Food. Ah glorious food, is there anything sweeter in life? Or saltier? Or more umami like? IMPOSSIBLE! Food is my favorite meal of the day. Not only does it nourish our bodies, it delights our pallets and brings friends, family, and loved ones together. Food is a culture. It’s a necessary part of being but over time has become so much more than required nutrition, it has evolved into a way of life and interaction. A way to connect with the people around us. A way to express ourselves through savory, tart goodness.

Food is slowly but surely becoming a defining part of the city. New and old restaurants are bringing outsiders into the Detroit’s limits and allowing them to experience one aspect of the diverse culture. Food is an entry point in any relationship. Where do you take most of your first dates? Probably to a restaurant or bar – because even if it goes bad, at least you got a meal out of it! People connect over food, it brings people together because who doesn’t love food?! The food culture of Detroit is an entry point for people who don’t know the city, to come in and have a first date, if you will.

Due to the burgeoning food empire building in Detroit, there is an overwhelming amount of restaurants. Even for someone who lives in the city, it has been extremely difficult for me to try even the most popular of places. One Friday, during happy hour, some Challenge fellows and I were discussing our favorite places to eat. To even start the conversation, we had to break down the overarching topic of “best food places” into four broad categories, based on vibes. For your benefit, and mine, here is the a list of places recommended by myself and some fellow fellows.

  1. Favorite date night spot or nice dinner out with friends:
    1. My answer: Central Kitchen
    2. Other Answers: Ottava Via, La Rondinella, Gold Cash Gold, El Asador
  2. Favorite dive-bar:
    1. My Answer: Old Miami
    2. Other Answers: Third Street
  3. Favorite lunch spot:
    1. My Answer: Sy Thai
    2. Other Answers: Cass Cafe, Rub, Bucharest
  4. Best place for brunch:
    1. My Answer: Bronx Bar
    2. Other Answers: Northern Lights, La Dolce Vita, Mudgies

This list is by no means comprehensive, but a mere starting point. There are a million and a half restaurants, dive-bars, speakeasies, food trucks, and cafes in Detroit, and I challenge you to try them all! It might take a few years, a large chunk a change, and maybe a few pant sizes, but it will be worth it. It could be the greatest love affair of them all: Food in Detroit.