Foods to Try in Detroit

Since 2010, Detroit has quickly become known across the United States as a foodie destination, featuring several new American fusion restaurants alongside Motor City staples offering tourists a chance to sample the region's favorite foods and dishes.

From old-time favorites like fourth-meal coney dogs and fresh Michigan apples to new favorites like duck bop hash at the Dime Store Restaurant, Detroit is a great place to find unique foods. If you're traveling to the city for business or leisure, be sure to check out these great dishes and regional favorites, many of which can only be found here.

In 2017 alone, over 10 new restaurants opened in the Detroit metro area, so don't be surprised if you stumble across a new restaurant when you visit. With so many great places to eat out in Detroit, you'll have no trouble finding a place to sample some signature Detroit dishes on your trip.

01 of 06

American Fusion

American Fusion
Robyn Correll
719 Griswold St #180, Detroit, MI 48226, USA
Phone +1 313-962-9106

If there's one type of food Detroit's known for, it's American fusion. Mixing influences from Italy, Lebanon, Albania, Asia, and Latin America with American and African American traditions, restaurants across the city offer menus you can't find anywhere else in the States.

The Dime Store restaurant, which opened in 2014 in the Chrysler House building downtown, is famous in the city for its "American Brunch Bar." The menu features Detroit twists on classic favorites like the duck bop hash, cannoli waffles, and a spring lamb Benedict.

Phoenicia Restaurant, on the other hand, offers a blend of American and Lebanese flavors and dishes. You can order traditional lamb tartar (kibbeh nayeh) or try the fusion dish of pork ribs dry-rubbed with Lebanese spices.

02 of 06

Apples, Ciders, and Fresh Donuts

Whole and sliced red apples on dark wood
Westend61/Getty Image

Michigan ranks third in the nation for apple production, which means from mid-August to November the residents of this state are all about everything apple. Michiganders pick apples, cook apples, make apples into cider, and celebrate apples via festivals and events all season long.

If you're visiting during the autumn harvest season, be sure to check out some of the orchards and cider mills in the Detroit metro area. One of the popular pastimes in the region this time of year is visiting an orchard, picking some apples, and then heading back to the cider mill for a cold glass of cider and a fresh, hot donut.

03 of 06

Coney Dogs

Coney dog
Steven Depolo/Flickr

The Coney Dog (aka swamped-in-chili hot dog) can now be found in restaurants across the country. However, Detroit first figured out a combination of ingredients that made its version of the chili dog a regional classic, especially for late night adventurers as a "fourth-meal" between drinks at the bar.

The Coney Dog first found a loyal following back in the early 1900s at two Coney Island Restaurants in downtown Detroit. The Coney Dog consists of a natural-casing hot dog, no-bean chili, chopped onions, and mustard. Many bars in Detroit will serve you a coney dog as a bar snack, but there are also several restaurants in the city that serve a more "gourmet" version of this classic treat.

04 of 06

Square, Deep-Dish Pizza and Pizza Chains

Detroit pizza
17125 Conant St, Detroit, MI 48212-1127, USA
Phone +1 313-892-9001

Although most people associate pizza with New York City or Chicago, Detroit's also known for its unique take on this classic American fusion meal. Detroit-style pizza is prepared deep-dish like Chicago but also cut square (or rectangular) and baked in industrial blue steel pans, an homage to the auto industry of the region.

Buddy's Rendezvous is attributed as the originator of Detroit-style pizza and is still in operation after over 70 years, and you can also try the same style at Cloverleaf, Loui's Pizza, and Shield's in Detroit.

On top of being known for this unique preparation of pizza, Detroit (or at least the region) is known for giving birth to two major national pizza chains: Domino's Pizza and Little Caesar's (as well as lesser-known national brands Hungry Howie and Jet's Pizza). 

Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06

Ernie’s Monster from Ernie's Market

Corned beef sandwich from Ernie's Market on marbled rye bread piled high with corned beef, peppers, cheese, pickles, and lettuce. The sandwich is cut in half and there are three wrapped, Hersey's Kisses in between the sandwich halves

 Courtesy of Ernie's Market


Ernie's Market isn't technically in Detroit, but sandwiches that good are worth the drive to the suburb of Oak Park. The first thing you'll get when you walk in is a friendly "Hey Baby" from Ernie himself, along with some Hershey's Kisses. Ernie's has been serving sandwiches piled high and vegetables since 1955 and is still incredibly popular, with lines often stretching out the door. Order the Ernie's Monster sandwich: seven meats and two cheeses for only $9.

06 of 06

Soda Pop

Angie Linder/Flickr 

Known as "pop" in the Metro-Detroit area, Detroit is home to two well-known bottling companies, meaning the city has a unique relationship with this carbonated beverage. Not only was Vernors Ginger Ale arguably the first soda pop to be made domestically, but it has been a popular, unique flavor that is still around after 140 years. Speaking of flavors, Faygo was one of the first companies to experiment with adding cake flavoring to soda pop and contributed some classic flavors, including Red Pop and Rock'n'Rye. You can still visit both company's bottling factories in the Detroit metro region.

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The Foods You Need to Try in Detroit