Detroit is on its way back from the brink and its revival is being led, in part, by the food and wine industry. Don't let the reputation scare you: It's one of the most vibrant, interesting and delicious places I've visited in years. The largest municipal bankruptcy in American history and the flight of half its population haven't been kind. It can look scary, but the city is now stable, clean and much safer.
It's not just big players like Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert who are working to revive downtown; it's also entrepreneurs with less cash who are buying and creating throughout the city limits. Deals for restaurant spaces, often done with the city, can be negotiated in the $20,000-$35,000 range—or sometimes just in exchange for covering back taxes. Even the city's great skyscrapers are up for grabs.
Corktown, the terrific group of coffee shops, restaurants and distillers, rightfully gets most of the press. Here and throughout the city, out-of-the box thinkers are dreaming up wine bars, eateries and breweries. Add access to great ingredients and a palpable sense of good will, and born-again Detroit might just make Copenhagen, Portland and Williamsburg seem staid by comparison.
Katoi: On a forlorn stretch of Michigan Avenue is the chicest and possibly the best Thai restaurant in America.
London Chop House: In the heart of downtown, this Old World steak house competes with the best but ultimately wins by having a truly great wine list at fair prices.
Rose's Fine Food: A symbol of the revival. Is it the best diner in America? Yes. It's also one of the best restaurants. Local fish, farm fresh eggs, Michigan asparagus, strawberries and more.
Selden Standard: A foodie's dream. A great industrial space, a cool 'hood and the food, bar scene and garden are spot on.
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