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Duling coneys Lafayette and American Coney Island might just be Detroit’s most well-known restaurant landmarks.
Michelle and Chris Gerard

14 Detroit Tourist Trap Restaurants That Are Actually Good

Time to loosen those fanny packs

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Duling coneys Lafayette and American Coney Island might just be Detroit’s most well-known restaurant landmarks.
| Michelle and Chris Gerard

Post-bankruptcy, Detroit has enjoyed a wave of positive press from national media. Many stories have been spun around the rapid changes to the core downtown neighborhoods, the city’s thriving arts scene, the Slow Roll, and the new crop of restaurants and bars. The New York Times even pondered in 2017 whether the Motor city might be “the most exciting city in America.” With all the superlatives and buzz about the new developments happening in the city, tourists and suburbanites have also turned towards Detroit in droves.

Along the way, certain restaurants have become frequent flyers in national publications and guidebooks as the “it” spots for dining. Tourists have taken note. That’s all well and good if the ambiance and meals are worth the trip and these spots exceed both marks. Use this guide to explore Detroit’s hotspots where locals and visitors happily converge.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Buddy's Pizza

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17125 Conant St
Detroit, MI 48212
(313) 892-9001
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Detroit is known for its square pizza that’s served at restaurants throughout metro Detroit, but the original home of the Detroit-style pie is at Buddy’s on Conant Street. Buddy’s owner Gus Guerra started the tradition of baking Sicilian-style pizza dough in blue steel pans in 1946 and the business has been going strong ever since. Covered with brick cheese and drizzled with sauce, a trip to this spot isn’t complete without at least one caramelized corner slice.

2. Polish Village Cafe

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2990 Yemans St
Hamtramck, MI 48212
(313) 874-5726
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Hamtramck attracted many Polish immigrants in the first half of the 20th century with the population reaching its peak in the 1970s and much of that Eastern European influence can still be found at the city’s restaurants and bakeries. Located inside a former hotel, this family-owned Polish restaurant has been serving up classic dishes in a basement restaurant since 1976. People from the suburbs and beyond still return to Polish Village Cafe time and again for its homestyle fried and boiled pierogi, smoked kielbasa, and city chicken.

3. Selden Standard

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3921 2nd Ave
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 438-5055
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Located in Cass Corridor, Selden Standard was an early entrant in a wave of New American restaurants that swept Detroit in 2014 and drew the intense attention of diners both locally and nationally. Over the years, the restaurant has maintained its status for exquisite Detroit seasonal dishes such as charred octopus and squid ink chittara pasta. The menu is rounded out with an intriguing drink list featuring everything from sake to Swiss cider. Don’t overlook the pastries from Eater Young Gun Lena Sareini.

4. Supino Pizzeria

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2457 Russell St
Detroit, MI 48207
(313) 567-7879
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On weekends in Eastern Market, there’s inevitably a wait at this Russell Street pizzeria beloved by Detroit visitors and locals alike. Supino is known for its big foldable slices that can be ordered for carryout, but the restaurant smartly added more dine-in seating a few years back that made a slight dent in the Saturday lunch lines. Visit on a weekday to bypass some of the mayhem and don’t overlook the cannoli for dessert.

5. Detroit Vegan Soul

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8029 Agnes St
Detroit, MI 48214
(313) 649-2759
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Thanks to organizations like PETA and a variety of vegetarian-friendly guides awareness of this casual West Village dining spot stretches well beyond the borders of Detroit. Meat eaters and vegans alike, love Detroit Vegan Soul’s comfort food menu that features options like seitan pepper steak, “catfish” tofu sandwiches, and veggie burgers.

6. Wright & Company

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1500 Woodward Ave floor 2
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 962-7711
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Detroit Optimist Society, owners of some of the city’s best loved cocktail bars, opened this stunning second story restaurant and lounge in 2014 and it quickly became a favorite spot to name drop on Motor City travel guides. Wright & Company is a good way to sample some of the city’s best drinks while sharing plates of pork belly sliders and crab cakes. For those who can score a seat near the windows, the restaurant offers lovely views of Woodward Avenue.

