Everyone is talking about the revitalization of Detroit, and it truly makes me excited about the future of the city. But there is an area that is near and dear to my heart, that with its new developments and restaurants is changing everyone’s view of it. That area is Grosse Pointe. I was born and raised here, and when it came time to find a city to raise my daughter in, we chose Grosse Pointe and I haven’t looked back.
February is the month of love, and with Chef Pete writing about how he’s courting and slowly falling for Detroit, I figured I would write about the amazing places I love to go to in Grosse Pointe.
Cozy and casual with a high-end feel, Luxe is a great place to try out if you’re in the mood for a good burger and a stiff drink. On the weekends, the lines are a bit long, but the wait is speedy and the staff is friendly and courteous. The cocktails aren’t wildly unique or old timey, yet the bartender will get the job done for a fair price. If you decide to get appetizers, I highly recommend the Sweet Sriracha Shrimp. It is served with crispy green beans, arugula, tomatoes and bacon. I crave this. For an entrée, they are known for their burgers, but the best thing I’ve had was the Brussels Sprout Salad. This salad is so unique and flavorful that you don’t feel like you’re missing out not having a protein. I also really liked the lamb chops. Unique Michigan craft beers and a rotating wine list set this bar apart from other area bars. They do a great job of letting you know what limited releases are on tap on their Facebook page.
From a Certified Sommelier’s and beverage aficionado’s point of view, Red Crown is doing everything right. A family-friendly dining room with a cozy bar area, Red Crown is an old gas station that has been updated into a divine gastro pub. The cocktails here are expertly executed, with an educated staff that will guide you to the old-school cocktail of your liking. The wine list is compact yet diverse and pairs well with the barbeque-based menu. I’ve had fried pickles before but never as good as Red Crown makes them. They have a freshly harvested taste that the cornmeal batter doesn’t mask. Specials like $10 for a burger and a beer (Monday through Saturday 11 AM to 4 PM) and Dress Like a Zombie or Tequila Tuesdays make this place fun and affordable! Though I recommend going at any time, I love their brunch on the patio during the summertime. Bottomless Mimosas and Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar are the jewels in this crown!
My prayers were answered when I found out that Atwater was renovating an old church into a brew pub. Located just down the street from Red Crown, Atwater in the Park has an amazing interior that is spacious and roomy along with a true-to-form German-style Bier Garden for outdoor dining. Pub-style German food is the mainstay of the menu, with a flair toward great burgers and bar food. Still, most folks come for the beer and atmosphere. Atwater has been making beer since 1997, and the new brewery helps them keep up with production of their best-selling beers. Great for parties, Atwater in the Park is a must-see brewery.
So most of these bars have a casual and laid-back feel to them, but if you want to kick up the sophistication and have an elegant evening out of exceptional 5-star service and food, I recommend Marais. The atmosphere of the dining room is a bit cold due to the intentionally capacious seating and grey-and-ecru color scheme. However, the warming way all the details and courtesies are accounted for makes the starkness of the design fade and simultaneously highlights the service and food. I highly recommend trying their brunch. During the daytime, the floor-to-ceiling windows shower the room with natural sunlight. One stipulation about the brunch is to try your hardest not to fill up on the amazing three-tiered pastry tower. These pastries are light, airy and other worldly. Also, I am a cream-and-sugar kind of coffee drinker, and this was the best damn cup of coffee I’ve ever had. To put anything in it would be sinful. The bar area is cozier with a bourbon and scotch selection that will make any whiskey lover drool with admiration. The bartenders are top notch with the flair, education, and exuberance you would expect from one of Hour Detroit’s Best Restaurants. And the Manhattans and Sazeracs are excellent. Sommelier, general manager, and owner (along with her husband, expert chef David Gilbert), Monica Gilbert has a French-focused wine cellar stocked with unique and stunning wines from all around the world. She is knowledgeable, friendly and the epitome of professionalism.
I love my town. Recently there has been a free trolley service for consumers to get from place to place and experience Grosse Pointe in a leisurely fashion. With year-round events. Grosse Pointe has gone from a sleepy, perhaps even a bit boring community, to a hip and fashionable place to dine. Other restaurants, like The Dirty Dog Café, Side Street Diner and The Park Bar are all good reasons to make the trip to the east side. Also, besides Marais, all of these restaurants have outdoor seating in the warm months, and the quiet streets are a peaceful background to any mid-day conversation or cocktail. I hope you come check out where I’m from and have as much fun as I do at all my favorite places