffee(2124 Michigan Ave). Take your time to peruse the boutiques of Michigan Avenue or duck off the Avenue onto the shady residential streets to the south. Corktown is the oldest still-standing neighborhood of Detroit, and its Victorian homes and brick pavers evidence this 170-year history.
Finish your walk with a proper brunch at Folk(1701 Trumbull Ave), where you can enjoy an eccentric menu of Australian meat-pies, vegan grain bowls, and local eggs. Then, pop into The Farmer’s Hand next store to stock up on Michigan produce and groceries for your own kitchen.
Alternatively, visit on a Thursday evening to grab dinner at the Pink Flamingo(2746 Vermont St). Chef Meiko Krishok serves her weekly menu in a garden setting where neighbors and out-of-towners mingle around a bonfire.
After a dinner at Pink Flamingo, enjoy the tail end of happy hour at Brooklyn Street Local(1266 Michigan Ave). The breakfast and lunch favorite, open since 2012, has just recently earned its liquor license and is now open evenings.
Corktown is pictured above: The annual Open Streets festival turns part of Corktown into a pedestrian mall, but the neighborhood is a walkable place to find local food and culture all through the summer.
This dense but relaxed part of town is swelling with new businesses along the Van Dyke corridor. After a bike ride around Belle Isle, you can get a boost of energy with some coffee and pie from the much-acclaimed Sister Pie(8066 Kercheval Ave).
Take a moment to walk around the block and ogle Fisheye Farms‘ exceptionally productive micro-farm at 1815 Van Dyke. These independent growers use this urban lot and others across the city to supply vegetables to many of Detroit’s best restaurants.
Dinner options in West Village range from the 100%-plant based Detroit Vegan Soul(8029 Agnes St), to the meatier Marrow Butcher Shop & Restaurant(8044 Kercheval Ave). Marrow’s creative menu features cuts of Michigan-raised meat alongside equally tantalizing vegetarian dishes. The in-house butcher shop allows you to wrap up your favorite cuts and charcuterie to take home with you.
Keep that meat on ice, as you make a final stop at The Villages Bier and Weingarten(1420 Van Dyke St), where locals enjoy the evening shade cast by surrounding buildings all through the hot summer.
Of course, Eastern Market remains the undisputed hub of Detroit’s local food culture. Tuesdays and Saturdays, year-round, the markets hosts hundreds of vendors across five warehouse-like sheds. But beyond the market days, Eastern Market is a pedestrian friendly destination every day of the week.
Start out with lunch at Russell St. Deli(2465 Russell St). The Deli broke Detroiters’ hearts with the news that it would be closing in September, but at present it continues to cook up soups, salads, and sandwiches with local ingredients.
Take a loop around the neighborhood to appreciate the myriad murals and Keep Growing Detroit’s world-class urban farm campus on Orleans St. Check their website to find out if they are open for a volunteer day or an educational demonstration at the time of your visit.
If you’re feeling parched, enjoy a drink at Eastern Market Brewing Company(2515 Riopelle St) or Detroit City Distillery(2462 Riopelle St). The newly opened Detroit Vineyards Tasting Room(1000 Gratiot Ave) is also nearby, where you can sample their array of Michigan wines and mead.
Eastern Market is conveniently connected to the Dequindre Cut, a public park and pedestrian pathway which leads Downtown and to the Riverfront. If you enjoy longer walks, you won’t be disappointed by this beautiful and peaceful route into the heart of the city. You can reward your effort with high-cuisine at The Apparatus Room(inside Detroit Foundation Hotel, 250 W Larned St).
Nick Jones is the Local Food Coordinator for Metro Detroit. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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