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Hamtramck.
Hamtramck.

Where to Dine and Drink in Hamtramck

Eater's resident Hamtramck expert provides her picks for where to dine in Hamtown, a city with a high-density of fusion cuisine.

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Hamtramck.

Hamtramck's already established culinary scene has experienced some notable additions in recent years, with experimental kitchens and pop-up venues like revolver now neighboring longtime dining favorites from Eastern Europe, South Asia, and the Middle East.

Serena Maria Daniels, Eater Detroit's resident Hamtramck expert, has put together an extensive list of Hamtown dining options—old and new. While there are a surprising number of hidden gems tucked into Hamtramck's 2.1-square-miles that we've not mentioned, this list should provide locals and outsiders alike with a helpful refresher to the neighborhood cuisine.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Rock City Eatery

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The experimental kitchen behind Nikita Sanches’ popular restaurant attracts discriminating food critics, curious suburbanites, and local Hamtramckans/Detroiters alike. Fans go for the mac-n-cheese, served in a bowl made of crispy parmesan, affordable craft cocktails, concocted by Eater Awards-nominated bartender Ricky Ruggero, and, of course, the pies that got Sanches started.

Campau Tower

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In the mood for a classic burger? How about a hot dog, pork bun, or a basket of tater tots? Campau Tower has all that covered. The mastermind behind Rock City Eatery resurrected the shuttered 24-hour joint when it closed last spring and transformed the menu into a creative, yet approachable spot for blue collar locals and late night hipsters alike.

Desi pizza

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For a legit take on New York City-style street food, take out from his unassuming joint has a variety of Bengali and American-inspired offerings. The menu is affordable and diverse. Think chicken tikka pizza, New York gyro plates, halal Coneys, and Chinese fried rice. This no-muss, no-fuss kitchen is open late too.

Amar pizza

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This critically acclaimed pizzeria on Bangladesh Avenue (otherwise known as Conant), has captured a national curiosity with its Bengladeshi-inspired pies with flavors like naga (chicken, red onions, cilantro and naga sauce), tandoori, and ghost pepper. The menu also includes halal franks with the same sauces, an Amar burger, and biryani.

Yemen Cafe

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Simplicity is key to the menu here and judging by the consistent lines of Yemeni and American diners who frequent this establishment, it looks like simplicity is just the formula to Yemen Café’s success. The aromatic, moist half chicken special is a no-brainer, as is the Gallaba in either chicken or lamb. A side of flavorful rice or a pizza pan-sized order of flat bread nicely sop up that juicy, meaty goodness. Call orders ahead of time because this place gets packed.

Bon Bon Bon

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Chocolatier Alexandra Clark's sweet shop, known for its handcrafted, Detroit-themed bon bons has garnered national acclaim from the likes of Martha Stewart. Open to the public only on Saturdays, Clark uses the space to produce her artisanal treats wholesale to high-end boutique hotels, natural food grocers and online customers.

Motor City Sports Bar

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The cheeseburgers here are classic, huge patties with American cheese melting over the side—the beef perfectly seasoned. The burgers regularly make the cut for one of Metro Detroit’s best burgers. The menu also includes gyros, chicken pitas and other deep-fried bar staples. If you’re not in the mood for a burger, however, we recommend trying the house specialty – chevapi, a dish of grilled minced meat, specific to the Balkans region of Eastern Europe. Add a side of waffle fries and a $6 pitcher of draft and the meal is complete for you and your game times buddies.

Maine Street Restaurant & Spirits

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This unabashed greasy spoon-style diner is Hamtramck’s unofficial cafeteria, where on any given weekday, many a City Hall office worker can be seen seated at one of the booths or picking up carry-out orders. On Saturdays, Maine Street is a hub for club kids and barflies nursing hangovers with its hearty breakfast platters (we recommend the gyro and eggs) served all day. For lunch and dinner this place has you covered. Offerings range from Greek to Italian to Mediterranean dishes as well as surf and turf.

Royal Kabob

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This Yemeni-style Middle Eastern eatery is a Hamtramck institution and a favorite spot for hungry Detroit police officers on break. Platters like the shish kafta, shish tawook and lamb chops make generous family-style meals. Or for a deal, grab a sandwich wrap, with choice of vegetarian or a variety of meats.