Wright & Company.
Wright & Company.
Michelle and Chris Gerard

7. Roast

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1128 Washington Blvd
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 961-2500
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While locals know it for the delicious happy hour burger, out-of-towners are more familiar with this Westin Book Cadillac restaurant’s celebrity chef owner Michael Symon. Symon opened the high-end steakhouse downtown in 2008 and the Detroit Free Press named it Restaurant of the Year in 2009, sealing its fate as a destination restaurant. Ten years later Detroit’s downtown dining scene is a lot more crowded, but Roast still keeps people coming back for celebratory meals of roasted bone marrow and dry-aged steaks.

8. American Coney Island

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114 W Lafayette Blvd
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 961-7758
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This flat iron-shaped coney island has been serving hot dogs topped with chili, mustard, and onions in downtown Detroit for more than 100 years. American is often compared to its slightly younger neighbor, but the third-generation family-owned establishment maintains that its coneys have the best flavor and snap. Thanks to the affordable prices, it’s easy to try both spots and join the debate.

9. Lafayette Coney Island

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118 W Lafayette Blvd
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 964-8198
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As the tale goes, Bill Keros (brother of American Coney Island founder Gust Keros) opened his competing coney island called Lafayette in 1924 and later gave the restaurant to his employees. Whereas American Coney Island has a polished and patriotic feel, Lafayette maintains a little more of a greasy spoon ambiance. The menus are largely the same with the featured item being a hot dog topped with chili, mustard, and onions on a steamed bun. The waiters at Lafayette also have an impressive skill for carrying a dozen coneys at once. Cash-only.

10. The Apparatus Room

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Detroit Foundation Hotel, 250 W Larned St
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 800-5600
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Thanks to its location at the base of one of Detroit’s newest and hottest hotels and its menu developed by chef Thomas Lents, visitors and Detroiters alikes are drawn to the Apparatus Room. The restaurant, which fills a former fire station, boasts big windows and tall ceilings with a stunning central bar. The spot can get busy around dinner with customers seeking out dishes like the coney-inspired beef heart bolognese and 36-hour braised veal. For those lucky enough to score a reservation, Lents also serves a multi-course tasting menu on weekends at the 12-seat Chef’s Table overlooking the main dining room.

11. Batch Brewing Company

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1400 Porter St
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 338-8008
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Batch Brewing Company has become a mecca for beer lovers looking to try local brews. The Corktown brewery keeps a rotating selection of beers on tap running the gamut from kölsch to gose and even offers frozen beer slushies. In addition to the drinks, Batch’s menu serves a Upper Peninsula specialty — pasties — alongside big platters of nachos and bread pudding.

12. Slows Bar BQ

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2138 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 962-9828
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Opening in 2005 across from the vacant Michigan Central Station in Corktown, Slows gained a following for its barbecue and also became somewhat of a cliche in national reporting about the Detroit dining scene. While the narrative around Slows became tiresome for Detroiters, the food never did. Slows still maintains its landmark status in a neighborhood that’s developed a buzzy dining scene. Meat lovers will find plenty to like at this spot. The Reason topped with pulled pork in North Carolina sauce, cole slaw, and dill pickles is one of the best sandwiches around. For a sample of the different smoke meats Slows has to offer, check out the Big Three.

13. Green Dot Stables

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2200 West Lafayette Blvd
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 962-5588
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According to lore this equestrian-themed bar was once owned by a horse racing jockey, but in 2012 it gained new life as a bar and restaurant slinging $3 cocktails and gourmet sliders. The combination was an instant hit and continues to draw big dinner crowd. The restaurant was popular enough to inspire a spinoff location in Lansing and another in Malaysia. For the original casual ambiance with mystery meat sliders, check out the Corktown establishment.

