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The exterior of Whatcha Wanna Eat? Food Hall in Detroit, Michigan. Serena Maria Daniels

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14 Most-Read Eater Detroit Stories in 2023 and 16 You Might Have Missed

A Black-owned food hall, the ultimate dining guide to fall colors, and an ever-evolving downtown restaurant scene

Serena Maria Daniels is the editor for Eater Detroit.

As part of Eater’s ongoing Year in Eater tradition, of annual tradition that is , Eater Detroit has taken a look back at the site’s most-read stories of 2023. In addition to being excited about the city’s many restaurant openings and dining guides, Eater Detroit readers were most enthusiastic for stories on how Black Detroiters are reshaping the city’s restaurant scene, from an inside look at Detroit’s first Black-owned food hall to news about the first Black woman chef to lead a Michelin-starred restaurant who is making her way in the Motor City. Readers were also interested in learning about the Michigan chefs and restaurants that were recognized as semifinalists and nominees for the 2023 James Beard Awards. And, of course, news about downtown restaurant developments was always a hot topic among readers.

Here are the 14 stories that caught the attention of Eater Detroit readers this year, plus, 16 additional stories that you might’ve missed this year that are worth reading.

A rendering of the exterior of the ground level of the Book Tower building in downtown Detroit, Michigan. Bedrock

14. Catch a Glimpse of the Bars and Restaurants Coming to the Dramatically Restored Book Tower Downtown

Perhaps the largest downtown restaurant development of the year, readers were excited to learn about the new food and drink options inside one of the city’s treasured historic skyscrapers.

13. These Are Michigan’s 2023 James Beard Award Chef and Restaurant Nominees

Five Michigan-based chefs and restaurants were named as nominees for the 2023 awards.

12. Three Michigan Coffee Shops Forced to Close After Receiving Threatening Letters

Three Detroit and Lansing-based cafes described as “queer-identified” coffee shops were the targets of threats this year.

11. Orchid Thai Has Closed After 18-Year Run, and 3 Other Downtown Restaurant Shakeups to Know

Lower Woodward’s beloved Orchid Thai closed its doors for good this year, following nearly two-decades of feeding downtown office workers.

10. An Eater’s Guide to Fall Color in Northern Michigan

Eater Detroit contributor Stacey Brugeman impressed readers with an all-encompassing guide to enjoying the natural beauty of northern Michigan during the autumn season — including the best places to eat and drink along the way.

9. A Look Inside Hazel Park’s New Key West-Inspired Beach Bar

Eater Detroit contributor Mickey Lyons provided readers with an inside view of Hazel Park’s newest tropical-anytime bar.

8. Restaurants Serve Shoebox Lunches As Crucial Reminders of Black History

Eater Detroit offered insight about the growing number of Black chefs who are using their platforms to educate diners about the contributions of African Americans throughout history.

A cardboard box filled with chicken, a biscuit, order side dishes, held by two hands. Virtue

7. Modern Italian Restaurant Mad Nice Causes a Stir Over Parking Complaints

Eater Detroit dove into concerns among residents about parking in the area surrounding Mad Nice, a new coastal Italian eatery that opened this year in Midtown.

6. These Are Michigan’s 2023 James Beard Award Semifinalists

Readers were jazzed to learn about the many metro Detroit restaurants, bars, and chefs that made the James Beard’s “long list” of semifinalists for 2023.

5. A ‘New Asian’ Restaurant and Anime-Themed Bar, and 2 Other Downtown Developments to Know

Readers are embracing the maximalism trend of 2023 and were pleased to learn details about a new “clubstaurant” experience that opened in downtown Detroit this year.

4. Four Recent Detroit Restaurant Closings to Know

Closings are an inevitable part of the life of a restaurant, but sometimes a closing hits harder than others. Such was the case with the announcement that Avalon Bakery’s original flagship location and PizzaPlex in Southwest Detroit would shutter permanently.

3. Southeast Michigan to Welcome Its First Taco John’s Location

One of the United States’ most enduring American Mexican chains, Taco John’s, announced plans this year for a major expansion into the Michigan market, much to the delight of readers.

2. The First Black Woman to Lead a Michelin-Star Kitchen Is Popping Up in Detroit

Chef Mariya Russell — who made headlines in 2020 when she walked away from the Chicago restaurant where months prior she made history when she was named the first Black woman chef to lead a Michelin-starred establishment — was the subject of much excitement this year when she hosted a series of pop-ups in metro Detroit.

And... 1. Detroit’s First-Ever Black-Owned Food Hall Has Opened on the City’s Westside

Because there’s more to Detroit’s dining scene than whatever is going on in greater downtown, readers were the most excited to learn details about the city’s first Black-owned food hall on the city’s westside.

In the foreground, piñatas hanging from the ceiling, freezers to the left and right, a wall shelf filled with packaged food. Rosa Maria Zamarrón

Other Stories You Might Have Missed

January 2023

Algo Especial Is Hubbard-Richard’s Treasure Trove for Hard-to-Find Ingredients

February 2023

The Detroit Institute of Bagels Is Now Open, This Time in Core City

Anytime Is a Good Time to Check Out These Corktown Bars

March 2023

13 Arab Coffee Shops in Dearborn to Know Now

April 2023

What’s the Dill Is the University District’s New Pickle-Themed Sandwich Shop

May 2023

This Chef Is Trying to Build the Sober-Friendly Restaurant Detroit Needs

Detroit’s Black-Owned Taquerias Bring Everyone to the Table for Tacos

June 2023

The Anatomy of a Downriver Coney Island

Detroit’s Coney Islands All Trace Their Roots Back to One Greek City

July 2023

Movie Night With Barbie at the Ford Drive-In Theatre

August 2023

Cafe Sous Terre Is Midtown’s New Jewel Box-Sized French Coffee Shop and Bar

September 2023

A Daytime Asian ‘Night Market’ Has Emerged in Eastern Market

October 2023

Shanghai Cafe Fed Detroit’s Chinese American Community and Kept My Family’s Dream Alive

These Metro Detroit Restaurants Are Directing 100 Percent of Proceeds to Humanitarian Aid in Gaza

November 2023

With Historic Strike, Detroit’s Casino Workers Demand Their Share of the City’s Booming Gaming Business

December 2023

Here Are 2023’s Eater Award Winners for Detroit

Eater Tracking

Sexy Steak Has Landed in the GAR Building

Jack in the Box and Its Crunchy, Culty Tacos Are Finally Heading to Michigan, Again

Chef Amanda Saab Is Ready to Train the Next Generations of Detroit Cooks