Detroit’s local media dishes on their favorite moments of 2023 as part of Eater’s ongoing tradition of polling the city’s pros for their year-end takes. Here, our panel discussed the metro Detroit neighborhood they were most excited to dine in this year.
Alina Alam, social media influencer: I explored halal dining within the city of Detroit this year.
Carolyn Chin, contributor, Eater Detroit: All!
Serena Maria Daniels, editor, Eater Detroit: I would have to say the eastside has been impressing as of late. Places like Spot Lite have become community hubs for entertainment, culture, and networking, while the East Warren Farmer’s Market is a place where small businesses like the Eater Award winning Taqueria Hernandez can incubate their products. Meanwhile, a plaza along the Dennis Archer Greenway — home to Empacho, Breadless, and a Red Hook location — provides Detroiters with ample space to eat or drink after a bike ride or brisk dog walk. After years of planning for better days, the food scene on the city’s eastside is coming along in exciting ways.
Lyndsay Green, restaurant and dining critic, Detroit Free Press: As an east side resident, I’ve been impressed with the work that Joe Rashid and the East Warren Development Corp. are doing to develop the culinary scene on East Warren Avenue. Morningside and its surrounding neighborhoods have been somewhat of a flyover region in terms of food selections. I’m happy to see a team working to bring fresh options to the area, and doing so with the community’s needs in mind.
Randiah Camille Green, staff writer, Detroit Metro Times: I committed Detroiter blasphemy and moved to Dearborn earlier this year so exploring the culinary landscape has been interesting (and tasty). I discovered the joys of Yemeni coffee shops like Qamaria, Haraz, and Qahwah House along with my new go-to drink Qishr. I don’t drink coffee because caffeine wreaks havoc on my body and since the traditional Yemeni drink qishr is made from coffee husks instead of beans, it contains little to no caffeine. It’s sometimes served with ginger and cinnamon which tastes better than regular coffee anyway. Dearborn is also home to vegan fast food hotspot Unburger Grill, which I am likely resisting the urge to order carryout from at this exact moment. I hadn’t eaten chili cheese fries since going vegan and I almost spit these out upon first bite because I thought they served me dairy by mistake. It’s that good.
Joe Guillen, Axios Local Detroit reporter: Core City.
Mark Kurlyandchik, filmmaker, former Detroit Free Press restaurant critic: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Clawson is pretty exciting these days. It took a couple of hits in 2023 with the closures of the Lucky Duck and Pumachug, but neither space sat empty for long (Lucky Duck is now an Irish pub and Grand River Brewery just opened in the former Pumachug). The small-but-mighty suburb is becoming quite a destination for Asian cuisine, with Noori expanding into the Korean-style gastropub Noori Pocha, and a new Filipino restaurant being teased at the old Lim’s Palace space. That’s in addition to the already exemplary sustainable sushi restaurant Sozai, the Japanese-style White Wolf Patisserie, and expanded Noble Fish Sushi & Market. Main Street Kitchen is also a sleeper for Indian food, and its drive-thru window makes it clutch for takeout. On top of that, you’ve got great barbecue at Woodpile BBQ, a carryout location of Detroit-style pizza icon Cloverleaf, great coffee at Sabbath, and one of the state’s coolest micro-distilleries at Weiss. Name another suburb with as much depth and variety in less than a square mile.
Amber Ogden, contributor, Eater Detroit; freelance writer: This year, I was most excited to dine downtown; I already know all the fantastic and off-the-beaten-path spots in the neighborhoods of Detroit. So, it was cool to experience downtown this year.
Carlos Parisi, owner of Aunt Nee’s, host: Southwest has been consistently a hotspot for dining in recent decades. It seems in the last 10 years, year after year, we’re treated with another new spot to encourage our mouths to water openly. From the higher end dining of Ladder 4 and Flowers of Vietnam to the countless trucks of all kinds sprinkled throughout the neighborhoods, to pop-ups like Cafecito Alvarez and something in between that makes all feel welcome like El Asador Steakhouse, Southwest screams dining gold for Detroiters.