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If you work in downtown Detroit and like to eat out, you’ve probably eaten everywhere within a one-block radius of Campus Martius. But venture outside the downtown business district, and you’ll discover new flavors, foods and maybe even a new favorite place to eat. Detroit’s growing, experimental food scene has launched a flurry of pop-ups, food trucks and new restaurants in the last year. Here are four restaurants you must try in Detroit.
David Ayyash opened his hole-in-the-wall hummus shop last September after noticing a lack of healthy food options downtown. Having grown up in Metro Detroit, Ayyash wanted to keep his menu fresh and local, so he gets many of his ingredients from Eastern Market. Chickpea’s menu is short and sweet: hummus, wraps, salads and smoothies. You can also find daily specials like hot soups and zesty hummus flavors. Ayyash hopes to one day sell his hummus at retail locations like Whole Foods. Drop by Chickpea in the D during the week, any time from 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Owner’s favorite: jalapeño cilantro hummus and turkey wrap
You might think “vegan” and “soul food” don’t belong in the same sentence, but you also might be fooled by the texture of the seitan pepper steak. By opening up a vegan restaurant in West Village, the owners of DVS are challenging the notions that vegan food lacks flavor and soul food can’t be healthy. On the menu, you’ll find updated classics like mac ‘n’ cheese, catfish tofu and grits, and spinach lasagna. For the allergen-sensitive, many items can be ordered gluten-free and soy-free. Stop by on Sundays for a protein-packed breakfast.
Owner’s favorite: smothered tempeh
Hidden in the back of 3rd Street Bar is this rock-and-roll Midtown pie shop, a Baltimore transport from the brains of Food Network star Rodney Henry. Even if you don’t have a sweet tooth, you’ll find savory meat pies like the barbeque pulled pork and SMOG (steak-mushroom-onion-gruyere cheese) that make for an immensely satisfying lunch. DDP bakes eight to twelve fresh pies daily. Swing by in the summer and you can enjoy a warm slice à la mode on the outdoor patio.
Owner’s favorite: chicken pot pie
After winning the 2012 Hatch Detroit contest, the owners of La Feria decided to bring their Spanish tapas concept to Midtown. Tapas are appetizers or snacks, served hot or cold and ordered at any time during the meal. Specials change daily and include paella, albóndigas (Spanish meatballs), and bombas (spiced meat in a fried potato pocket). If you’re looking for a dining experience in the spirit of Mardi Gras or Carnival, head to La Feria.
Owner’s favorite: adobo, tuna empanada
Hungry yet? Let us know in the comments which restaurant you’d like to try most!