Detroit-area restaurants that opened during the pandemic that you may have missed

The pandemic served us some pretty devastating news, including statistics about business closures. It is estimated that more than 17% of restaurants in the U.S. closed permanently as a result of the pandemic. Nevertheless, some restaurant owners dared to dream and braved the storm to open their doors to serve their communities during a pandemic. From conveyor belt sushi, seafood boils, vegan baked goods, and long-awaited farm-to-table goodness, metro Detroit's dining scene got a bit bigger — and richer — at a difficult time. Eat locally and, remember, tip like a motherfucker.  

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Coriander Kitchen and Farm
14601 Riverside Blvd., Detroit; 313-473-9132; corianderkitchenandfarm.com
Chef Alison Heeres and farmer Gwen Meyer of Coriander Kitchen & Farm have been itching to open their waterfront farm-to-table restaurant since securing the previously vacant marina in the Jefferson-Chalmers area. Well, in 2021, they opened Coriander's doors (er, scenic patio for now) to offer thoughtfully made and locally sourced flatbreads, salads, and sandwiches.  
Photo via Coriander Kitchen and Farm/Facebook

Coriander Kitchen and Farm

14601 Riverside Blvd., Detroit; 313-473-9132; corianderkitchenandfarm.com

Chef Alison Heeres and farmer Gwen Meyer of Coriander Kitchen & Farm have been itching to open their waterfront farm-to-table restaurant since securing the previously vacant marina in the Jefferson-Chalmers area. Well, in 2021, they opened Coriander's doors (er, scenic patio for now) to offer thoughtfully made and locally sourced flatbreads, salads, and sandwiches.

Photo via Coriander Kitchen and Farm/Facebook
Baobab Fare
6568 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-266-5199; baobabfare.com/.com
It’s been a long time coming for casual East African concept and 2017 Hatch Detroit winners Baobab Fare. Owned by Burundi refugees Mamba Hamissi and Nadia Nijimnber, Baobab Fare pivoted to offering whole bean coffee while they complete the build-out of their 65-seat restaurant, juice bar, and market hybrid offering vegetarian-friendly and Halal breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes. Baobab Fare fully opened in 2021. 
Photo via Baobab Fare/Facebook

Baobab Fare

6568 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-266-5199; baobabfare.com/.com

It’s been a long time coming for casual East African concept and 2017 Hatch Detroit winners Baobab Fare. Owned by Burundi refugees Mamba Hamissi and Nadia Nijimnber, Baobab Fare pivoted to offering whole bean coffee while they complete the build-out of their 65-seat restaurant, juice bar, and market hybrid offering vegetarian-friendly and Halal breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes. Baobab Fare fully opened in 2021.

Photo via Baobab Fare/Facebook
Goblin
2547 Bagley St., Detroit; 586-649-7099; goblinorder.com
There's some good news for Detroit sushi lovers and bad news for margarita drinkers: A Macomb County sushi spot moved into the recently shuttered Peso Bar space in Detroit's Mexicantown. The Clinton Township-based Goblin expanded its footprint this spring when it opened one of the very few sushi spots within city limits. The playful sushi restaurant offers a selection of traditional rolls, as well as specialty rolls, sushi bowls, platters, nigiri, and sweets, like matcha cheesecake.
Photo via Goblin Restaurant/Facebook

Goblin

2547 Bagley St., Detroit; 586-649-7099; goblinorder.com

There's some good news for Detroit sushi lovers and bad news for margarita drinkers: A Macomb County sushi spot moved into the recently shuttered Peso Bar space in Detroit's Mexicantown. The Clinton Township-based Goblin expanded its footprint this spring when it opened one of the very few sushi spots within city limits. The playful sushi restaurant offers a selection of traditional rolls, as well as specialty rolls, sushi bowls, platters, nigiri, and sweets, like matcha cheesecake.

