Michigan **** (Information updated to Feb. 2023 or date indicated)
Ann Arbor–Krazy Jim’s Blimpie Burger-304 S. Ashley St. (Hamburgers). The Sterns say the burgers are not only very good but you get a number of choices for the toppings, type of buns, and you can even get pastrami or a fried egg on top.
Ann Arbor–Zingerman’s-422 Detroit St. (Sandwiches) Open daily 11 am to 7 pm. Deli comparable to NYC.
Beulah–Cherry Hut–211 N. Michigan Ave. (American) Apparently is closed in winter. The Sterns said cherry pie is a northern Michigan specialty, but you should try it here because the cherries are always fresh and at their best flavor (it is this way in season during the summer).
Birmingham–Hunter House Hamburgers–35075 Woodward Ave. (Burgers) Open Daily. The Sterns said this was their No. 1 choice in the U.S. for sliders (small hamburgers). Burgers are topped with onions, pickles, and cheese (if desired).
Canton–Matsuchan-5990 N. Sheldon Rd. (Japanese) Closed Mon & Tue. Specialty is ramen-this looks like a real Japanese rest. (not American style) Noodle shop that seats 20 people
Detroit–American Coney Island-114 W. Lafayette Blvd. (Hot Dogs) Ope daily (late night on Fri & Sat). The Sterns made this their co-pick for the No. 1 Coney in the U.S. (tied with Lafayette Coney Island).
Detroit–Bucharest Grill-436 W. Columbia St. (Romanian) Open Daily. Bucharest shawarma (chicken, beef), stuffed pepper, mici (Romanian sausage), grape leaves. Sandwiches (made with pita) are more European sytle than others in Detroit
Detroit–Lafayette Coney Island–118 W. Lafayette Blvd. (Hot Dogs) Open daily (open late night daily). Tied with American Coney Island as the Sterns’ No. 1 pick in the U.S., but locals give this one a better review. Chili cheese fries are also not to be missed.
Detroit–Pegasus Taverna-558 Monroe St. (Greek) Open Daily-Open Late night. Authentic Greek, inexpensive (unless you order drinks), has music late night. Chicken lemonato, Greek salad. Located in Greektown-has the history & atmosphere you look for.
Detroit–PizzaPlex-4458 Vernor Hwy. (Pizza) Dinner only (Fri-Sun only). Has certified Neapolitan style pizza.
Windsor, Ontario–Urbanspoon reviewers recommended Basil Court Thai Restaurant
East Lansing–Korea House-978 Trowbridge Rd. (Korean) Closed Mon. There are a number of Korean rests. in the area, but this is reputed to be the most authentic.
Escanaba–Dobber’s Pasties-827 N. Lincoln Rd. (Pasties) Open Daily. This was the Sterns’ No. 1 pick for pasties in the UP (Also in Iron Mountain).
Escanaba–Swedish Pantry-819 Ludington St. (Swedish) Open daily 8 am to 3 pm. The owner and many diners recommend the Swedish pancakes and Swedish meatballs. Pastries are also recommended.
Ferndale–Anita’s Kitchen-22651 Woodward Ave. (Lebanese) Closed Sun. One of the best in Michigan-falafel is one of the best.
Grand Rapids–Little Africa-956 Fulton St. (Ethiopian) Closed Sun & Mon. One of the best restaurants in GR
Grand Rapids–San Chez Tapas-38 Fulton St. W. (Spanish). Maybe the best and most popular restaurant in GR. $$$
Grand Rapids–Wei Wei Palace-4242 Division Ave. S. (Chinese) Prob. the best choice in GR for authentic Chinese-has dim sum (also there’s an Asian market in the same strip mall)
Grand Rapids–Yesterdog–1505 Wealthy St. SE (Hot Dogs) Open daily (open late night). The No. 3 pick in the US by the Sterns for Coneys, but ratings on Google Maps are higher than the No. 1 and 2 picks (both in Detroit).
Hamtramck–Polish Village Cafe-2990 Yemans St. (Polish) Open Daily. Cash only. Has better beet soup & garlic chicken than Polonia.
Hamtramck–Polonia-2934 Yemans St. (Polish). Takes credit cards. Has better pierogis than Polish Village.
Harper Woods–Royal Eagle-18725 Old Homestead (Russian) People say it has excellent food.
Holland–Deboer Bakkerij-360 Douglas Ave. (Dutch) Breakfast & lunch. Dutch omelette, French toast, Klompen Kakes (pancakes), Belgian waffles.
