Good Eats and Great Folks in Downtown Detroit

My third night (last Thursday) in Detroit was dedicated to exploration. New friend Lori and I started out with the plan to walk around downtown Detroit and see what cool little spots we could discover in the area. To that end, we rode the Detroit People Mover (an elevated train) to Broadway station and just started walking.

Not far from the stop, we found ourselves at the Angelina Italian Bistro, across from the Opera House. Angelina’s featured a large marquee style front, which leads me to believe it might have been an old theatre — and since so much of Detroit has a history, I would not be surprised if it was. The bar and restaurant were virtually empty. Looking to try out a local brew, I ordered a Motor City Lager. The blonde beer was a little blander than I normally like, but it wasn’t bad. The appetizers, however, were excellent. The crab cakes were packed with flavorful herbs and the scallops were buttery melt in your mouth perfect.

On Eric’s recommendation, we walked a couple of blocks around the corner to Wright & Co. From the exterior, the only sign of a restaurant is a placard with the logo the phrase “Second Floor.” Inside and up a flight of stairs (or the elevator), which made me feel like we were discovering a secret, is the restaurant and bar, packed with people. The space is trendy with a great mix of old and new. I particularly liked the stamped tin ceiling.

Lori and I found a place at the bar. Will, the bartender, was charming and adorable (I might have swooned, if I hadn’t been having so much fun). Unsure what I wanted to order, I asked what sort of bourbon forward drink he would recommend. “How about I make something up for you,” he said and began mixing with flair, presenting me with a Boulevardier. The combination of the scent of orange peel on the rim and the slightly sweet liquor was fantastic.

A perfect Boulevardier.

For appetizers we ordered the pork belly sliders and the whipped ricotta. The pork belly sliders were savory perfection. The whipped ricotta, which I would never have picked out on my own, included homemade raisin bread, honey, and fresh fig. It was so damn good that I almost fell out of my chair. Wright & Co. had the best food I’ve eaten in I don’t know how long, and all we had were the appetizers. I can’t even imagine what a full meal would be like. I’m not sure I would survive that much goodness.

As with my experiences on the Riverwalk, everyone we met was super friendly. Lori and I made friend with our neighbor on the bar stools. A lovely lady with vibrant read hair and a passion for many things, named Simone. She is currently in the process of writing a book on affirmations and we both promised each other that we could fly out for each other’s book signings. I can’t wait.

Some more ambling down sidewalks and asking passersby lead us to the Grand Trunk. The pub is built out of a historic building, which used to be owned by Grand Trunk Railroad and was used as their ticketing office. You can feel the history as you enter and walk down the long wood bar. The bar features a variety of Michigan beers, so I tried out the Brick Irish Red, which was rather tasty. I was told that the Grand Trunk also had great burgers and other good feel bar food, but Lori and I didn’t order anything at the time, too full from our previous appetizers.

Another friend was made in Sam, a beautiful young woman with pinkish hair. She talked to us about Detroit and how its changing with little restaurants and businesses popping up here and there. “It’s so cool, because it’s like I get to see the city growing as I’m growing up,” said she said.

The Grand Trunk pub used to be an old railroad ticketing office.


On our stroll to the next spot, we discovered trailers and catering trucks for the film crew of the Batman vs. Superman movie, which was apparently being shot inside the Old Wayne County City building.

Is Batman inside?

Proclamations from many, stating “Get the wings,” led us to Sweetwaters Tavern. The wings and battered fish were indeed amazing. Perfectly cooked with just the right amount of spice. It was great food to wrap up the night with.

P.S. I have two more Detroit posts planned, which I’ll hopefully post by tomorrow.