Photo via Goblin Restaurant/Facebook
Wing Heaven Sports Haven
3812 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Lansing; 517-721-1004; facebook.com/wingheaven.sportshaven
In what is a major touchdown for Michigan's sober community, the state just scored its first sober and recovery-oriented booze-free sports bar. Wing Heaven Sports Haven, a Michigan-based franchise, opened its doors this year in Lansing, and though it has all of the makings of your run-of-the-mill sports bar, it doesn't serve a drop of alcohol, making it the first of its kind in the state. Described as being like a Buffalo Wild Wings sans booze, Wing Heaven Sports Haven features TVs and tabletop games, like pool and air hockey, and a finger-licking menu boasting traditional and boneless wings, burgers, subs, chicken strips, fried fish, and sides like fried mushrooms, jalapeño poppers, and “mountain fries” (that's 1 lb. of french fries loaded up with meat, cheese, and veggies for $7.99). They recently started serving breakfast. In lieu of boozy cocktails, they offer soda, Kool-Aid, and specialty drinks, like Fizzy Pineapple Punch, Mermaid Lemonade, and the alcohol-free classic, the Shirley Temple.
Photo courtesy of Wing Heaven Sports Haven

Wing Heaven Sports Haven

3812 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Lansing; 517-721-1004; facebook.com/wingheaven.sportshaven

In what is a major touchdown for Michigan's sober community, the state just scored its first sober and recovery-oriented booze-free sports bar. Wing Heaven Sports Haven, a Michigan-based franchise, opened its doors this year in Lansing, and though it has all of the makings of your run-of-the-mill sports bar, it doesn't serve a drop of alcohol, making it the first of its kind in the state. Described as being like a Buffalo Wild Wings sans booze, Wing Heaven Sports Haven features TVs and tabletop games, like pool and air hockey, and a finger-licking menu boasting traditional and boneless wings, burgers, subs, chicken strips, fried fish, and sides like fried mushrooms, jalapeño poppers, and “mountain fries” (that's 1 lb. of french fries loaded up with meat, cheese, and veggies for $7.99). They recently started serving breakfast. In lieu of boozy cocktails, they offer soda, Kool-Aid, and specialty drinks, like Fizzy Pineapple Punch, Mermaid Lemonade, and the alcohol-free classic, the Shirley Temple.

Photo courtesy of Wing Heaven Sports Haven
Joe Louis Southern Kitchen
3100 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit; 313-788-8338; joelouissouthernkitchen.com
Giving New Center the ol' one-two punch is an ode to the legendary boxer, Joe Louis. The all-day brunch-forward project comes from Johnny Cannon (owner of Sweet Magnolia's, former owner of New Center Eatery) in cooperation with Joe Louis II. The restaurant seats 76 people and features southern breakfast staples like buttermilk biscuits, croquettes and rice, shrimp and grits, country-fried steak, pancakes, and chicken and waffles. The restaurant pays homage to Louis through its decor and menu item names. 
Photo via Joe Louis Southern Kitchen/Facebook

Joe Louis Southern Kitchen

3100 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit; 313-788-8338; joelouissouthernkitchen.com

Giving New Center the ol' one-two punch is an ode to the legendary boxer, Joe Louis. The all-day brunch-forward project comes from Johnny Cannon (owner of Sweet Magnolia's, former owner of New Center Eatery) in cooperation with Joe Louis II. The restaurant seats 76 people and features southern breakfast staples like buttermilk biscuits, croquettes and rice, shrimp and grits, country-fried steak, pancakes, and chicken and waffles. The restaurant pays homage to Louis through its decor and menu item names.

