As summertime inches closer, Detroiters are inevitably making plans for how they’ll spend their time outdoors. While trips to Belle Isle, rooftop patios, and northern Michigan tend to be favored destinations for enjoying the sunshine and summer breezes, there are also options for getting out there without having to deal with traffic, booking reservations, or a day-long drive Up North.
Oh, and one fairly new option to check out has plenty of food options.
A promising dining destination has emerged in a small shopping center along the Dennis Archer Greenway between east Jefferson and East Vernor Highway.
The $4.9 million renovation project was completed in 2021, connecting residents of the surrounding Elmwood Park neighborhood via 1.2 miles of restored pathways to the riverfront.
The greenway’s transformation complements the relatively recent renovation of a century-old building off Jefferson between Chene and Joseph Campau. Formerly the site of the George Harrison Phelps, Inc., one of the advertising firms that catered to the then-new automotive industry, the historic brick building has since been retrofitted to house a cluster of food and drink businesses, where folks can take a stroll and make a refreshing pitstop to and from the riverfront. Other amenities added to the greenway — which winds through the neighborhood’s many apartment complexes and the currently-under-construction Coleman A. Young Recreation Center — include raised sidewalks, benches, security cameras, and outdoor power stations.
Currently, Breadless, a Red Hook location, and an empanada shop called Empacho have taken up residency in the building. Outdoor patio seating is available in front of each space. Breadless, which celebrated its first anniversary earlier this month, has a walk-up window installed (though not currently in use), suggesting that greenway users could pull up and order one of the spot’s leafy veggie-wrapped deli sandwiches. A few weeks ago, Red Hook added an adjoining wine shop dubbed Wine Side. As the weather continues to warm up, guests will be able to order wine by the glass alongside the greenway path.
Next door to Red Hook is the plaza’s newest food option, Empacho, which specializes in traditional empanadas. Owner Gonzalo Collazo tells Eater that he worked at the winery Wapisa, which is based in San Javier, Rio Negro in Patagonia so that Wine Side could carry a limited line of Argentinian wines, giving guests an opportunity to grab a box of empanadas from his spot and a bottle of wine next door.
The Dennis Archer Greenway connects to a bicycle path that leads to the Robert C. Valade Park, the Aretha Franklin Amphitheater, William G. Milliken State Park — which connects to the Dequindre Cut — and Hart Plaza. Cyclists can make other pitstops, including at Atwater Brewery and Tap House, Andrew’s on the Corner, Detroit’s Original Seafood Truck, and Smokey G’s Smokehouse.