East Side Visiting Guide

East Siders defend their side of Detroit all the time, fighting off accusations from their West Side brethren that they are tragically unhip and there's nothing cool to see or do.

It ain't so, and if there's one place that might help denizens of the far-East Side in their cause it's the Cadieux Cafe. Nestled on the edge of East English Village, the bar and restaurant was once the social center for Detroit's Belgian population, and the Cadieux (pronounced "cad-joo") still reflects bits of that Belgian culture.

It's the place to go for plates of steamed mussels, a full array of Belgian ales and Belgian fries. And it's the epicenter of this country's featherbowling universe. It's the only outpost for featherbowling in the city, let alone these United States.

Featherbowling? If you don't know featherbowling then you've never been to the Cadieux. Somewhat like the Belgian version of the Italians' bocce, featherbowling involves rolling balls toward a feather at the end of the lane. The goal is to get your ball closest to the feather, and knock away and block opponents' balls. Leagues still play at the Cadieux on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but most nights the lanes are open to the public.

The Cadieux is as old-school cool as it gets, and for that it's earned a following among Detroit hipsters and longtime neighborhood residents alike. Do check out the jukebox for the one of the best selections of local bands and music like the Pixies, Elvis Costello and R.E.M., the kind of stuff that makes aging hipsters smile.

Beyond the Cadieux

Just shy of Alter Road along Mack Avenue is a bar and restaurant district. One side of the street is Grosse Pointe Park, which  hosts some East Side favorites, but do not overlook the offerings on the Detroit side. Any East Side pub crawl should also include a stop at the Village Idiot. This venerable hole in the wall on Mack Avenue may fly a bit under the radar, but any place that offers happy hour till 10 p.m. should be in your sights. In addition to great, seemingly neverending drink specials, The Idiot is also a hot spot for live music, from straight-up rock to hip-hop.

Also check out the Post Bar East. Like the downtown classic and suburban versions, this Post lives up to its sisters. Grafitti on the ceilings, Red Wings games and TVs for sports watching, it's got everything that makes this bar worth repeating.

East Side eats

From age-old institutions to new kids on the block, there are many must-not-miss dining options.

Dish on Mack Avenue will also work to impress your friends with the East Side's hip factor. "Good food" reads the sign in the window, and that's an understatement. From this super-tiny, upscale, carry-out-only storefront, Dish serves some fabulous food. Definitely don't pass up the Motor City martini salad — with capers, cocktail onions, bleu cheese and a vodka vinaigrette. Other favorites include gazpacho and the smoked salmon sandwich. All are reasonably priced and ready in a flash.

For less fancy and more filling, check out Louie's Ham & Corned Beef Shop – a deli and a diner like no other. If you've visited the big shiny new Louie's in Eastern Market, you should still stop in this diner on Harper between Cadieux and Whittier. It's not as pretty and new, but locals sing the praises of the big sandwiches and inexpensive and satisfying breakfasts.

From the grill, East Siders have two favorites. The Original Pointe Bar-B-Q on East Warren has been serving up heaps of satisfying barbecued ribs, pork and chicken for more than 50 years. It's been inexpensive and finger-licking good. Plus you can get locally brewed Dragonmead beers to wash it all down. The other is Milt's Gourmet Bar-B-Que at 7 Mile Road and Kelly. Eat in or take out, you'll want to ask for extra sauce to take home.

This topic is a bit taboo, but more than one East Sider swears Cal's Pizza on Harper Ave. near Morang is better than the original Buddy's on Conant or maybe even Loui's in Hazel Park. OK, we know for some of you those are fighting words, but Cal's does share some of the same qualities as other revered pizza in Detroit, namely its square shape, thick crust and crunchy exterior. Whether you think it's the best or merely a contender, served hot with a side of antipasto, it is a bit of heaven.

Family-friendly fun

The far-East Side is made largely of bedroom communities, so it's only right that there are plenty of cool things for the kids to do and lots of green spaces for recreation.

• At I-94 near Conner, the county's family-friendly water park attracts kids from all over metro Detroit. The Family Aquatic Center includes water slides, a wave pool and splash area for the littlest kids.

• Anytime the weather's above freezing and there's no snow, you are bound to see someone on the links at Chandler Park's 18-hole course near Conner and I-94.

• Snow days on the East Side have always meant one thing — sledding at Balduck Park. The hill may not seem as big as it did when you were little, but it still makes for a fun ride. In warmer weather, the big grassy park is a favorite unofficial dog park on Saturday afternoons.

• The kids will also love an afternoon at Arts & Scraps on Harper near Whittier. The nonprofit collects industrial scraps and lets kids go to town using the bits of paper, plastic, foam, glue and glitter to make their own creations. They'll even host birthday parties or school groups.


One of the best things about shopping along Mack Avenue is that it's entirely pedestrian or bicyclist friendly. You can easily park and shop, or take your bike to get more mileage, and there's plenty of places to stop and grab a bite to eat along the way.

Antiquers will find a paradise along Mack Avenue around Three Mile Drive (between Alter and Outer Drive).

If there's something old you're into, stop at one of the shops that line the strip, including E.J. Berry, Another Time Antiques, the London Gallery Antique Mall, Park Antiques and Spectrum Antiques. Plus there are several shops offering antique and furniture restoration.

Other favorite shopping destinations include: Allemon's for planters or anything green to spruce up your yard; All Star Books for comics, used books and more; and Yorkshire Food Market, a great neighborhood grocer.

For more information about the East Side visit the Model D
- Moving Guide
- Investing Guide

Directions to East Side

From the East:
Take I-94 West and take Exit 223 toward Cadieux Rd. Stay straight to go onto Edsel Ford FWY East. Turn left onto Cadieux Rd. and arrive in East Side.

From the North:
Take I-75 South toward Detroit and merge onto I-94 East via Exit 53B toward Port Huron. Take Exit 223 toward Cadieux Rd and turn right onto Cadieux Rd. Arrive in East Side.

From the West:
Take I-96 East and merge onto I-94 East via Exit 190A toward Port Huron. Take Exit 223 toward Cadieux Rd and turn right onto Cadieux Rd. Arrive in East Side.

From the South:
Take I-94 East and take Exit 223 toward Cadieux Rd. Turn right onto Cadieux Rd. and arrive in East Side.

Take I-75 North toward Detroit and merge onto I-96 W via Exit 48 on the left toward Lansing. Merge onto I-94 East toward Port Huron and take Exit 223 toward Cadieux Rd. Turn right onto Cadieux Rd. and arrive in East Side.


Feather Bowling at the Cadieux Cafe

Cal's Pizza

The Post Bar


The Pointe BBQ

Chandler Park's Water Park

E.J. Berry Antiques

All Photographs Copyright Dave Krieger
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