Detroit’s restaurant writers dish on their biggest surprises of 2022 as part of Eater’s ongoing tradition of polling the city’s experts for their year-end takes.
Melody Baetens, restaurant critic/reporter, The Detroit News: The entire Macomb county surprised me this year. I found myself driving to the 20-something Mile roads several times in 2022. Macomb is more culinary diverse than people give it credit for and a lot of immigrants and children of immigrants have opened wonderful restaurants here … Pattternz (Syrian), Que Pasa (Mexican), Isla (Filipino), Rosita’s Treats (Colombian), Khom Fai (Thai) and Sabor Latino (Cuban), just to name a few.
Courtney Burk, contributor, Eater Detroit: Southwest Detroit Restaurant Week introduced me to so many new restaurants and food trucks in the neighborhood, as well as the incredible families that are cooking delicious meals within often tiny spaces. It reminds me of how my family got started in the industry, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to enjoy the wide variety of cuisines I was unaware existed within the city.
Serena Maria Daniels, Detroit City Editor, Eater: Way back in the before times of 2019, a lot of attention was paid to the Core City neighborhood’s “up-and-coming” dining scene with the opening of several critically-lauded new establishments that made headlines at the time, including Ochre Bakery and Magnet. Ochre sadly closed earlier this year, and Magnet was done in less than a year in operation. It’s great to see momentum in this area of town continues — with folks like Barda chef Javier Bardauin, who found a home for his open-flame cooking in that space, and the Detroit Institute of Bagels making its return in the former bakery. I’m looking forward to the opening of Vesper — a bookshop-wine bar — sometime in 2023, as well as Paradise Deli and Marketplace.
Lyndsay Green, restaurant and dining critic, Detroit Free Press: The North End/New Center/Milwaukee Junction areas have really seen a boom in food and beverages over the past year or two. It’s been nice getting to hop from bars to restaurants to coffee shops all within walking distance.
Mark Kurlyandchik, editorial director, Frame: I don’t think there’s a better dining neighborhood in metro Detroit for a true food lover than the city of Dearborn. One way to keep perspective is to imagine yourself as an outside visitor. And when visitors come here, I almost always send them on a dining adventure to Dearborn.
Mickey Lyons, contributor, Eater Detroit: Snacking my way around my own neighborhood, Hamtramck, is always a blast. From fresh-made pierogi at Polish Village, to New York gyro rice platters at Halal Desi Pizza & Gyros, to döner kebab at Balkan House, or even just grabbing some of the amazing international sweets and savories at Al Haramain, I am always finding new culinary adventures.
For 2023, I think we’re going to see a host of new and exciting openings in the suburbs. For the first time in quite a few years, downtown and Detroit proper aren’t hogging the lion’s share of fun new restaurants and bars. Dearborn, Hazel Park, Oak Park, and St. Clair Shores are really starting to generate their own dining scenes.
Carlos Parisi, founder, host, Aunt Nee’s, Sandwich Talk podcast: I’m always very excited to dine in my own neighborhood, Southwest Detroit. We have such a rich community, and I’m thankful for all the hustle and passion we have popping up in every meal occasion throughout the neighborhood.
John Reyes, contributor, Eater Detroit: Downtown Ypsilanti has always been “up-and-coming” but with Bellflower, Ma Lous, Ypsi Cocktail Club, and the newly opened C.King and Company, it feels like it’s “there.”