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Staff Pick

Best Restaurant That Only Sounds Like a Union Hall 

Local 212; 212 Fifth Ave., Royal Oak; 248-591-4789; 212royaloak.com

The name wasn’t meant to sound like a union hall. Owners weren’t thinking to evoke a big plain room with metal folding chairs and portraits of UAW presidents on the walls, hot dogs the most likely food on hand, if any. Nope, “local” means local sourcing and despite the blue-collar moniker, the food at Local 212 is decidedly fancy. You’ll find housemade charcuterie, carpaccio of wild boar from up North, artisanal cheeses, velvety duck liver mousse served with rich bacon jam, Thai-sausage-stuffed shrimp from Okemos, French toast fried in duck fat, and pickled berries and black pepper in your strawberry shortcake. Mixologists use house-made ingredients along with Michigan spirits like Journeyman’s gin (there’s the union connection again). Did Walter Reuther fight to make such delectables affordable for the working man? Or is he rolling in his grave?

Previous Winners

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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