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Two blue and white patterned plates filled with fish and chips, coleslaw, rolls, fries, and onion rings.
Scotty Simpson's Fish and Chips.
Michelle and Chris Gerard

The 38 Essential Detroit Restaurants, Summer 2017

Restaurant recommendations for any occasion

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Scotty Simpson's Fish and Chips.
| Michelle and Chris Gerard

It's time for the summer 2017 edition of the Detroit Eater 38. The 38 is Eater's answer to that age-old question, "Can you recommend a restaurant...?This quarterly list seeks to identify city's key dining establishments (with a few representatives from the suburbs). Eligible restaurants have been overlooked in the past, have stepped up their game, and have been open for at least six months.

Longtime members Pupusería y Restaurante Salvadoreño, Cloverleaf, and Bacco Ristorante are leaving the map this month to make way for Buddy's Rendezvous, The Farmer's Hand, and Phoenicia. Former establishments featured on the Eater 38 are preserved for posterity in the forums. Here, now, are essential restaurants that represent the city's flavor, history, and style.

Restaurants are listed geographically. Not satisfied with the list we've assembled? Make your case in the comments, Twitter, or Facebook.

Next Read: 35 Iconic Detroit Dishes

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Baker's Keyboard Lounge

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20510 Livernois Avenue
Detroit, MI 48221
(313) 345-6300
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It claims to be "the world's oldest jazz bar" and whether or not that's true doesn't really matter. Baker's is a Detroit icon, with an incredible history and soul food menu to match. The fried chicken is everyone's favorite, so don't miss it, and of course the entertainment is legendary.

2. Cadieux Cafe

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4300 Cadieux Road
Detroit, MI 48224
(313) 882-8560
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With love from Anthony Bourdain from back in his Travel Channel days and a beer menu that's hard to beat, Cadieux Cafe proves that it really is beautiful to be Belgian.

3. Supino Pizzeria

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2457 Russell St
Detroit, MI 48207
(313) 567-7879
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Detroit has plenty of highly recommended square pies, but for a slice of New York-style pizza Supino’s reigns supreme. More recently the restaurant expanded into the neighboring restaurant space. There's now more dine-in seating plus beer, wine and a few new dishes to try.

4. Roast

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1128 Washington Boulevard
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 961-2500
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Chef Michael Symon keeps winning prizes and making friends with his Westin Book Cadillac restaurant, and it isn't hard to see why. With some of the best happy hour specials in town, plus a meaty main menu that would make any carnivore drool, this is anything but your average hotel dining room.

5. Green Dot Stables

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2200 West Lafayette Boulevard
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 965-1523
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This horse racing-themed bar and restaurant is known far and wide for its sliders. The mini burgers come in flavors like Kentucky hot browns, fried bologna, and a rotating "mystery meat." Mix and match a few with a paper boat of fries and an affordable $3 cocktail.

6. El Barzon Restaurante

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3710 Junction Street
Detroit, MI 48210
(313) 894-2070
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How many Mexican Italian restaurants are there? Probably not that many, and maybe for good reason, but El Barzon is different, with top-notch Mexican food and incredible homemade pasta in the same meal, this restaurant creates a memorable experience that you can't find anywhere else.

7. Cafe d'Mongo's

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1439 Griswold St
Detroit, MI 48226
A fixture in downtown Detroit since the 80s, this old-fashioned speakeasy offers a no-frills experience with loads of culture. Favorited by Hollywood types looking for a relaxed atmosphere, visitors to this weekends-only night spot are treated more like family than customers. Better yet? The bar now offers a rotating grilled cheese to soak up those libations.

8. Antietam

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1428 Gratiot, Detroit MI
Detroit, MI 48207
(313) 782-4378
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Although it boasts an impeccable menu of modern French cuisine and craft cocktails, Antietam’s standout trait is its carefully honed atmosphere. The dim lighting emanating from knit-chain draped lamps, jewel-toned bar chairs, and other antique details bring out the best in this revitalized Art Deco building near Eastern Market.

9. Mudgie's Deli

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1300 Porter St
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 961-2000
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Mudgie's serves sandwiches. But that's not all. The deli also offers up some hearty and award-winning neighborhood goodness in the middle of Corktown. It's the kind of a place that people tell you to visit, and that later remind you again, in case you forgot.

10. Scotty Simpsons Fish & Chips

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22200 Fenkell St
Detroit, MI 48223
(313) 533-0950
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Detroit has more than its fair share of fish 'n chips joints, but Scotty Simpson’s in Brightmoor stands out for its fresh ingredients, simple menu, and vintage — circa 1950 — charm.

