Was there one restaurant in particular that you felt really stepped up for your local community? How did they do so?
Melody Baetens, restaurant critic/reporter, The Detroit News: There were many! But to name one off the top of my head … Batch Brewing Co. Whenever there was a tragedy – Roast closing, the El Rey fire, the death of Tim Idzikowski — there was Stephen Roginson and Batch, ready to help or offer something.
Courtney Burk, contributor, Eater Detroit: Coriander Kitchen and Farm, PizzaPlex, Avalon, and Marrow. Through their intentional sourcing of local ingredients, support of farmers within the community, and efforts to reduce food waste for the environment. It’s sad to say that what they do isn’t easy or an industry standard because it should be — and those prioritizing it as a pair of their daily operations should be acknowledged for that.
Serena Maria Daniels, Detroit City Editor, Eater: The baristas of the now defunct Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company deserve a shoutout for organizing one of the biggest labor strikes locally this year. Unionizing of service industry workers was a hot topic for 2022 across the country, with employees of Starbucks, Amazon, and other national brands demanding safe working conditions and fair wages. The baristas at the once popular regional coffee shop chain were at the forefront of the movement in Detroit, forcing another major Michigan chain — Meijer — to rethink its relationship with the coffee company. The cafe’s flagship Midtown location is now a Red Hook, while its two Meijer spots have been replaced by Avalon.
Lyndsay Green, restaurant and dining critic, Detroit Free Press: Ladder 4 has really elevated the dining experience for the community. Between the work John Yelinek has done to curate a menu of quality dishes and the effort the team has put into bringing outstanding culinary talent from big food cities like New York for guest chef dinners, the place has consistently churned out some stellar meals.
Mark Kurlyandchik, editorial director, Frame: I didn’t make it over there enough this year, but I’ve long been a huge fan of Batch Brewing Co. in Corktown and the community-minded efforts of proprietor Stephen Roginson. Anyone familiar with Batch will know all the ways Stephen and his crew show up for the people of Detroit, but the most obvious evidence of this was what they did when Taqueria El Rey suffered a devastating fire. Batch opened their doors and welcomed the El Rey team for a weekly residency, which has allowed the southwest Detroit institution to keep some staff employed and revenue going while they rebuild. If that’s not being a good neighbor, I don’t know what is.
Mickey Lyons, contributor, Eater Detroit: Although Rosa coffee shop in Grandmont-Rosedale just opened this year, the business is the result of generations of commitment to the neighborhood. Owner Charity Dean’s great-grandparents were some of the first Black residents in the neighborhood, and she has continued their legacy by hosting events for community members and nonprofits like the Black Business Alliance and Accounting Aid Society.
Carlos Parisi, founder, host, Aunt Nee’s, Sandwich Talk podcast: You have to give it up to Marrow, which has had countless people come in and out of there to learn and move on to create their own dining visions. Just the popup festivals alone, highlighting just some of the incredible team members of past and present that have their own restaurants or popups around town can show how much Marrow cares about bringing out the best in our passionate food creators.