June 4, 2023


Be Inspired By Food

Metro Detroit food and dining: Your summer 2021 guide

Baby back ribs are smoking inside this Weber grill

Restaurants and bars across the state suffered tremendously during the COVID-19 pandemic, with some places closing for good and others scaling back. 

The entire restaurant landscape has changed. But as more restrictions are lifted, including capacity limits, eateries are gearing up. 

Many restaurant owners are forging ahead opening new spots or expanding operations. From pizza joints to a new farm-to-table spot and places that are getting a revamp, the Free Press is here to help with our guide to food and dining.

And as the warmer weather hits, people are eager to host backyard gatherings and barbecues. From tips for juicy burgers to smoky ribs and cool salads for potlucks, we’ve got you covered with a wide range of ideas.

Be sure to check back as we’ll be updating throughout the summer with more dining options, food and craft beer favorites.

Metro Detroit dining highlights

Top 10 Takeover dining series returns

The popular Detroit Free Press/Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers Top 10 Takeover dining series is returning for 2021. Dining events take place every other week through Nov. 1.  This Top 10 Takeover series honors the chefs named Detroit Free Press/Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers 2021 Food Fighters, who used food to make a difference in their communities during the pandemic. 

Coriander Kitchen & Farm is slated to open at the former Fisherman's Marina in Detroit's canal district in the fall of 2020.

Arrive by car, boat or kayak at Coriander Kitchen in Detroit 

After a two-year extensive renovation, the much-anticipated opening of Coriander Kitchen is here. The farm-to-table restaurant in Detroit’s canal district is in the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood at the former Tommy’s and Fisherman’s Marina on Riverside and nearby several Detroit parks. 

Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs will be the menu highlight at Hazels on the Eastern Shore in Birmingham.

Chesapeake Bay blue crab in Birmingham

Hazel, Ravines and Downtown is rolling out the brown paper and getting cracking. The Chesapeake Bay blue crabs are being brought into the downtown Birmingham eatery that has found a niche with seasonal seafood.  It’s a take-off of the classic East Coast-style crab feasts with seasoned crabs spilled out onto paper-lined tables. Look for its Lobster menu to return after crab season. 

Oak and Reel dining room.

These new restaurants opened amid the coronavirus pandemic [For subscribers]

The number of new restaurants that opened last year was shorter than usual because of the pandemic. Some did move forward with openings, though the pandemic was still marching on.

Jeds Detroit chef and owner Max Hardy sits in the lobby of his takeout business in Detroit on February 22, 2021.

Detroit pizza joints were popular during the pandemic [For subscribers]

Chef Max Hardy bought an old pizza joint in March planning to turn it into a new quick-service pizza and wing restaurant. A little more than a week later the shutdown came. Nine months later, Hardy finally opened Jed’s Detroit.

Supino Pizzeria opens a second location in Detroit's New Center area.

Supino Pizzeria opens second location in New Center

Pizza places fared well during the pandemic as a go-to carry-out option. Fans of East Coast-style pizza now can get a taste of ‘za from an Eastern Market favorite in Detroit’s New Center. Supino Pizzeria, known for its thin-crust pizzas, opened a second location on Woodward in New Center in February.

Westborn Market teamed with Short's Brewery to launch Market Legend IPA

 A new Short’s beer is exclusive to Westborn Market [For subscribers]

Westborn Market has teamed up with Short’s Brewing and launched its own craft beer for the summer. Market Legend is a tropical IPA made with Sabro hops and will be available at all four Westborn Market locations in Berkley, Dearborn, Livonia, and Plymouth. Plus, new pizza, wings and southern-style cuisine opens in metro Detroit dining scene.

The Lawn at Stonecliffe restaurant on Mackinac Island offers Mahi Mahi tacos with black bean corn salsa, queso fresco, lime crema on corn tortillas with lime rice for $16. Michigan beers are featured on the menu.

Mackinac Island restaurant and inn gets creative with al fresco dining [For subscribers]

The Inn at Stonecliffe on Mackinac Island has transformed its sweeping backyard into an al fresco dining experience with cozy outdoor patio furniture that overlooks the Mackinac Bridge, one of the longest suspension bridges in the Western Hemisphere.

Baobab Fare is in Detroit's New Center neighborhood.

Detroit’s New Center is buzzing with new East African fare restaurant

In the works for more than three years, a Detroit restaurant offering East African fare is now open. Baobab Fare is co-owned by Mamba Hamissi and Nadia Nijimbere, refugees from Burundi, Africa, the restaurant is on Woodward at the corner of Grand Boulevard in Detroit’s New Center neighborhood.

Steve Mallie owner of Mallie's Sports Grill & Bar in Southgate installs hiring signages outside of his restaurant on May 4, 2021.

