Here’s How to Eat Your Way Through Detroit in One Day

Detroit is a food mecca with an abundance of options. When you plan on visiting the city, it can be hard to choose a restaurant due to the wide variety. Read more below as guest blogger Dan Fuoco from Visit Detroit provides a few tried-and-true food spots known for delicious fare. 

Breakfast 

It may be hard to get out of bed but eating breakfast at one of these Detroit locations will help anyone rise and shine!

Mercury Burger & Bar: Once you get passed the fact that it say “burger” in the name, you’ll actually find amazing breakfast entries. Mercury serves gastro pub style food which means that their dishes will tingle every taste bud!

mercury

Photo Courtesy of Visit Detroit

The Whitney: This mansion and the food in it are absolutely top notch. The best part of breakfast at The Whitney is the ambiance. From the decorated walls to the fine furniture to the marble and exquisite staircase, taking in the scenes are… breathtaking. Side Dish:This mansion located off of Woodward in Detroit’s Midtown was once the home to David Whitney, a lumber baron. There are reports of his wife’s spirit visiting the house.

Lunch

After a morning of wandering about Detroit, you’ll need a spot that will fill your tank.

7 Greens Detroit Salad Co.

7 Greens Detroit Salad Co. prides itself as a fresh destination for “healthful, great tasting food” to enjoy in a “fun, fast, casual and gourmet way” which means that it is possible to eat healthy, fast food. It’s a custom-created-salad shop with a checklist of items to add to your bowl, proving that salad creation can be fun and different – every time!

Detroit Vegan Soul

“Soul food made from whole food” is how they describe themselves. They offer vegan sandwiches, soups, salads, smoothies and sweets and will show you that vegan food can be healthy while tasting good.

vegan soul

Green Dot Stables

This is slider haven! Green Dot Stables has an assortment of sliders – 20 to be exact! Beef, chicken, lamb and more. Go with a friend or a group and remember, it’s normal to order at least 3-5 sliders per visit.

Slows Bar BQ

This corner bar made international headlines when Travel Channel’s Adam Richman featured the Yardbird on his “Best Sandwich in America” list. Slows Bar BQ is mixes southern style BBQ with some Detroit flare. They’ve made their own style and it’s no mistake that Adam visited – when you do, you’ll see why that sandwich – and others – are worthy of these titles.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Detroit

Photo Courtesy of Visit Detroit

Jolly Pumpkin

Earlier this year, President Barack Obama visited Detroit for the North American International Auto Show and visited Jolly Pumpkin for a spontaneous lunch. Best known for its pizza and beer, Jolly Pumpkin on West Canfield has become quite a popular destination for lunch, so much that President Barack Obama even dined here this winter.

Dinner

Relax and mingle with friends at these restaurants after hours hangouts.

Buddy’s Pizza

When in Detroit, you need to try Detroit-style pizza from the style’s creator: Buddy’s Pizza. Buddy’s has been in Detroit for 70 years and created Detroit style pizza shortly after. It’s a unique combination which includes a chewy dough. Deep dish and thin crust are good but if you’ve never tried Detroit-style, you’re missing out!

Roma Cafe

Detroit’s oldest Italian restaurant brings old-world flavor to the Motor City. The sauce is fresh and every dish tastes like it was air delivered that day from Italy! Make no mistake, this isn’t a “cafe” in the American diction – it’s an upscale, sit-down restaurant with speedy waiters who know you are there to eat, not network. So from the moment you sit down, it’s clear that they are there to serve.

Central Kitchen + Bar

Another gastro pub that sits in Detroit’s First National Building and serves upscale bar food – and liquid nitrogen ice cream – is Central Kitchen +Bar. The scene is trendy with Edison lighting and earthy toned decor. For lunch and dinner, it can be loud but the food is exceptional and the experience is memorable.

Bonus: Dessert

Astoria Pastry Shop

If you’re in Detroit’s Greektown, you have to stop in and grab a dessert from Astoria. This pastry shop has an assortment of traditional American sweets mixed with Greek favorites. The best part? It’s open until 11:00 P.M. which means you can indulge into the late hours of the night.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Detroit

Photo Courtesy of Visit Detroit

Detroit Water Ice Factory

Have you ever tried water ice? Think: lemon ice with multiple flavors. Each flavor is Motown-inspired and all proceeds are donated to S.A.Y. Detroit, a local charity.

Where do you love to grub in Detroit? Share in the comments!

