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The Best Face Masks, According to Detroit Restaurant Workers

Local favorites from the staff who work in them all day

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Pink, red, and mauve polka dot masks on a wooden table.
Masks from Object Apparel.
[Courtesy photo]

In an effort to aid small businesses at the start of the pandemic, the city of Detroit created Detroit Means Business, with resources, personal protective equipment, and expert advice. Restaurants that applied received a handful of disposable masks that many kitchen staff and servers, working long hours on hot patios, opted to wear. The “lightweight design and ability to have a fresh one available at all times” makes them perfect for restaurant service, chef Matt Johnson of Batch Brewing Company says.

Plenty of local makers have also stepped up and donated masks to essential workers in the industry during this health crisis. Lola Gibson-Berg of Keep Growing Detroit loves to wear Detroit Hand Sanitizer owner Lesley DiPiazza’s masks on the farm. “She made a bunch for us at the beginning of the pandemic and they’re my go to ones,” Gibson-Berg says.

The industry’s new mask makeover has staff quickly finding their favorites as they work long shifts in the heat of the kitchen or on patios. With the hyperlocal focus on supporting makers in the city of Detroit, here are some of their favorites.

Sustainable and naturally dyed

$26 from Rosemarine Textiles

Rohani Foulkes of Folk loves the breathable, two-layered, organic cotton mask from Rosemarine Textile. The over the head ties makes for easier wear and no tension behind the ears on long shifts. There’s even handy washing directions to keep the plant dyes vibrant and the mask clean and sanitized.


$15 from Brightly Twisted

Local makers really stepped up to support essential workers and those in the restaurant industry. Kristen Calverley of Michigan & Trumbull says her team was gifted masks from Brightly Twisted and that they love for their buttery-soft texture and bright colors. Customize the look with a blank mask and DIY at-home dye kit.

Ederique Goudia wears her Make the Hood Great Again mask. Ederique Goudia [Courtesy photo]

Statement pieces

$20 from Make the Hood Great Again

Ederique Goudia of Gabriel Hall, Foodlab Detroit, and Detroit Food Academy prefers a disposable mask in the heat of the kitchen, but she also loves to make a statement with masks like Make the Hood Great Again when she’s hosting cooking classes, visiting a farm, or shopping at the grocery store. And as the description says, no caption needed.

Comfort, style, and a filter pocket

$15 from Blackfokapparel

April Anderson of Good Cakes and Bakes says her team sports a variety of the custom cloth masks from Blackfokapparel. Each mask is made with three layers of material including a filter pocket. An adhesive backend nose strip and adjustable ear straps allow for comfort and ease of communication without the mask constantly slipping.

Melanie Mack wears glasses and a black and white printed mask in front of liquor bottles at the bar. Melanie Mack [Courtesy photo]

Wearable art

$16 from Armageddon Beach Party

Consider these a collectible historic keepsake of the 2020 global pandemic: Bartender Melanie Mack of Menjo’s in Detroit rocks one behind the bar and loves the character each art piece brings to her outfit. They’re sold out now, but may be coming back in stock in the future.

3D knit and hand sanitizer or double-lather cloth

$16.99 from Pingree Detroit | $10 from Pink Flamingo

Pingree Detroit is a worker-owned cooperative specializes in zero waste design. Every one of its mask orders comes with a two-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer. Meiko Krishok of Guerilla Food and Pink Flamingo says the Pingree mask is best for cooler temps, since it gets a little warm when talking. With cold weather on the way, this black polyester and spandex blend could keep faces from going numb during outdoor service this fall. Krishok’s restaurant also sells its own flamingo-print masks. One of our employees makes cloth masks with a vertical seam down the middle that are double-layered and very comfortable,” Krishok says.

Organic cotton face mask

$12 from Object Apparel

And speaking of employee-made masks: “One of our employees is actually the owner of a great company making masks,” says Kyle Hunt of Huddle and Cøllect. “They’re breathable, washable, and adjustable on your face.” The masks come in red, pink, and mauve polka dot, or and plain white. Object Apparel also has floral print masks and turmeric-dyed masks.

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Folk Detroit

1701 Trumbull, , MI 48216 (313) 742-2672 Visit Website

Pink Flamingo

2746 Vermont Street, , MI 48216 (313) 801-4423 Visit Website

Good Cakes and Bakes

19363 Livernois, , MI 48221 (313) 468-9915 Visit Website


4023 Goldfinch Street, , CA 92103 (619) 291-5950 Visit Website

Michigan & Trumbull

1441 West Elizabeth Street, , MI 48216 (313) 637-4992 Visit Website

Gabriel Hall

8002 Kercheval Ave., Detroit, MI