Metro Detroit restaurant owners struggle to find workers [For subscribers]

After two mandate indoor dining shutdowns, restaurant owners grappled with another issue: A staffing shortage. Owners offered hiring bonuses, higher wages and better benefits. In some cases, workers still didn’t bite. 

Fried catfish fillets rolled in cornmeal on Feb. 24, 2021, at Original Redford Fish and Seafood Market that now fries up your fish on request for an extra $2 per pound.

Fish and chips

Fish is not just for Fridays during Lent. At plenty of places around metro Detroit, fish and chips have been a specialty on daily menus for decades. Here’s are some of the places around metro Detroit. 

Matt Prentice

The metro Detroit restaurant industry mourned the loss of Matt Prentice

Longtime metro Detroit chef Matt Prentice, who once ran more than a dozen restaurants, has died after a brief illness. Prentice was best known for the former Unique Restaurant Corp., which was the driving force behind many metro Detroit restaurants.

Get cooking and grilling

Brie Burger with Caramelized Onions and Spicy Mayo.

10 tips for grilling the perfect burgers

Burgers are favorites on the grill but often we get them all wrong. Americans consume some 50 billion hamburgers a year. What’s so hard about shaping some ground meat into a patty and cooking it? Here’s how to get them right all the time.

Steak should reach an internal temperature of 120 to 155 degrees, depending on  degree of desired doneness.

How to know when your meat is done cooking

When cooking beef, poultry and pork, always have an instant-read thermometer on hand. Here’s how to cook meats properly so that they’re not raw or overcooked and dry.

Sweet-and-Smoky Baby Back Ribs w/ Bourbon Barbecue Sauce, center, are a good bet for Fourth of July grilling and dining, as are All-American Red-Skin Potato Salad, left, and Tangy Cole Slaw.

Ribs: 5 sure-fire tips for grilling the perfect ribs

Baby back, spare, and St. Louis-style ribs. What’s the difference? Whether you smoke pork ribs for hours and hours or bake in the oven and finish on the grill, here’s our sure-fire guide to which ribs suit you best for rib grilling success.

Burrata, tomatoes, and crostini with prosciutto and arugula on Sunday, July 8, 2018.

5 easy appetizers and a cool drink for an outdoor summer party

Outdoor parties should be fun so don’t spend all the time in the kitchen or tending to the grill. Don’t make things so complicated that you spend too much time preparing food and not enough time with guests. Here’s are some easy summer appetizers to serve out on the deck.

Hickory Barbecued Chicken on the grill for the annual grilling story in Grosse Ile, MI, May 21,  2012. 
SUSAN TUSA/Detroit Free Press

What is brining? 

You might have heard a lot about brining and wondered what it is and why it matters. We’ve all had something from the grill that was overcooked, dry and tasteless. Brining is the way to overcome this.  Here’s why you should brine some foods before cooking or grilling.

Flavors can become sweeter or more intense when summer vegetables are kissed with the heat from a grill.

Garden-to-the-grill guide to grilling vegetables

Grilled veggies are super on the grill. They take little time and get kissed with just enough smoky essence. When your garden delivers loads of vegetables, toss them on the grill. Something happens to vegetables once they are kissed with the heat of a grill. This guide shows you how.

Grilled Salmon with avocado and tomato salsa.

How to grill salmon

Salmon is one nice firm fish and one the best to try on the grill. And that makes it ideal for grilling. For starters, salmon can take the heat. It’s a dense fish with firm flesh that holds up well to grilling directly on a hot grate. 

Summer food choices standard fare vs healthier choice Monday, June 24, 2013.
Blueberry cucumber collins.
 Jessica J. Trevino/Detroit Free Press

Get sipping with these cool drinks on hot summer days

Looking for some cool cocktails or thirst quenchers on hot summer days or for a gathering.  From classic lemonade to a fruity gin tonic these drinks will be the hit of the party. You can whip up pitchers of them or make individual servings.

The tastes of a backyard July 4th, clockwise from top left: Watermelon-Cucumber and Vodka Cooler; Spinach and Avocado Penne Pasta Salad; Spicy Pineapple Slaw; Strawberry Pretzel Terrine, Chili-Lime Flat Iron Steak.

Easy and breezy Fourth of July fare

Fourth of July is the most popular time of the year to grill. Chill out with a collection of low-effort and low-cost recipes that are a breeze to make. 

People are passionate about potato salad, and we know why.

5 tips to make the perfect potato salad

Potato salads are the go-to salad for summer gatherings and potlucks. Here are 5 ways to make the perfect potato salad. 

Michigan craft beer and seltzer

Brew Detroit's Citrus Blonde.

Top 5 Oberon alternatives for you to try this summer [For subscribers] 

Now we’re not saying you should skip the Oberon this summer. If you enjoy Oberon, drink Oberon! But there are plenty of good, local Michigan craft beer alternatives for you to try these days, and most if not all of them you’ll be able find in four-packs, six-packs or larger on the same beer shelves where you find Oberon.