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Where to eat during Facing Race – Detroit

ShineALightNF-20170503-011Welcome to Detroit, host city for this year’s Facing Race Conference. The Michigan Coalition to End Domestic & Sexual Violence (MCEDSV) is excited to see the diverse group of this year’s attendees. And we want you to enjoy your stay in Detroit. I don’t know about you, but activism makes me hungry. Please allow me to make some dining suggestions for your stay in Detroit.

For the Vegans

When civil rights activists, feminists, community organizers and other nonprofit workers gather at a conference, one thing is certain. There’s going to be some vegans in the bunch. We know some places toss you an iceberg lettuce and call it a meal. But trust us when we tell you that you should checkout Detroit Vegan Soul in Detroit’s beautiful Indian Village neighborhood.


For the Cheesy Detroit Experience

Literally. This one is about cheese. Detroit’s not exactly well-known internationally for its Greek community. And honestly, we don’t actually have a Greek neighborhood anymore. Greektown is basically a casino hotel and a couple remaining businesses on a single city block. No self-respecting Detroiter will ever recommend Greektown to you. If anyone tells you “you gotta go to Greektown,” you know for a fact they’re from the suburbs or rural Michigan. Maybe they venture into the city once a year. They don’t know what the heck to recommend. However, if you insist on it, we’ll let you have your Detroit moment in Greektown. Saganaki (flaming cheese) is served up into the wee hours of the morning at several restaurants along Monroe near the Greektown People Mover station. The experience is best late at night, after the bars close. Prepare yourself. The other patrons will scream “OPA!” at you in unison as you dodge having your eyebrows scorched off. You’re welcome.

coney dog

Cheap Eats

Coney dogs for everyone. I don’t know why people call 24-hour diners “Coney Islands.” It’s just a Detroit thing. And probably most people here aren’t going to realize that you have no clue what they’re talking about when they suggest going to “a Coney Island” or getting “a coney” (what we call the style of hotdogs). Detroiters love these joints. And despite the full-on gentrification that’s been shoe-horning boutique hotels and condos into every nook and cranny downtown, we still have our two classic Coney rivals: American Coney Island and Lafayette Coney Island.


For the Moms

Ok, moms. We know you have a Panera rewards card in your wallet. That’s a given. And Panera is fine when you’re craving an edible bread bowl full of roasted squash soup within a 5-minute drive of a Target super center. No judgment here. But you’re in Detroit, and why not try a local favorite? Avalon International Breads! Their downtown,  Woodward Avenue location is easily reached from the Ren Cen and Cobo on foot, by Uber and Lyft, or via the People Mover and QLine.

urban bean


For coffee in a unique architectural space, try Urban Bean in Capitol Park. A short walk from Cobo.

Or venture over to Campus Martius. Get a coffee at Roasting Plant. And then head over to Detroit’s KAWS statue by the Quicken Loans building for an Instagram moment.

Detroit’s hipster invasion has seen an explosion of coffee joints downtown. For those of you up for exploring neighborhoods outside of downtown while supporting local, small businesses, try Sweet Potato Sensations in Detroit’s Redford Neighborhood for all things sweet potato. If you visit in the evening, be sure to checkout this week’s production of “Angels in America” at the historic Redford Theatre across the street.

Or Narrow Way Cafe on Livernois in the Avenue of Fashion neighborhood is a quiet, friendly space to retreat for some pleasant downtime. Livernois Avenue has proudly kept its character of supporting minority-owned, small businesses.

honey bee

For the Glampers

I’ve been to a few conferences in my day. Inevitably, you see folks bringing more groceries in the hotel elevator than I generally keep in my entire kitchen. If hunkering down in your hotel suite with basic cable and free wifi is your thing, checkout the Midtown neighborhood Whole Foods on Woodward Avenue. Yummy prepared meals, awesome snack food, fresh fruit, even $3 bottles of Tempranillo wine with a screw top. For the more adventurous, try ride-sharing your way to the Mexicantown neighborhood’s Honey Bee Market on Bagley. Their homemade corn chips and salsas are amazing and truly an acceptable meal when you don’t feel like adulting anymore for the day.

For the Urban Explorers

I know you’re tired. Maybe you’ve traveled from another time zone. Maybe you’re still adjusting to losing Daylight Savings Time. Inevitably you’ve gone to lectures and events nonstop for days. But please, please, please, try to visit one of these two recommendations before you go home this weekend.

Kuzzo’s Chicken and Waffles on Livernois in the Avenue of Fashion District is a must for weekend brunch. Get there early, because everybody knows how good this place is.

Detroit’s Eastern Market neighborhood on Saturday morning during your stay. This neighborhood is a bustling series of blocks made up of one of North America’s largest farmers’ markets, additional shops, food trucks, bike rentals, coffee shops, and restaurants. Plus murals. The Murals in the Market are world class. Breakfast at the bustling Russell Street Deli is affordable and full of healthy, locally-sourced food.

Enjoy Your Stay

MCEDSV thanks you for the fundamental work that you do. We hope you enjoy your stay in Detroit. If you like your recommendations, please tag us in your social media posts when you visit them. We’re @mcedsv on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.