So, when I told people I was taking a road trip to Detroit to eat, most of them looked at me like I had three heads.
Yes, Detroit has suffered in recent years and it's downtown population has shrunk from 2.5 million to about 700,000. It's more famous for it's hauntingly beautiful, derelict buildings than it's former, GM fueled, glory but walking around downtown, you can imagine what this place was like in it's hey day. Detroit was the ultimate showpiece of the American Dream and it's downfall was dramatic and swift, weighed down with corruption and a huge economic and social disparity.
All of that may be true but the Detroit of today is experiencing a renaissance of sorts and it's an exciting place to be right now. Young chefs, entrepreneurs , artists and movers and shakers are working their asses off to breath life back into their city so instead of deserting Detroit, they are staying put. After years of an intense pop up restaurant scene, amazing brick and mortar establishments are popping up all over the city and I don't think we visited one place that has been open for longer than a year and a half.
Sure, there are still challenges for the visitor who is used to big city conveniences. Hailing a taxi is little more than a pipe dream but thanks to Uber, which is thriving here, you can still get around. Hotels are well maintained and comfortable and staff is lovely but the customer service you might have come to expect from high end hotels is kind of hit and miss. You need to relax, be patient, plan ahead a bit and go with the flow and I promise you, you will leave with a full belly and a smile on your face, planning your next visit.
I will write about some of the people I met who are working to build this city back up and some of the things that you must experience when you are there, but, for now, here are the restaurants that we checked out in our whirlwind day and a half trip. Take note that I usually just don't talk about the places I don't like but in this case, I did not leave one place off the list because every place we ate in was wonderful.
It's an easy 4-5 hour drive from Toronto (a little closer than Montreal and we think nothing of driving to Montreal for the weekend, right?) and Virgin US now flies in and out. Trust me, if you want to experience a city that is exploding with amazing talent and energy, get off your ass and get to Detroit.
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