Aladdin Sweets & Cafe

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This Bengali spot is always buzzing with customers of all backgrounds. For vegetarians, we recommend the shag paneer (homemade cheese fried with spinach) and for meat eaters, the chicken dansak is succulent (just make sure to ask for boneless if you don’t want to have to eat around bones). Regulars are often seen picking up any number of sweet baked goods. This place open as late as midnight sometimes offers delivery.

Polish Village Cafe

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Check out one of the culinary institutions that helped put Hamtramck on the map. The stick-to-your-ribs menu is the kind of comfort food that keeps Hamtown ex-pats coming back. Weekends are especially packed in this basement restaurant, with guests digging in on classic entrees like stuffed cabbage, city chicken, dill pickle soup, kielbasa and those complimentary slices of rye bread neatly packaged in sandwich bags. This place is cash only, but there’s an ATM machine upstairs.

Polonia Restaurant

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Depending on who you ask around town, you’ll hear Polish Village or Polonia as their favorite Polish food spot. Polonia gets points as it’s usually not as packed and offers all of the classic dishes one would come to expect in an Eastern European kitchen.

Sheeba Restaurant

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You can't miss this spot, thanks to a powerful mural painted on its exterior by artist Dasic Fernandez that illustrates the city's Yemeni population. The restaurant offers a friendly atmosphere with inviting staff who don’t mind explaining their specialties to folks who might not be familiar with the menu, which is printed in both Arabic and English. We suggest the lamb platter, large enough for a party of two to share.

Cafe 1923

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This historic building erected in 1923 today is a haven for creatives in need of a Wi-Fi-accessable office space, reasonably-priced cups of Joe, and other specialty coffee drinks. The cafe also offers a friendly, laid back atmosphere where the regulars know each other by name. Have a seat up front on one of the pews or in the cozy library further back. Sandwiches and salads served daily. Bagels are served on Sundays and recently the café began sourcing salads and soups from the Detroit Zen Center. The walls are beautifully adorned with works commissioned by Hamtramck's Hatch art gallery. Credit cards now accepted with $5 minimum purchase.

Delite Cafe & Deli

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A relative newcomer to Hamtown, Delite Café offers guests a cool, sleek atmosphere to study (Wi-Fi is free), watch television on a huge flat screen or lounge on cushy sofas with friends. The coffee bar is sourced from Great Lakes. A variety of deli-style sandwiches feature Boar’s Head meats and cheeses (which can be purchased as a stand-alone or by the pound). We recommend the jerk turkey chicken sandwich and ask for horseradish pickles. Soups, salads, smoothies, and ice cream is also available.

Kelly's Bar

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What was once a watering hole packed with line workers from American Axle, Kelly’s has since rebilled itself as a venue for local live music acts. On top of cheap beers and rockin’ shows, owner Brad Ruff opens his kitchen for $.50 tacos on Thursdays, as well as homemade pierogis prepared by his lovely lady Patti Banas, “old” Campau Tower cheeseburgers, and pizza. The kitchen is only open during limited hours, generally earlier in the evening when Ruff is working.

The Painted Lady

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Speaking of dive bar food, Wednesday nights at the Painted Lady is where barflies will find Timmy’s Tacos, prepared by rocker bartender Timmy Lampinen. He cooks up a rotation of stewed meats like spicy, marinated pork carnitas. For vegetarians, a fan favorite are his take on charro beans. Homemade salsas with ingredients sourced from Hamtramck's favorite grocer Al-Haramain or Honey Bee Market in Mexicantown. Lampinen’s taqueria is, shall we say, unofficial so be prepared to pay cash.

Al Qamar Pizza

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Al-Qamar offers up a number of American classics, including pizza and subs, as well as Middle Eastern-inspired and Mediterranean items—all prepared halal and all the makings for a cross-cultural experience found only in Hamtramck.

(revolver)

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Revolver helped pave the way for pop-up venues like Yemans Street, with its inviting space and inventive cuisine. This reservation-only spot is currently open on Friday and Saturday nights with limited seating and dinners sell out fast.

Three Star BarBQ

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Go for the ribs, stay for the atmosphere. This spot has a little bit of everything that one might look for in an old school BBQ joint—full bar, TV for game watching, and a menu with enough comfort food to cure any hangover. And did we mention the ribs?

Bonoful Sweets & Coffee

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This establishment offers authentic Bengali cuisine in an inviting, sit-down environment. The menu leans toward Indo-Chinese traditions and offers vegetarian, seafood, tandoor, and some American fare.