11. Wright & Co.

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1500 Woodward
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 962-7711
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Wright & Co. tows the line between casual and fine dining, and manages to strike the perfect balance for downtown Detroit. Chef Marc Djozlija shows off his expert knowledge in the kitchen, honed at Wolfgang Puck’s MGM Grand restaurants, while bar side, partner Dave Kwiatkowski’s influence shines through with a daring craft cocktail list.

12. Polish Village Cafe

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2990 Yemans St
Hamtramck, MI 48212
(313) 874-5726
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Hamtramck still has its Polish gems, and Polish Village Cafe is certainly the crown jewel. The little basement restaurant serves a mean pierogi, and some lesser-known classics like dill pickle soup are also sure to please the more adventurous. It's not fancy, but it's an icon in its own way, and it has been around forever.

13. Selden Standard

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3921 Second Avenue
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 438-5055
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Chef Andy Hollyday's New American style menu features a rotating array of seasonal small plates in a refined, modern atmosphere. Look out for dishes like lamb ribs, rabbit ragu, and grilled whole trout alongside a diverse selection of cocktails, beers, wines, and ciders. As a policy, the Cass Corridor restaurant always keeps the majority of its seats available for walk-ins.

14. Taqueria El Rey

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4730 W Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48209
(313) 357-3094
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This West Vernor restaurant has a brief menu suited towards both takeout and dine-in. The barbecued chicken coated in a mild, smokey rub is what sets it apart from a pack of other local taquerias, but the tacos, burritos, and tortas are all equally fresh and satisfying.

15. Pho Lucky

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3111 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 532-2333
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Outside of Madison Heights, it’s a challenge to find pho in Detroit. Thankfully Detroit's Pho Lucky offers traditional bowls of Vietnamese pho in large and extra large sizes. Get adventurous with the house special made with rare eye round steak, cooked beef, meatballs, tripe, and tendon.

16. Rose's Fine Foods

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10551 E Jefferson Ave
Detroit, MI 48214
(313) 309-7947
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While the phrase "fresh, local ingredients" are tired buzzwords, here it's far from cliche. The simple menu brings out the best in its quality ingredients. Don't leave without trying one of the scratch-made baked goods and a cup of coffee served in a charming antique teacup.

17. ‎Batch Brewing Company

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1400 Porter St
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 338-8008
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For a taste of Detroit's brewing renaissance a visit to Batch is a sure bet. Communal tables and micro-batch beers encourage conversation. The food is also surprisingly good and puts many other brew pub ventures to shame.

18. Sister Pie

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8066 Kercheval St
Detroit, MI 48214
With a fresh rotation of seasonal pies, cookies, and other sweet and savory treats Sister Pie has already turned into a Detroit destination. Lisa Ludwinski's bakes even received the high praise of Eater's roving restaurant editor who summed up his Sister Pie experience this way: "Holy happiness."

19. Ernie's Market

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8500 Capital St
Oak Park, MI 48237
(248) 541-9703
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It's more about the experience than the food at Ernie's Market. Step inside on a typical weekday and expect a wait and a show as the owner greets chats with every guest, slipping them Hershey's kisses over the counter while preparing fresh sandwiches made to order on fresh onion rolls. Cash only.

20. El Asador Mexican Steakhouse

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1312 Springwells St
Detroit, MI 48209
(313) 297-2360
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Helmed by chef/owner Luis Garza, this sophisticated steak and seafood restaurant in the Springwells neighborhood of Southwest broadens the horizons Mexican cuisine in Detroit. Guacamole here is prepared tableside so the flavors are at their freshest. Visit during lunch for a slimmed-down menu with lobster and scallop tacos or venture in during the dinner hour for steaks drizzled in poblano pepper sauce and Cazuela de Mariscos, a seafood stew swimming in smoked chili broth.

21. Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails

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15 E Kirby St
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 818-3915
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Just across the street from the Detroit Institute of Arts, Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails is the latest venture by the owners of lauded Ferndale cocktail bar The Oakland and boasts a well-honed beverage program. But the real story at this Midtown eatery is its lunch and outstanding dinner menu of small plates. Chef Doug Hewitt's seasonal dishes are beautifully composed to let the flavors of his fresh ingredients shine their brightest.