14. Xochimilco Restaurant

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3409 Bagley St
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 843-0179

Like the canal-filled borough of Mexico City for which it’s named, this venerable Mexicantown district have been drawing diners from the city and the surrounding suburbs for decades. The frozen margaritas, extra cheesy enchiladas, and massive piles of nachos keep customers coming back.

1. Buddy's Pizza

17125 Conant St, Detroit, MI 48212

Detroit is known for its square pizza that’s served at restaurants throughout metro Detroit, but the original home of the Detroit-style pie is at Buddy’s on Conant Street. Buddy’s owner Gus Guerra started the tradition of baking Sicilian-style pizza dough in blue steel pans in 1946 and the business has been going strong ever since. Covered with brick cheese and drizzled with sauce, a trip to this spot isn’t complete without at least one caramelized corner slice.

17125 Conant St
Detroit, MI 48212

2. Polish Village Cafe

2990 Yemans St, Hamtramck, MI 48212

Hamtramck attracted many Polish immigrants in the first half of the 20th century with the population reaching its peak in the 1970s and much of that Eastern European influence can still be found at the city’s restaurants and bakeries. Located inside a former hotel, this family-owned Polish restaurant has been serving up classic dishes in a basement restaurant since 1976. People from the suburbs and beyond still return to Polish Village Cafe time and again for its homestyle fried and boiled pierogi, smoked kielbasa, and city chicken.

2990 Yemans St
Hamtramck, MI 48212

3. Selden Standard

3921 2nd Ave, Detroit, MI 48201

Located in Cass Corridor, Selden Standard was an early entrant in a wave of New American restaurants that swept Detroit in 2014 and drew the intense attention of diners both locally and nationally. Over the years, the restaurant has maintained its status for exquisite Detroit seasonal dishes such as charred octopus and squid ink chittara pasta. The menu is rounded out with an intriguing drink list featuring everything from sake to Swiss cider. Don’t overlook the pastries from Eater Young Gun Lena Sareini.

3921 2nd Ave
Detroit, MI 48201

4. Supino Pizzeria

2457 Russell St, Detroit, MI 48207

On weekends in Eastern Market, there’s inevitably a wait at this Russell Street pizzeria beloved by Detroit visitors and locals alike. Supino is known for its big foldable slices that can be ordered for carryout, but the restaurant smartly added more dine-in seating a few years back that made a slight dent in the Saturday lunch lines. Visit on a weekday to bypass some of the mayhem and don’t overlook the cannoli for dessert.

2457 Russell St
Detroit, MI 48207

5. Detroit Vegan Soul

8029 Agnes St, Detroit, MI 48214

Thanks to organizations like PETA and a variety of vegetarian-friendly guides awareness of this casual West Village dining spot stretches well beyond the borders of Detroit. Meat eaters and vegans alike, love Detroit Vegan Soul’s comfort food menu that features options like seitan pepper steak, “catfish” tofu sandwiches, and veggie burgers.

8029 Agnes St
Detroit, MI 48214

6. Wright & Company

1500 Woodward Ave floor 2, Detroit, MI 48226
Wright & Company.
Wright & Company.
Michelle and Chris Gerard

Detroit Optimist Society, owners of some of the city’s best loved cocktail bars, opened this stunning second story restaurant and lounge in 2014 and it quickly became a favorite spot to name drop on Motor City travel guides. Wright & Company is a good way to sample some of the city’s best drinks while sharing plates of pork belly sliders and crab cakes. For those who can score a seat near the windows, the restaurant offers lovely views of Woodward Avenue.

1500 Woodward Ave floor 2
Detroit, MI 48226

7. Roast

1128 Washington Blvd, Detroit, MI 48226

While locals know it for the delicious happy hour burger, out-of-towners are more familiar with this Westin Book Cadillac restaurant’s celebrity chef owner Michael Symon. Symon opened the high-end steakhouse downtown in 2008 and the Detroit Free Press named it Restaurant of the Year in 2009, sealing its fate as a destination restaurant. Ten years later Detroit’s downtown dining scene is a lot more crowded, but Roast still keeps people coming back for celebratory meals of roasted bone marrow and dry-aged steaks.