Experience Restaurant Week in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids may be known as Beer City, USA, but the city is also a mecca for fine dining and local fare! Every year, Grand Rapids hosts Restaurant Week downtown to highlight the many diverse food options and eateries across the city. If you’re a looking for a delicious meal at a fair price, this is the event for you!

Read more on what you can expect at this year’s Restaurant Week courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids.

From August 10th through the 21st, “Taste the City” of Grand Rapids during the city’s annual Restaurant Week 2016.

Delectable dishes are available all throughout Grand Rapids during Restaurant Week

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

What is it?  Every August, at the peak of Michigan harvest season, Grand Rapids recognizes the creativity of local chefs and the bounty of local farmers.  Restaurant Week 2016 has over sixty participating locations, which means locals and visitors could eat out three meals a day for the full eleven days and STILL not exhaust their culinary options around town.  Chefs are asked to create a three course menu that showcases both creativity and Michigan farm-fresh food.  These offerings are not on the general menu, so even if it is a restaurant you’ve tried before, you can taste something new.

How much?  Restaurants around town take two approaches to the three course menu.  Some cost $28 per person for the three course offering, and others offer $28 per couple for three courses.  Many chefs offer options for each course to accommodate dietary restrictions or preference.  Ask your server to suggest a beer, wine, or cocktail pairing that might compliment your exclusive meal.

Restaurant Week allows you to explore the many fantastic eateries in GR

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

 

Enjoy a Michigan wine pairing with your steak

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

Why offer Restaurant Week?  There are many reasons that Restaurant Week GR is beneficial to the food economy of Grand Rapids, but one awesome benefit is that $1 of every three-course meal sold is given in scholarship to the Grand Rapids Community College Secchia Institute for Culinary Education.  Experience Grand Rapids has raised over $100,000 for the endowed scholarship and is excited to add to that at the end of RWGR 2016.  This support in the culinary arts educational community is raising the next generation of talented Grand Rapids chefs who will exercise their own creativity during future Restaurant Weeks!

When is it, again?  Try Restaurant Week is happening now through August 21st. A list of all participating restaurants and their three-course offerings is available here: peruse and choose, but be sure the restaurant you pick is open when you’re ready to feast!  Will you choose the coffee crusted pork chop with sour cream whipped potatoes, fried kale, cherry & cabernet from Cork Wine and Grille? Or perhaps you’d prefer to start off with summer corn soup, barbecued shrimp, charred spring onion and corn salad from Olives Restaurant and Bar in Gaslight Village?    Document your edible experience on social media using #RWGR, and happy eating!

Where is your favorite place to grab a bite in Grand Rapids? Share with us by commenting below!

All in the Family: 4 of Michigan’s Iconic Multi-Generational Businesses

Father’s Day serves as a time to be with family and share memories of the past. In Michigan, we have many distinctive family-run companies which not only maintain their roots as historic businesses, but they are paying attention to current trends and looking to the future to thrive for new generations. Read more as Dianna Stampfler of Promote Michigan shares the history behind four multi-generational businesses.

1. Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island—First opened in 1887, this National Historic Landmark has been operated by the current family for 83 years. In the midst of the Great Depression in 1933, W. Stewart Woodfill (who was hired as a desk clerk in 1919) was the sole bidder to take the hotel out of receivership and preserve its place in history.

His nephew, R. D. (Dan) Musser Jr., began working at the hotel as a college student in 1951. In 1979, Dan and his wife, Amelia, purchased the seasonal property on America’s most noted island and began the task of redesigning both the interior and exterior spaces, with the help of architect Richard Boss and decorator Carleton Varney.

Grand Hotel is as iconic as any other destination in Michigan

Photo Courtesy of Dianna Stampfler of Promote Michigan

Dan Musser III grew up in the family business—serving as kitchen assistant, bellman, bartender, bar manager, front desk clerk and manager, reservations manager and vice president, before being named President in 1989 and officially taking over the 390-room “Green Certified” hotel in 2011 (along with all the outlying properties: The Jewel Golf Course, The Gatehouse Restaurant, Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor, Jockey Club, Woods Restaurant, Cawthorne’s Village Inn and the new Grand Sushi which just opened this summer.

2. Schuler’s Restaurant, Marshall—In 1909, a young orphaned Albert Schuler (a name he acquired from a traveling butcher who took him in after his mother died and his father abandoned him) became an entrepreneur, building the foundation for what has become one of Michigan’s most noted restaurants in historic downtown Marshall.

