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Staff Pick, Readers' Choice

Best Restaurant (Detroit) 


Sticky ribs from Takoi.

Courtesy photo

Sticky ribs from Takoi.

2520 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-855-2864;

In just four years, the hip Corktown Thai-fusion restaurant known as Takoi has had enough ups and downs to fill decades at any other eatery. Initially a food truck associated with Two James Spirits, it went brick-and-mortar across the street in 2016 and quickly won praise from local reviewers, even being nominated as a semifinalist in the Best New Restaurant category of the prestigious James Beard Awards. Then the restaurant suffered a break-in and suspected arson in February 2017, and the restaurant was so badly damaged it took six months to re-open.

But during this interval, people began to come forward to complain that the eatery's name was a slur: The term "katoi," they explained, is used as an insult for transgender people in Thailand.

In the final days before re-opening, the trio who owned the restaurant changed the name to Takoi, and took down a few other gags critics had deemed offensive. They also put up some imposing fences to keep out would-be thieves and arsonists.

But once you get past those imposing fences (and any earlier hurt feelings), you'll likely agree with our readers that Takoi is a chic, modern restaurant with a distinct atmosphere, that chef Brad Greenhill's take on Thai fusion is exciting, and that everything else is now water under the bridge. —Michael Jackman

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

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October 20, 2021

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