1128 Washington Blvd
Detroit, MI 48226

8. American Coney Island

114 W Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI 48226

This flat iron-shaped coney island has been serving hot dogs topped with chili, mustard, and onions in downtown Detroit for more than 100 years. American is often compared to its slightly younger neighbor, but the third-generation family-owned establishment maintains that its coneys have the best flavor and snap. Thanks to the affordable prices, it’s easy to try both spots and join the debate.

114 W Lafayette Blvd
Detroit, MI 48226

9. Lafayette Coney Island

118 W Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI 48226

As the tale goes, Bill Keros (brother of American Coney Island founder Gust Keros) opened his competing coney island called Lafayette in 1924 and later gave the restaurant to his employees. Whereas American Coney Island has a polished and patriotic feel, Lafayette maintains a little more of a greasy spoon ambiance. The menus are largely the same with the featured item being a hot dog topped with chili, mustard, and onions on a steamed bun. The waiters at Lafayette also have an impressive skill for carrying a dozen coneys at once. Cash-only.

118 W Lafayette Blvd
Detroit, MI 48226

10. The Apparatus Room

Detroit Foundation Hotel, 250 W Larned St, Detroit, MI 48226

Thanks to its location at the base of one of Detroit’s newest and hottest hotels and its menu developed by chef Thomas Lents, visitors and Detroiters alikes are drawn to the Apparatus Room. The restaurant, which fills a former fire station, boasts big windows and tall ceilings with a stunning central bar. The spot can get busy around dinner with customers seeking out dishes like the coney-inspired beef heart bolognese and 36-hour braised veal. For those lucky enough to score a reservation, Lents also serves a multi-course tasting menu on weekends at the 12-seat Chef’s Table overlooking the main dining room.

Detroit Foundation Hotel, 250 W Larned St
Detroit, MI 48226

11. Batch Brewing Company

1400 Porter St, Detroit, MI 48216

Batch Brewing Company has become a mecca for beer lovers looking to try local brews. The Corktown brewery keeps a rotating selection of beers on tap running the gamut from kölsch to gose and even offers frozen beer slushies. In addition to the drinks, Batch’s menu serves a Upper Peninsula specialty — pasties — alongside big platters of nachos and bread pudding.

1400 Porter St
Detroit, MI 48216

12. Slows Bar BQ

2138 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216

Opening in 2005 across from the vacant Michigan Central Station in Corktown, Slows gained a following for its barbecue and also became somewhat of a cliche in national reporting about the Detroit dining scene. While the narrative around Slows became tiresome for Detroiters, the food never did. Slows still maintains its landmark status in a neighborhood that’s developed a buzzy dining scene. Meat lovers will find plenty to like at this spot. The Reason topped with pulled pork in North Carolina sauce, cole slaw, and dill pickles is one of the best sandwiches around. For a sample of the different smoke meats Slows has to offer, check out the Big Three.

2138 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48216

13. Green Dot Stables

2200 West Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI 48216

According to lore this equestrian-themed bar was once owned by a horse racing jockey, but in 2012 it gained new life as a bar and restaurant slinging $3 cocktails and gourmet sliders. The combination was an instant hit and continues to draw big dinner crowd. The restaurant was popular enough to inspire a spinoff location in Lansing and another in Malaysia. For the original casual ambiance with mystery meat sliders, check out the Corktown establishment.

2200 West Lafayette Blvd
Detroit, MI 48216

14. Xochimilco Restaurant

3409 Bagley St, Detroit, MI 48216

Like the canal-filled borough of Mexico City for which it’s named, this venerable Mexicantown district have been drawing diners from the city and the surrounding suburbs for decades. The frozen margaritas, extra cheesy enchiladas, and massive piles of nachos keep customers coming back.

3409 Bagley St
Detroit, MI 48216

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