Bert’s first business was a cigar shop, followed by a small café, hotel and restaurant. It was here that second-generation Winston “Win” Schuler and his brother, Albert Jr., brought national attention to the restaurant, with at one time nine locations around the state (and one in Indiana).

Shuler's Restaurant in Marshall is a local favorite

Photo Courtesy of Dianna Stampfler of Promote Michigan

“While it was expected that I would follow in the footsteps of my father and grandfather, it was a path I was actually eager to take,” says third-generation owner Hans Schuler, who officially joined the business in 1959 and in 1970 became President of the company, purchasing it from his father upon his retirement in the 1980s.

Larry Schuler is the fourth-generation to work in the family business and serve as a leader in the state’s hospitality industry. He is currently the president of Schu’s Hospitality and is a consultant for The Henry Ford Museum & Institutions in Dearborn.

3. Stafford’s Hospitality, Petoskey Area—It could be said that Stafford Smith was born to be a hotelier in the Petoskey area. Although his family was from the downstate town of Albion, they were vacationing in Petoskey when he made his appearance into the world. Today, his name is synonymous with hospitality in this lakeshore region.

He was just 22 years old in April, 1961 when he purchased the Bay View Inn. Originally built in 1886, this charming vintage inn is Stafford’s flagship property nestled along the shores of Little Traverse Bay. The Pier Restaurant in downtown Harbor Springs became the next acquisition (1970), followed by the Earl Young-built Weathervane Restaurant in Charlevoix (1986), the Perry Hotel (pictured below) (1989), the Gallery (2007), the Crooked River Lodge in Alanson (2011) and the Draw Bridge Bistro in downtown Charlevoix (2014).

The Perry Hotel is one of Smith's many popular destinations

Photo Courtesy of Dianna Stampfler of Promote Michigan

Stafford R. “Reg” Smith is the eldest child of Stafford Smith, and his wife of 55-years, Janice. He grew up in the business, having worked in nearly every capacity at the Inn. During the 1990s, Reg and his wife, Lori, together served as innkeepers at the Bay View Inn. Today, Reg is the Vice President of Hotels for Stafford’s Hospitality’s seven regional properties.

4. Zehnder’s, Frankenmuth—The first restaurant meals served in Frankenmuth were at the Exchange Hotel in 1856, just 11 years after the town’s founding. In 1928, William and Emilie Zehnder sold their 80-acre farm and borrowed the balance of the funds necessary for the $8,000 down payment to purchase the hotel. They opened on Mother’s Day, 1929 and on that first day served 312 guests, for just one dollar each.

The 1950s were a pivotal decade as the Zehnder family purchased the competition, the Fischer’s Hotel (where the community’s family-style chicken dinner originated), and named Tiny Zehnder as manager. Within a few years, Tiny suggested to the family that they remodel the building, adding character through Bavarian architecture. The entire family agreed and by 1959 the newly named Bavarian Inn opened with a grand celebration—the foundation to Frankenmuth’s Bavarian Festival, which is still celebrated to this day.

Zehnder's Restaurant is a must-visit when exploring Frankenmuth

Photo Courtesy of Dianna Stampfler of Promote Michigan

Despite financial setbacks, the Zehnder family continued to invest in its businesses and community, helping to create an unquestionable pride in its German heritage. The successful transformation of Fischer’s Hotel to the Bavarian Inn helped to encourage other Frankenmuth property owners to develop what is now “Michigan’s Little Bavaria.”

Bavarian Inn continues to be a staple in Frankenmuth

Photo Courtesy of Dianna Stampfler of Promote Michigan

Today, the third generation of the Zehnder family are still currently involved in the day-to-day operations of their expanded businsses. The Bavarian Inn branch of the family (under the guidance of their 95-year-old matriarch, Dorothy Zehnder) oversees the Bavarian Inn Restaurant, the Bavarian Inn Lodge and the River Place Shops. The Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth branch operates the flagship Zehnder’s restaurant (America’s largest family restaurant), as well as The Fortress championship golf club, Zehnder’s Splash Village and a retail facility Zehnder’s Marketplace.

Michigan is home to many other generational family businesses, what are your favorites?

Dianna Stampfler is the president of Promote Michigan. She’s been an active supporter of the tourism industry since her first family vacation to Leelanau County at the age of three. Today, she is living her dream and resides in the Lake Michigan shoreline community of Petoskey.