At Detroit Athletic Co., we are often asked by our customers to recommend a nearby restaurant. Since our family has been in Corktown since 1942, we know where to grab a great meal in the neighborhood. Surprisingly, there are many more great choices in Corktown since the Detroit Tigers left for Comerica Park in 2000. What follows is a list of the places that we actually frequent. Here’s the 2017 Top 10 list of our favorite restaurants in the old Tiger Stadium neighborhood:
#10. BUCHAREST GRILLE, 1623 Michigan Avenue
From morning ’til night, the incredible aroma of Bucharest Grille fills the Corktown neighborhood. Marinated grilled chicken smoke fills the air and if the wind is blowing just right, a tantalizing scent will practically lift you off the pavement.
Folks come from far and wide to line up for what many consider to be the best shawarma sandwich this side of Beirut. Located on Michigan Avenue, directly across from where Tiger Stadium used to stand, this place has quickly become one of Corktown’s hottest restaurants. Expect to wait in line at peak hours, but the wait is definitely worth it.
Our favorite item on the menu: The Chicken Shawarma
#9. MERCURY BURGER BAR, 2163 Michigan Avenue
If you’re in the mood for a great burger and fries, the Mercury Bar is a sound choice. Located near the old train station and across the street from Slows BBQ, the Mercury cranks out a wide selection of unique fashion burgers that’ll leave your taste buds begging for more. But it’s the hand-cut french fries and tater tots that seem to get everyone excited. You’ll love it.
Our favorite items on the menu: the Blue Apple Burger; Hand-Cut Fries with Sea Salt & Black Pepper
#8. THE DETROIT INSTITUTE OF BAGELS, 1236 Michigan Avenue
What a cool little spot this is! Every now and then, we sneak down the street to grab a sandwich and a cup of coffee at the Detroit Institute of Bagels. The owners have created a welcoming place to stay for a while to enjoy your meal.
The employees are hipster-types and incredibly nice and accommodating. And did we mention the bagels? Top shelf! This is a great place for a quick, satisfying bite.
Our favorite items on the menu: Rosemary Olive Oil Bagel; Goodfella Sandwich; DIB Grill Breakfast Sandwich
#7. GOLD CASH GOLD, 2100 Michigan Avenue
Leave it to the creative guys who first came up with Slows BBQ to turn an old pawn shop into a fine dining establishment. Instead of downplaying the shady history of the building, the owners embraced it and kept the pawn shop’s grandfathered sign (which the city would never allow for new construction) and even the name comes from the crude advertising that was hand-painted onto the pawn shop decades ago: GOLD, CASH, GOLD! Three cheers for creativity!
But it’s definitely the food that’ll keep you coming back. Do you like fried chicken? You will savor every bite of the pickle brine marinated chicken that GCG fries to order. It’s incredible. Gold Cash Gold does have some funky hours, however (only open for dinner during the week), but it’s become a hotspot for weekend brunch.
Our favorite items on the menu: Pickle Brine Fried Chicken and Waffle; Blackened Jerk Steak
#6. OTTAVA VIA, 1400 Michigan Avenue
This is the one restaurant in Corktown that usually surprises people. It’s the only Italian eatery within miles of Corktown, but that’s what made it such a welcome addition when it opened in 2013. Located across 8th Street from Nemo’s Bar, Ottava Via is also housed in a defunct pawn shop — albeit a fancier one than the one that houses Gold Cash Gold.
The food is light and satisfying: pizzas, pastas, soups and salads and small plates of Italian favorites. It’s not standard Corktown fare, but hey, that’s probably a good thing!
Our favorite items on the menu: Truffle Butter Pasta; Tuscan Braised Short Rib
#5. NEMO’S BAR, 1384 Michigan Avenue
Like Detroit Athletic Co., Nemo’s is a remnant of game days at old Tiger Stadium. Everyone in the burger business seems to keep trying to top the next guy, but if you want a good, old fashioned, the-way-they-were-meant-to-be burger, Nemo’s is the place to go. The ordering process is unorthodox and so is the payment method. Everyone is on the honor system. We’re very glad Nemo’s stayed in Corktown when the Tigers left. It is certainly one of Detroit’s landmarks.
Our favorite items on the menu: Cheeseburger; Chicken Salad Sandwich on Toasted Rye; Better-Made Potato Chips
#4. MUDGIE’S DELI, 1300 Porter Street
Mudgie’s is off the beaten path, but definitely worth the trip. This isn’t just a great Corktown deli; this place is on par with Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor — if not better. The menu features fantastic deli sandwiches that require a dozen napkins and some finger-licking to complete. But you’ll love every single bite and want to get back in line for another. You’ll be proud to bring your non-Detroit friends to Mudgie’s so you can pretend you know your way around the old neighborhood.
Our favorite items on the menu: Corned Beef Reuben; Stinson Sandwich
[bctt tweet=”Mudgie’s is off the beaten path, but definitely worth the trip. This isn’t just a great Corktown deli; this place is on par with Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor — if not better. ” username=”detroitathletic”]
#3. LOS GALANES, 3362 Bagley Avenue
So technically, Los Galanes isn’t really in Corktown, but it’s just a short drive away in Mexicantown. Los Galanes is what Mexican food is supposed to be: incredibly delicious, fresh and authentic. This restaurant is one of the only places in Mexicantown that has an airy and pleasing ambiance. And did we mention that the food is fantastic? Los Galanes is our go-to place for out of town guests and large parties.
Our favorite items on the menu: Quesadillas with Steak; Botana; Crispy Tacos
#2. SLOWS BBQ, 2138 Michigan Avenue
Man, is there anyone alive who hasn’t eaten at Slows? It has unquestionably become the landmark establishment in our neighborhood. “Where are you located? Oh, you’re right down the street from Slows!” We hear it every day! And it is definitely a treat to have such a great BBQ place within walking distance.
Slows was the catalyst for Corktown’s rebirth and it continues to be a worthwhile destination for foodies from all over the region. It’s the kind of place that will probably be here 100 years from now. Great barbecue ribs, brisket, pulled pork — and the sides! You gotta have the sides! If there’s a line, get in it and don’t leave until you’ve stuffed yourself.
Our favorite items on the menu: The Reason; The Longhorn; Waffle Fries; Brisket Coney Fries; Pit Smoked Beans
#1. GREEN DOT STABLES, 2200 W Lafayette Blvd
We have a confession to make: we’re addicted to this place. Seriously. How on earth these folks figured out a way to create incredible meals on small, cardboard trays, we’ll never know. But thank goodness they did. We usually arrive no later than 11:30 AM for lunch in order to beat the rush. Whenever we take someone here for the first time, they inevitably come back on their own. Everything on the menu is around $2 to $3 but you’ll more than likely order 5 or 6 things. The beef in their cheeseburger slider is better than Filet Mignon.
Our favorite items on the menu: Cheeseburger sliders; Truffle Fries; Clam Chowder; Tortilla Soup
[bctt tweet=”A Top 10 list of our favorite restaurants in the old Tiger Stadium neighborhood.” username=”detroitathletic”]