Detroit has long been one of those cities that has been very mysterious to me, so I partnered up with Pure Michigan to help me unravel it and learn more about this amazing city. It’s home to an abundance of world famous companies, franchises, and sounds: General Motors, The Red Wings and Motown, just to name a few. Surely it’s at the forefront of American prestige? Then you hear of the many struggles and hardships this working class city has endured over the last several decades. I’ve heard many things over the years but I’ve never SEEN Detroit first hand. Which I must admit, is a bit strange since I have lived in the closest major city to Detroit for almost 4 decades. I think Chicago and Detroit have always had a bit of a rivalry (Blackhawks-Red Wings, need I say more?!). But Chicago has been first to garner the spotlight on the economic, tourism, and food fronts. However, there’s a MASSIVE buzz on streets. Detroit is making a comeback. A big one. Just how big? Well I went there to see it for myself, thanks to #PureMichigan.
Naturally, if I’m going to a new city, I want to dive right into the food and music scenes; It's always my measure of having a good time. I also HATE feeling like a tourist; I love doing as the locals do. So in this case, I wanted to be like a “Detroiter”. I’ve heard that Detroit has been emerging as a foodie destination for a couple years now and I was definitely intrigued. My best friend Aggie (who is just as obsessed with food and music as I am) and I ventured out into Detroit to check it out first hand.
Right when we arrived, we were impressed. I instantly felt the cool and edgy yet historic vibe the city gives off. Especially since our hotel was a part of history. We stayed at the newly opened Detroit Foundation Hotel. It is a renovated historic fire station that has been turned into THE place to see and be seen in Motor City. This also brought us to our first culinary experience. The Apparatus Room is the hotel’s very own restaurant/bar and it felt like it was Detroit’s own “Soho House”. The scene was hot with an artist/biz professional vibe. It reminded me of Chicago’s West Loop scene. Oh, and the food and cocktails were On-Point! I had their version of a Negroni (my go-to cocktail) that was so unique and flavorful. But WOW, their pasta! I had their Saffron Chitarra pasta with oysters, sea urchin, and fennel pollen. It was perfection.
My other favorite meal was a simple surprise. We took a quick Uber to the hip yet established neighborhood of Royal Oak. We started off our Saturday afternoon with a quick brunch at the adorable Le Crepe. We got a sweet and a savory crepe and they were life changing! I love that the cutest little neighborhood spot was a perfect hidden gem. Now that we were full of yummy crepes, we figured it was time to get our beer on. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last few decades, you’re aware that Michigan has one of the biggest craft beer scene in the country. So we headed to Royal Oak Brewery for a tour of their facility and to try a few expertly crafted cold ones. One of the many great things I learned about Royal Oak Brewery, from their head brewmaster Richard, is that they really stay true to the authentic German style of brewing. They keep it old-school legit. And it more than pays off as EVERY beer we tried was outstanding.
The storied history of Motown’s music past is rich and diverse. What Berry Gordy and Motown Records did for music is like what Martin Scorsese or Quentin Tarantino has done for film. They created something new and massive that will forever change our nation’s soundscape. And even though Motown left Detroit in the 70’s, it left a music culture so strong that it has also evolved into other genres. Aggie and I checked out St. Andrews, a rock club so edgy that we felt like we didn’t even have enough tattoos to get in (and we have a bunch). We also hit up a cool bar/venue called the Majestic to see Michelle Branch (a blast from 2003) but get this…her drummer is the one and only, Patrick Carney, drummer/co-founder of The Black Keys. It was ALL coming together.
Finally, we capped off our amazing experience by taking a stroll through the super cool Dequindre Cut nature path, along their beautiful river walk. This is not just any river walk…as you gaze across to the opposite river bank you realize you’re staring right into Canada. How cool is that?! A different country just across the river. But of course on the Detroit side, the monstrous and stunningly gorgeous towers of the Renaissance Center dwarf everything in its path and reminds you that Detroit IS American, it is a part of our history and a bigger part of our future, and it is here to stay.
This post is sponsored by Pure Michigan.