There’s often an overlap between those who love food and those who appreciate history. After all, cuisine plays an important role in local culture and its development, especially here in the Motor City. When you’re searching for dining options that combine delicious fare with pieces of the past, be sure to check out these seven wonderful and historic restaurants in Detroit.
1. Golden Fleece Restaurant
If you love Greek cuisine, you’ve undoubtedly spent time in Detroit’s Greektown neighborhood. After all, this unique section of the city boasts Greek roots that will surely impress – and food plays a major role in the community’s past and present. Golden Fleece Restaurant has been owned and operated by the same family since 1970 and its dedication to quality and taste has remained intact. Favorites on the menu here include mouthwatering gyros, flavorful kabobs, and an incredible “flaming cheese” dish. What’s not to love?
2. Dakota Inn Rathskeller
With roots dating back to 1933, the Dakota Inn Rathskeller brings a taste of Germany right here to the Motor City. The 2,000-square-foot eatery might just make you feel like you’ve traveled across the ocean and landed in a genuine German restaurant, as the interior boasts an old-world charm that’s impossible to find elsewhere in Detroit. Whether you’re visiting for Oktoberfest or stopping in on an ordinary weekday to enjoy a plate of schnitzel, you’ll adore this spot.
3. The Whitney
History buffs in Detroit are surely familiar with the Whitney, a former lumber baron’s mansion that now operates as one of the most magical restaurants in the city. The building was constructed in 1894 and still features historical touches that add to its upscale yet utterly charming atmosphere. From stunning stained glass to incredible woodwork, the Whitney is full of unique elements – and its menu of fine steak, seafood, wine, and more will have you returning for seconds.
4. Ivanhoe Cafe
Known as the home of the “Polish Yacht Club,” this unassuming restaurant might not catch your eye from the outside. Upon settling in to dine, though, you’ll see why this unforgettable business has endured since its founding back in 1909. Settle in for a drink at the bar or take a seat among warm, friendly surroundings before checking out a menu of Polish classics. From kielbasa to pierogi plates, there’s so much to enjoy.
5. Bates’ Burgers
Who doesn’t love a good, old-fashioned hamburger? We Detroiters certainly have plenty of options when it comes to burgers, but one long-standing eatery deserves to be added to your must-visit list. You’ll have to venture slightly beyond the limits of downtown Detroit to check out Bates’ Burgers in Livonia, but trust us when we say it’s well worth the journey – after all, hungry locals have been digging into tasty fare here since the late 1950s. If that weren’t enough, guests can visit a secondary location in Farmington Hills that’s been around since the mid-1970s. Is your mouth watering yet?
6. Cadieux Cafe
There’s always something fun happening at Cadieux Cafe, whether you’re stopping by to try your hand at feather bowling, enjoying a live musical performance, or simply meeting with friends for dinner and drinks. This Belgian gem has been in operation since the 1930s, rendering it a true Detroit classic. The building holds a sense of history, having served everything from a speakeasy to a meeting place for various local groups throughout the generations. Order a bowl of Belgian onion soup or a plate of Belgian rabbit before settling in to appreciate the eatery’s eclectic charm.
For more than a century, Jacoby’s has remained a fixture in Detroit’s Bricktown neighborhood. That’s right: this amazing spot dates back to 1904, making it one of the oldest restaurants in the entire state of Michigan. With a biergarten and plenty of German touches, there’s a seamless sense of community and warmth to be found here. Whether you’re indulging in a sausage sandwich, trying a plate of jagerschnitzel, or simply ordering a refreshing European beer, you’ll fall in love with this restaurant in no time.
Have you had the opportunity to dine at any of these unique and longstanding spots in the Motor City during previous family outings? Did any of your favorites make the list? Share your own experiences with us by leaving a Facebook comment or recommend your other favorite historic restaurants in Detroit by filling out our nomination form here.