Eater’s roving national restaurant critic Bill Addison just revealed his top picks for the Midwest’s 38 Essential Restaurants and six southeast Michigan restaurants — Al-Ameer, Kuzzo’s Chicken & Waffles, Cloverleaf, Mabel Gray, Sister Pie, and Zingerman’s Deli — earned spots on the list.
Addison’s latest guide is one of a series of regional 38s released this year and aims to tackle must-try restaurants across the Great Lakes region. Through a lot of eating and some help from 10 local experts Addison has zoomed in on a handful of local establishments that help define dining culture in the Midwest.
So how did he determine which Michigan restaurants are essential? As a critic Addison says he visits roughly 40 American cities every year exploring the local cuisine, but he always savors his visits to Detroit “both for the energy of the emerging dining scene and for the pleasure of long-established restaurants that have continued to thrive.”
Still whittling down a list to a just a few top picks is no easy feat. Ultimately, Addison goes with those special places that continue to draw him back “I return again and again to the Lebanese (and other Middle Eastern) specialties found in Dearborn, and Al Ameer remains the standout. James Rigato keeps rocking it out at Mabel Gray,” he says.
“Lists like these are meant for debate. We don’t put forth a favorite Coney Island hot dog; we choose Cloverleaf for pizza over Buddy’s. But in the slots we did fill, I think readers and diners taste the fundamental greatness to be had in Detroit.”
• The Midwest’s 38 Essential Restaurants [E]
• All Awards Season Coverage [ED]