Are you a fan of both history and food? If you’re a culinary enthusiast who also appreciates all things timeless, you’ll want to check out some of our favorite historic restaurants in Detroit. After all, the Motor City boasts a unique and storied past that’s so worth learning about — and this includes plenty of awesome eateries. Here are eight history-rich restaurants that deserve a spot on your dining bucket list.
1. The Whitney
This stunning restaurant dates back to 1894, when the building was constructed as the home of local lumber baron David Whitney. During his heyday, Whitney was the richest man in the city of Detroit, and the opulence of his home certainly reflects this wealth. When you visit today, you’ll appreciate fine fare alongside stunning woodwork, plenty of original touches, and antiques galore.
2. Cliff Bell’s
Located along Park Avenue in Detroit, this marvelous jazz club and restaurant first opened its doors in 1935. Throughout the generations, this one-of-a-kind establishment came to life with performances by all sorts of talented musicians. It closed in 1985 before its reopening and refurbishment in 2006 — and today, guests can enjoy drinks and food while listening to some of the top live music in Detroit. Talk about a blast!
3. Amore da Roma
This welcoming Italian eatery is a continuation of the former Roma Cafe, which operated on-site in 1888 and remained a true local fixture until 2017. While the name has changed, Amore da Roma retains much of the original charm, deliciousness, and impeccable service that made Roma Cafe such a Detroit gem. When you’re in the mood for fresh pasta and great conversation, look no further.
Since its opening in 1904, Jacoby’s has been a must-visit for German immigrants in Detroit and visitors from all sorts of backgrounds. The eatery and its accompanying biergarten make for an authentic German experience right here in the Motor City, offering an assortment of classic dishes alongside refreshing drafts and brews. When you’re ready to unwind, few spots deliver culinary comfort like Jacoby’s.
5. Cadieux Cafe
This fun-filled establishment once operated as a speakeasy during the Prohibition era, offering a gathering place for the Belgian population in the Motor City. Today, it operates as an eatery, bar, live music space, and “feather bowling” venue — the latter being a Belgian game that is akin to curling without the ice. Cadieux Cafe is open late, so there’s rarely a bad time to stop in for a visit.
6. Duly’s Place
You’ve undoubtedly stopped in at Lafayette or American Coney Island when you’re craving some classic Detroit fare, but have you ever visited Duly Place? This unassuming, unfussy restaurant is open 24 hours and has satisfied hungry visitors since the early 1920s. You won’t find glitz or glamour when you make a stop at Duly’s, but you will find mouthwatering diner food that will keep your taste buds happy.
7. Ivanhoe Cafe
This unforgettable destination, which houses the iconic Polish Yacht Club, is one of Metro Detroit’s most beloved places to gather with loved ones. You don’t have to boast Polish heritage to enjoy a meal at Ivanhoe Cafe, which serves everything from kielbasa to pierogies to tasty scallops. Since 1909, Detroiters have stopped in for a drink or two among family and friends, so why not join the tradition?
8. The Rattlesnake Club
While the Rattlesnake Club is more of a recent addition when compared to previous spots on our list, we still think it’s worth mentioning. Since opening its doors in the late 1980s, this fine-dining destination has provided guests with amazing views of the RiverWalk and the city skyline. If you’re looking for the perfect special occasion spot, you can’t go wrong with wine and dinner from the soon-to-be-iconic Rattlesnake.
Have you been lucky enough to enjoy a meal from one of these historic restaurants in Detroit? Which of our selections is your favorite? We’re always happy to hear from you, so share your thoughts with us in the Facebook comments or recommend another history-rich eatery by filling out our nomination form here.