Photo via Joe Louis Southern Kitchen/Facebook
Planthropie
135 Pierce St., Birmingham; 248-839-5640; planthropie.com
Vegans with a sweet tooth, rejoice: we now have a neighborhood all-vegan cheese and dessert bar. The concept for Planthropie was then inspired by the recipes the owner cooked up at home for her son after she found he was allergic to dairy. Menu items for the new cafe include white truffle cheese, mac nut cheese, cheesecake, and hot chocolate cake latte.
Photo courtesy of Planthropie / Facebook

Planthropie

135 Pierce St., Birmingham; 248-839-5640; planthropie.com

Vegans with a sweet tooth, rejoice: we now have a neighborhood all-vegan cheese and dessert bar. The concept for Planthropie was then inspired by the recipes the owner cooked up at home for her son after she found he was allergic to dairy. Menu items for the new cafe include white truffle cheese, mac nut cheese, cheesecake, and hot chocolate cake latte.

Photo courtesy of Planthropie / Facebook
Street Beet
4626 3rd Ave., Detroit; 313-638-1480; streetbeetdetroit.com
This cult-favorite all-vegan pop-up found a permanent home inside Detroit's 3rd Street Bar weeks before the pandemic closed Michigan's restuarants. The menu features Street Beet's greatest hits, including favorite items from several iterations of pop-ups, as well as some new additions. From Taco Hell, the pair's Taco Bell spoof, the Supreme Crunchywrap and Nachos Hell Grande made the cut, as did the fake chicken sandwich and cashew mac & cheese, which were fixtures on their KFC-inspired menus, and the filet-no-fish sandwich, a fan favorite circa their limited-run McDaddy's pop-up. New to the menu are a phony cheesesteak, a party melt, loaded french fries, and a brownie and ice cream dessert.
Photo via Street Beet Detroit/Facebook

Street Beet

4626 3rd Ave., Detroit; 313-638-1480; streetbeetdetroit.com

This cult-favorite all-vegan pop-up found a permanent home inside Detroit's 3rd Street Bar weeks before the pandemic closed Michigan's restuarants. The menu features Street Beet's greatest hits, including favorite items from several iterations of pop-ups, as well as some new additions. From Taco Hell, the pair's Taco Bell spoof, the Supreme Crunchywrap and Nachos Hell Grande made the cut, as did the fake chicken sandwich and cashew mac & cheese, which were fixtures on their KFC-inspired menus, and the filet-no-fish sandwich, a fan favorite circa their limited-run McDaddy's pop-up. New to the menu are a phony cheesesteak, a party melt, loaded french fries, and a brownie and ice cream dessert.

Photo via Street Beet Detroit/Facebook
Toney Island
13000 E. Warren Ave., Detroit; 313-469-7255; toney-island.business.site
Like many of us, Detroit rapper Tone Tone has dreamt of seeing his name in lights. Though he has likely already experienced that feat in his two-decade-long career, nothing could have prepared him for having his name plastered across the awning of his very own restaurant, which boasts a burger named after one of his most popular songs. Opened in March, Toney Island offers coney island staples but with some Toney Island twists. There's the Berry Gordy Chicken and Waffles, Secret Seasoned Toney Island Wings, shrimp and grits, turkey and pork chops, and the Wayburn Chili, which comes with a “spicy kick” and is named for the street where Tone grew up just a few blocks away.
Photo via <a href="https://www.facebo

Toney Island

13000 E. Warren Ave., Detroit; 313-469-7255; toney-island.business.site

Like many of us, Detroit rapper Tone Tone has dreamt of seeing his name in lights. Though he has likely already experienced that feat in his two-decade-long career, nothing could have prepared him for having his name plastered across the awning of his very own restaurant, which boasts a burger named after one of his most popular songs. Opened in March, Toney Island offers coney island staples but with some Toney Island twists. There's the Berry Gordy Chicken and Waffles, Secret Seasoned Toney Island Wings, shrimp and grits, turkey and pork chops, and the Wayburn Chili, which comes with a “spicy kick” and is named for the street where Tone grew up just a few blocks away.

Photo via
kurasushi.com/locations/troy-mi

A sushi train restaurant has made its way to metro Detroit. Kura Sushi is a Japanese chain in the style of the country's popular "sushi trains," where plates of sushi are delivered to customers via conveyor belts. Here's how it works: Below, a "primary belt" carries a rotating selection of sushi plates that customers can grab as they please. