There's no denying it: Detroit's food scene is growing like a pubescent adolescent. New spots are popping up every week, and there's more delicious food being served in the city than there has been in quite some time. It is important, however, to keep some perspective.
That's exactly what Jenny Miller does in her refreshingly honest and rather insightful review of Detroit's emerging food scene
for Food Republic, a national blog covering food and food culture.
While Miller is a tough critic ("Nothing blew my mind," she writes), she presents an incredibly fair and well-reasoned big picture view of the city's food scene (as well as Detroit's development flux).
"Detroit at the moment simply isn’t the kind place where you can dash off a list of the top ten spots to eat and leave it at that, because you’d be missing most of the story. What’s more fascinating is how this city in flux came to be what it currently is, and where it’s going. Restaurants are one lens onto that."
On Townhouse, a new restaurant operating in the Dan Gilbert owned One Detroit Center, Miller writes:
"If this place opened in New York, it would be another clubby spot for the bridge-and-tunnel or finance crowd, but here it’s significant. There just aren’t many restaurants like this in central Detroit: somewhere to dress up and make an evening of dinner out, or to head to after an event for drinks and late-night snacks."
Miller also proves an astute observer of the culture of development that's on the rise in the city:
"For some, there’s a feeling that the era of opportunity in Detroit has already passed, but not for the group of fresh-faced Harvard Business School graduates whose barbecue I crashed one night. These young people, mostly transplants and recent arrivals, spoke quickly and excitedly, describing their real estate ventures with an intensity that contrasted with the laid-back Midwesterners I’d been chatting with until then."
Finally, she points out that Detroit's growing food scene isn't something that magically sprang from the ground, but rather something that is the result of a lot of people's hard work:
"Still, this kind of entrepreneurship often has to be pulled off creatively, since one of the great ironies in a city with so much vacant real estate is that mortgages and financing can be extremely difficult to come by. [Slows Bar B Q owner Philip] Cooley describes how it took a team effort to open his latest restaurant, nine-month-old Gold Cash Gold, down the street from Slows on Michigan Avenue. 'All of our friends with full-time jobs were willing to show up and start cleaning or sanding and still go to their 9-to-5’s,' he says."
Read more: Food Republic