Houghton–JJ’s Wok-N-Grill-200 Pearl St. (Chinese) #1 rated restaurant in Houghton. May be the best Chinese in U.P.
Houghton–Roy’s Pasties-305 W. Lakeshore Dr. (English). Pasties are excellent (many say the best they’ve ever had). Has traditional Cornish lunches. Soup is recommended.
Houghton–Suomi Bakery-54 Huron St. (Finnish) Breakfast & lunch (closed Wed). Pancakes, Finnish french toast, pastries (omelettes may not be so good).
Kalamazoo–Bangkok Flavor-5455 Gull Rd. (Thai) Open Daily. Authentic-one of the best Thai restaurants in the state (or anywhere).
Lansing–Hong Kong-315 S. Homer St. (Chinese) Closed Sun. Authentic Sichuan-looks as if it might be pretty good.
Livonia–Green Cedar-19217 Newburgh Rd. (Lebanese) Closed Sun. Food is said to be excellent (and looks this way from the photos). Has an extensive menu.d
Marquette–Thai House-1031 N. 3rd St. (Thai). Ask for the “real Thai food” (they normally modify it to make it more American style). The “real food” is very good.
Mattawan–Chinn Chinn-52885 N. Main St. (Chinese) Very good reviews- seems to be northern (Mongolian) style-not the typical Chinese food. Get a meat item. Some dishes are spicy.
Plymouth–Pizza e Vino–849 Penniman Ave. (Pizza) Dinner only (closed Mon). Authentic Neapolitan pizza.
Southgate–Hungarian Rhapsody-14315 Northline Rd. (Hungarian) Closed Mon. Authentic (I think it would be more of a unique experience than Bucharest Grill). Goulash, stuffed cabbage rolls are good. Some say to skip the salad.
Taylor–Hungarian-American Cultural Center-26257 Goddard Rd. (Hungarian) Serves Fri. only (used to be dinner only, now info says 9 am to 5 pm)- homestyle Hungarian food-menu changes every week. $ (Hungarian Rhapsody Rest. is $$)
Traverse City–Poppycock’s-128 E. Front St. (Organic) Open Daily. Large vegetarian menu. $$$
Troy–East Lake-5087 Rocherster Rd. (Chinese) Closed Wed. Authentic Cantonese-prob. close to Shangri La in quality. Has dim sum.
Warren–Amarin Thai-11528 E. 12 Mile Rd. (Thai) Closed Sun. Probably the best Thai in Detroit.
Warren–Ukrainian Cultural Center-26601 Ryan Rd. (Ukrainian) Open Fri 11 am to 2 pm. This is an event center that has a Friday lunch buffet open to the public with Ukrainian food. (Note: there is a Ukrainian restaurant in Windsor, Ontario)
West Bloomfield Township–Shangri-La-6407 Orchard Lake Rd. (Chinese) Closed Tue. Authentic Chinese- has dim sum Sat & Sun (most say it’s very good)-get fried taro root dumplings. (Looks like best Chinese in Detroit area)
West Bloomfield Township–Stage Deli-6873 Orchard Lake Rd. (Deli) Closed Mon. Said to be the best Jewish deli in Detroit-comparable to NYC.
- This is an Abbreviated List with a limited number of restaurants
- Base information came primarily from Urbanspoon Dec. 2013
Jane & Michael Stern, “500 Things to Eat Before It’s Too Late”
This work by the Sterns, published in 2009, focuses on individual dishes and “the Very Best Places to Eat Them.” Although the list is dated by more than a decade, it is worth taking a look at the choices which include the following in Michigan (partial list and edited for places that have closed–Bold for No. 1 recommendation in the U.S.):
- American Coney Island, Detroit—Coney Island.
- Cherry Hut, Beulah—Cherry Pie
- Dobber’s Pasties, Escanaba—Pasties (also in Iron Mountain). (Sterns also recommended Cousin Jenny’s in Traverse City).
- Hunter House Hamburgers, Birmingham–This is their number one choice for sliders.
- Krazy Jim’s Blimpie Burger, Ann Arbor–Good choice for burgers that are a little bit bigger than sliders.
- Lafayette Coney Island, Detroit—Coney Island.
- Yesterdog, Grand Rapids–Coney Island.
- Zingerman’s Deli, Ann Arbor–Pastrami Sandwich (the only one recommended that is outside New York), Cheese Curds (they say these are the best they ever ate).
Jane & Michael Stern, “500 Things to Eat Before It’s Too Late,” 2009, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcort.
Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)