Yemans St

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Simply named Yemans Street, this restuarant is situated directly across from Polish Village Café. In the few months this pop-up venue has been in operation, guests have experienced rotation of popular and emerging chefs, including Brendon Edwards, James Rigato of The Root and Jay Gundy of Cork in Pleasant Ridge. The space offers communal seating for up to 60 and reservations are made online.

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Rock City Eatery

The experimental kitchen behind Nikita Sanches’ popular restaurant attracts discriminating food critics, curious suburbanites, and local Hamtramckans/Detroiters alike. Fans go for the mac-n-cheese, served in a bowl made of crispy parmesan, affordable craft cocktails, concocted by Eater Awards-nominated bartender Ricky Ruggero, and, of course, the pies that got Sanches started.

Campau Tower

In the mood for a classic burger? How about a hot dog, pork bun, or a basket of tater tots? Campau Tower has all that covered. The mastermind behind Rock City Eatery resurrected the shuttered 24-hour joint when it closed last spring and transformed the menu into a creative, yet approachable spot for blue collar locals and late night hipsters alike.

Desi pizza

For a legit take on New York City-style street food, take out from his unassuming joint has a variety of Bengali and American-inspired offerings. The menu is affordable and diverse. Think chicken tikka pizza, New York gyro plates, halal Coneys, and Chinese fried rice. This no-muss, no-fuss kitchen is open late too.

Amar pizza

This critically acclaimed pizzeria on Bangladesh Avenue (otherwise known as Conant), has captured a national curiosity with its Bengladeshi-inspired pies with flavors like naga (chicken, red onions, cilantro and naga sauce), tandoori, and ghost pepper. The menu also includes halal franks with the same sauces, an Amar burger, and biryani.

Yemen Cafe

Simplicity is key to the menu here and judging by the consistent lines of Yemeni and American diners who frequent this establishment, it looks like simplicity is just the formula to Yemen Café’s success. The aromatic, moist half chicken special is a no-brainer, as is the Gallaba in either chicken or lamb. A side of flavorful rice or a pizza pan-sized order of flat bread nicely sop up that juicy, meaty goodness. Call orders ahead of time because this place gets packed.

Bon Bon Bon

Chocolatier Alexandra Clark's sweet shop, known for its handcrafted, Detroit-themed bon bons has garnered national acclaim from the likes of Martha Stewart. Open to the public only on Saturdays, Clark uses the space to produce her artisanal treats wholesale to high-end boutique hotels, natural food grocers and online customers.

Motor City Sports Bar

The cheeseburgers here are classic, huge patties with American cheese melting over the side—the beef perfectly seasoned. The burgers regularly make the cut for one of Metro Detroit’s best burgers. The menu also includes gyros, chicken pitas and other deep-fried bar staples. If you’re not in the mood for a burger, however, we recommend trying the house specialty – chevapi, a dish of grilled minced meat, specific to the Balkans region of Eastern Europe. Add a side of waffle fries and a $6 pitcher of draft and the meal is complete for you and your game times buddies.

Maine Street Restaurant & Spirits

This unabashed greasy spoon-style diner is Hamtramck’s unofficial cafeteria, where on any given weekday, many a City Hall office worker can be seen seated at one of the booths or picking up carry-out orders. On Saturdays, Maine Street is a hub for club kids and barflies nursing hangovers with its hearty breakfast platters (we recommend the gyro and eggs) served all day. For lunch and dinner this place has you covered. Offerings range from Greek to Italian to Mediterranean dishes as well as surf and turf.

Royal Kabob

This Yemeni-style Middle Eastern eatery is a Hamtramck institution and a favorite spot for hungry Detroit police officers on break. Platters like the shish kafta, shish tawook and lamb chops make generous family-style meals. Or for a deal, grab a sandwich wrap, with choice of vegetarian or a variety of meats.

Aladdin Sweets & Cafe

This Bengali spot is always buzzing with customers of all backgrounds. For vegetarians, we recommend the shag paneer (homemade cheese fried with spinach) and for meat eaters, the chicken dansak is succulent (just make sure to ask for boneless if you don’t want to have to eat around bones). Regulars are often seen picking up any number of sweet baked goods. This place open as late as midnight sometimes offers delivery.