22. Al-Ameer Restaurant

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12710 W Warren Ave
Dearborn, MI 48126
(313) 582-8185
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Detroit's only National 38 member is also a James Beard American Classic honoree. Of course, metro Detroiters already knew Al-Ameer was great long before the awards began flooding in. This Dearborn culinary gem with clean, understated decor offers an outstanding Lebanese dining experience with knowledgeable service. For a full-scale tasting try the maza — plates of fresh pita, hummus, spiced kibbeh nayeh, and more served family-style.

23. Le Petit Zinc

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1055 Trumbull St
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 963-2805
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Located in a quiet corner building in Corktown, Le Petit Zinc is known for its freshly made crepes (both sweet and savory) and espresso. In the summer, it's particularly pleasant to sit outside on the garden patio and enjoy a casual brunch or lunch with a friend.

24. The Golden Fleece

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525 Monroe St
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 962-7093
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Hit this Greektown staple for late-night gyro fix. The restaurant isn't fancy, but the reasonable prices and hours make it an essential part of the Detroit diet.

25. Public House

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241 W 9 Mile Rd
Ferndale, MI 48220
(248) 850-7420
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Nearly always packed, this trendy Ferndale establishment boasts an outstanding beer list and excellent food. The fried chicken is good for sharing, the sliders will curb hunger pangs, and the chef's monthly menu takeovers are consistently filled with interesting and exciting plates. Sit at the bar in front of the open kitchen and watch the carefully timed dance of kitchen staff working the fryer and preparing plates. Don't forget to stick around for dessert — a rotating soft serve ice cream option that's always creative and tasty.

26. Amar Pizza

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11608 Conant St
Hamtramck, MI 48212
(313) 366-0980
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Hamtramck is home to a vibrant Bangladeshi community and Amar Pizza fuses those traditions with American and Italian flavors. Fan favorites include the dry fish pizza with, shrimp, garlic, onions, cilantro, and fish paste sauce, as well as the famed (and very spicy) ghost pizza which terrorized the tastebuds of chef Andrew Zimmern on the show "Bizarre Foods."

27. Mabel Gray

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23825 John R Rd, Hazel Park
MI, 48030
(248) 398-4300
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James Rigato, of "Top Chef," fame is turning heads across the country with his Michigan-influenced, improvisational tasting menus at Mabel Gray. The Hazel Park restaurant, named one of Eater National's Best New Restaurants in America, is small, intimate, and unpretentious — happily serving cheffy burgers a la carte alongside low brow beers or sparkling wines. While drop-ins can sometimes secure a seat at the bar, making a reservation in advance is highly recommended.

28. Kuzzo's Chicken & Waffles

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19345 Livernois Ave
Detroit, MI 48221
(313) 861-0229
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Part of the revival of Detroit's Avenue of Fashion strip, this Southern-influenced restaurant serves chicken and waffles in a variety of iterations. Most come with a thin, slightly spiced waffle though you can find a Belgian red velvet version on offer. Order a plate with classic sides like collard greens and salty, buttery grits, alongside sweet tea or kool aid (in a jar, of course).

29. Duly's Place

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5458 W Vernor Hwy
Detroit, MI 48209
(313) 554-3076
For a late-night Coney dog with a satisfying snap or a hulking-yet-wallet-friendly breakfast of bacon, eggs, and pancakes, this Vernor Highway diner is the place to be. With more than 90 years under its belt this Anthony Bourdain-approved spot continues to dole out Coney Island classics with consistency and the ambiance worthy of an essential greasy spoon. Cash-only.

30. Avalon International Breads

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422 W Willis St
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 832-0008
Serving the Cass Corridor neighborhood, Avalon trades in exceptional pastries and bread made primarily with organic, local ingredients while fostering a community-minded business that gives others in the area a leg up. Whether you're looking for a vegan oatmeal raisin cookie or a flavorful loaf of Motown Multigrain this spot is ready to fill order.

31. Detroit Vegan Soul

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8029 Agnes St
Detroit, MI 48214
(313) 444-9402
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A haven for vegetarians, West Village's casual Detroit Vegan Soul offers healthy alternatives to traditional soul food dishes like "catfish" tofu, macaroni and cheese, and smothered tempeh. The menu caters to customers with challenging dietary restrictions with plenty of gluten-free options. That doesn't mean the restaurant skimps on flavor, though. Even carnivores will find something to love here.

32. Dime Store

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719 Griswold St
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 962-9106
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Brunch is any time of day meal at this downtown eatery. Located inside the Chrysler House (aka the Dime Building), diners flock daily to Dime Store for its consistently attentive service and delicious menu that includes items like duck bop hash, spicy pork belly eggs benedict, and a duck reuben sandwich.

