Downtown Hotspots – Jeanette Pierce

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Jeanette Pierce — founder and CEO of City Institute

I’ve lived downtown for 20 years now and have been giving tours for 18 years and one question that has been consistent through the years is, Who is open for lunch on Monday?

Well, here are my Top 5 Downtown Lunch Spots Open Everyday

  • Golden Fleece is the oldest Greek restaurant in Greektown and has stood the test of time by being consistent! Consistently open and consistently delicious. They’ve even expanded and now have an amazing Greek coffee shop & bar next door. Beyond the amazing gyro (which they make themselves), I love the avgolemono (chicken lemon rice) soup and the village salad (all the veggies and feta, no lettuce).
  • Vicente’s Cuban Cuisine has been open almost 20 years and is unique in all of Downtown with its Cuban and Spanish tapas and entrees. My first meal when restaurants opened back up was to sit on the patio at Vicente’s and order all the tapas. My favorites are queso de cabra, pollo al ajillo and croquetas. My husband’s favorite is the Cuban sandwich which many folks don’t know about because it’s only on the lunch menu.
  • Sweetwater Tavern is another longtime Detroit business, if you haven’t had Sweetwater’s wings you are depriving yourself of a Detroit tradition. I am not a huge wing person but the wings at Sweetwater are in a league of their own. My favorite is the wing and hand-battered chicken strip combo, but if it’s dinner we always get the ribs too which literally fall off the bone.
  • Checker Bar has been around 70 years making it one of the oldest restaurants Downtown. New owners took over a decade ago and kept the old school vibe but added a new things to the menu like sweet potato waffle fries and impossible burgers. They still do the classics though with one of the best cheeseburgers in town.
  • Jacoby’s is the oldest spot on this list of places and the oldest restaurant Downtown having opened in 1904! Many know it for its great beer selection but its food is special as well. Traditional German fare like potato pancakes, spaetzle and schnitzel are delicious but so are the French onion soup, the Reuben and the perch sandwich.

In case you’re still hungry, here’s a few more.

5 More Lunch Spots Open Everyday

  • Tin Roof
  • Parc
  • Mootz Pizza Bar
  • ChicP Detroit
  • Queens Bar

Honorable Mentions

  • La Pecora Nera (not open Sunday)
    • Grand Trunk (not open Monday
    • Firebird (not open Sunday and Monday)

I could go on and on but these are just a few of my favorites…and as you can tell not only is the food good, but the stories are as well. So get out and try a place you’ve never been and if you want to learn more about Detroit history, neighborhoods and small businesses check out

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