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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Urbanrest Brewing Co. is opening a second Ferndale location this summer. Perhaps more important, it’s going to serve beer ice cream. Owners Zach Typinsky, Mary Typinsky and Scott O’Keefe announced Friday on Facebook and Instagram that they are “through the roof excited” to open the new taproom at 210 W. Nine Mile in downtown Ferndale, saying: “Since our inception, our goal has been to dig deeper rather than wider.
Three Floyds Brewing, the Munster, Ind.-based brewery founded in 1996 that has long been considered one of America’s best and most influential independent craft breweries, announced Wednesday it will begin distributing to Michigan, the only surrounding state where it currently does not have a footprint. It will begin selling on taps next week and in packages on beer shelves in August.
Brew Detroit unveiled its latest brew in partnership with the professional soccer club Detroit City FC, called Smoke Delay IPA, a 4.8% session IPA dry-hopped with Mosaic and Lotus hops. It’s available now at the contract brewer’s Detroit taproom, in stores and at Detroit City FC matches all summer long.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic brought a lot of change and uncertainty to Michigan craft beer, there are still plenty of new and exciting beers to try, and there are plenty of breweries across the state to keep your eyes on. Here are five to look out for in beer stores near you (or, of course, if you’re in the area, consider curbside pickup!).
New Holland Brewing Co., perhaps best known for its year-round bourbon barrel-aged stout Dragon’s Milk, has unveiled Dragon’s Share, a line of bourbon barrel seltzers featuring original, orange, cherry and blackberry flavors.
The Grand Haven-based brewer’s extensive line of hard seltzers is drawing rave reviews from even beer enthusiasts and can’t stay on store shelves long enough for Odd Side Ales to keep up, forcing the 10-year-old microbrewery to add six 60-barrel fermenters to its production facility in late 2020.
Whango, at 4.9% alcohol by volume, is an American-style wheat ale brewed with real mango, creating a soft, fruity and flavorful ale. It’s typically released during the spring and summer months, much like Bell’s Brewery’s Oberon Ale, but took 2020 off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ope, sorry, just gonna sneak this breaking beer story past ya real quick. Called No, Yeah — in Midwestern, that means yes — this “easy drinking golden ale” is crisp, dry and clocks in at 4.5% alcohol by volume.
Contact Detroit Free Press food writer Sue Selasky and send food and restaurant news to: 313-222-6872 or [email protected] Follow @SusanMariecooks on Twitter.
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