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Detroit’s Top Restaurant Standbys of 2017

From burger destinations to smoked brisket bowl slingers, restaurant writers discuss their mainstays around town

Mabel Gray Gallery
Mabel Gray.
Michelle and Chris Gerard

As is tradition at Eater, we closed out 2017 by surveying local food writers and our own staff on various restaurant-related topics, and publishing their responses throughout the week. Readers, feel free to share your thoughts below.

Melody Baetens, Features Reporter, Detroit News:

Mabel Gray, Pop’s for Italian, Avalon Bread downtown, Maru Sushi Detroit and Athens Souvlaki in the Penobscot Building where I probably ate my weight in Greek salads a few times over this year.

Lexi Trimpe, Web Editor, Hour Detroit:

Checker Bar is one of those places that feels like home. Now with the addition of Pop + Offworld upstairs, it’s dangerously easy to spend a weekend there.

Mark Kurlyandchik, Restaurant Critic, Detroit Free Press:

I found myself frequently revisiting Mabel Gray, which was my pick for restaurant of the year last year. Part of it is that I live around the corner, and the other part is that it’s such an ever-shifting, dynamic restaurant with its daily changing menu and frequent guest chefs. It’s always a bit of a gamble (in a good way) and keeps things exciting for someone who dines out more than 200 times a year.

I also hit Trizest quite a bit and had many fabulous lunches at Phoenicia. Takoi was closed for half of the year, but I’ve found myself going back fairly regularly since they reopened. Bigalora is one of those no-brainer places that I can always go to with picky family members who can’t agree on anything. And Hamtramck’s California Burgerz has only been open since November, but it’s quickly becoming my go-to burger joint. For days when I’m in the office and ordering lunch its usually a Dime Store cheesesteak to go or fish ‘n’ chips from Grand Trunk. There are also some new restaurants that will likely become standbys, but I’m sworn to secrecy on those for now.

Brenna Houck, Editor, Eater Detroit:

I live in Southwest so I tend to visit the spots within walking distance. Duly’s for breakfast and Loncheria El Parian during lunch for tacos and tortas were definitely on my list of most frequented destinations this year. Also several of our Eater Awards winners, Ima and Lady of the House. I also made quite a few trips to Taystee’s Burgers and Hamido in Dearborn. Also, can we talk about the sandwiches and coffee at The Farmer’s Hand? I would eat there just about ever day if I could.

Serena Maria Daniels, Editor, Tostada Magazine:

My standby for 2017 would have to be delivery from Seamless. You know we have arrived when we can finally get some decent food delivered to the house.

Nick Britsky, Beverage Director, Thrillist:

Selden Standard is my go to. I know the food and drinks will always be good and they elevate vegetables giving my veggie wife tons of options. The freshness of everything on the menu at Chartreuse Kitchen and Cocktails is nothing short of incredible. There has never been a dish I didn’t like and I would eat that twice-cooked egg every day. Mabel Gray is a spot I would eat at every night if I could get in. They are always packed and the menu is never the same. Paul [Fradeneck] makes a mean cocktail too.

John Reyes, Ann Arbor Contributor, Eater Detroit:

We’ve had countless orders of Ricewood’s smoked brisket rice bowl and have been to HOMES Brewery a lot. And yes, we’ve taken Ricewood home and washed it down with a growler of HOMES beer.

Dorothy Hernandez, Contributor, Eater Detroit (Co-owner Sarap):

Otus Supply, Batch Brewing, Urbanrest, Trizest, Los Altos

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