Rose’s Fine Food, Detroit. Photo: Jesse David Green

Is Rose’s Fine Food a diner? Let’s look at the facts: The space, on a decidedly not-hip main drag on Detroit’s east side, has been a diner on and off for decades (cousins Lucy Carnaghi and Molly Mitchell leased it, coffee cups and all, last July). The menu, with its bacon and pancakes and fried fish sandwiches, can read like a truck stop’s.

But then there are those “crybabys,” house-baked potato doughnuts glazed with maple and orange zest one day, wild raspberry the next—not to mention that plate of green-onion pancakes with herb-pickle sauce, and that bag of locally milled organic flour used to make the chunky biscuits.

Few diners take the eat local ethos as seriously as Rose’s; fewer still serve a rabbit sandwich on homemade bread. That’s the charm of Rose’s. (And charm is putting it lightly; it’s more like a gravitational pull—one that instantly makes you feel like a regular.) The cousins work to make their restaurant a place that is, as they say, “what real old-school diners were: for all people.” And they’ve succeeded.

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