33. Standby

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225 Gratiot Ave
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 736-5533
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This downtown bar manages to bridge the gap between classy and casual while churning out phenomenal, original cocktails. While beverages like the vibrant green Snake in the Grass steal the show, the menu is full of delicious dishes like classic cheeseburgers, curry braised lamb, and green chile stew.

34. Sweet Potato Sensations

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17377 Lahser
Detroit, MI 48219
(313) 532-7996
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A landmark in old Redford, Sweet Potato Sensations has been infusing sweet and savory treats with the flavor of that eponymous tuber for more than 20 years. From pies to cobblers and ice cream, this neighborhood favorite does it all, but the weekly chicken and sweet potato waffle special is worth the visit.

35. The Jamaican Pot

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14615 W 8 Mile Rd
Detroit, MI 48235
(313) 659-6033
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Good things come in unexpected packages like a strip mall restaurant off 8 Mile. While it's exclusively for carryout, there's usually some wait time as kitchen puts care and attention into every new order (consider calling ahead for a faster pickup). The jerk chicken is spot-on as is the curry goat and pepper steak.

36. The Farmer's Hand

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1701 Trumbull St
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 961-5394
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In less than a year this pristine, pint-sized shop has gained a loyal following. Located on Trumbull in Corktown, it's part hyper-local market, part home goods store, and part cafe. The coffee from Michigan roaster Hyperion is some of the best around and the sandwiches made on quality bread and grilled to-order are phenomenally fresh and flavorful. Consider trying the Lil' Guy, a breakfast sandwich featuring thick and melty slices of cheese and a fried egg.

37. Buddy's Pizza

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17125 Conant St
Detroit, MI 48212
(313) 892-9001
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Welcome to the birthplace of Detroit-style pizza: The almost bunker-like building off Conant Street gives way to dimly lit and kitschy interior with TVs, wood tables, and booths. Buddy's Pizza's partially underground kitchen has been assembling square pies using the same airy Sicilian-style dough in rectangular blue steel pans with melty, caramelized brick cheese, and sauce on top since the mid-1940s. As square shaped pretenders have multiplied across the country, Buddy's remains the real deal.

38. Phoenicia

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588 S Old Woodward Ave
Birmingham, MI 48009
(248) 644-3122
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This sophisticated, family-owned eatery has mastered the art of fine-dining Lebanese cuisine. The menu is comprised of traditional dishes like kibby neyee (lamb tartar) alongside unexpected items like dry-rubbed pork ribs, which mustachioed proprietor Sameer Eid picked up a taste for by way of Texas. Make sure to call ahead for a reservation; the restaurant is known to pack the house.

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1. Baker's Keyboard Lounge

20510 Livernois Avenue, Detroit, MI 48221
It claims to be "the world's oldest jazz bar" and whether or not that's true doesn't really matter. Baker's is a Detroit icon, with an incredible history and soul food menu to match. The fried chicken is everyone's favorite, so don't miss it, and of course the entertainment is legendary.
20510 Livernois Avenue
Detroit, MI 48221

2. Cadieux Cafe

4300 Cadieux Road, Detroit, MI 48224
With love from Anthony Bourdain from back in his Travel Channel days and a beer menu that's hard to beat, Cadieux Cafe proves that it really is beautiful to be Belgian.
4300 Cadieux Road
Detroit, MI 48224

3. Supino Pizzeria

2457 Russell St, Detroit, MI 48207
Detroit has plenty of highly recommended square pies, but for a slice of New York-style pizza Supino’s reigns supreme. More recently the restaurant expanded into the neighboring restaurant space. There's now more dine-in seating plus beer, wine and a few new dishes to try.
2457 Russell St
Detroit, MI 48207

4. Roast

1128 Washington Boulevard, Detroit, MI 48226
Chef Michael Symon keeps winning prizes and making friends with his Westin Book Cadillac restaurant, and it isn't hard to see why. With some of the best happy hour specials in town, plus a meaty main menu that would make any carnivore drool, this is anything but your average hotel dining room.
1128 Washington Boulevard
Detroit, MI 48226

5. Green Dot Stables

2200 West Lafayette Boulevard, Detroit, MI 48216
This horse racing-themed bar and restaurant is known far and wide for its sliders. The mini burgers come in flavors like Kentucky hot browns, fried bologna, and a rotating "mystery meat." Mix and match a few with a paper boat of fries and an affordable $3 cocktail.
2200 West Lafayette Boulevard
Detroit, MI 48216

6. El Barzon Restaurante

3710 Junction Street, Detroit, MI 48210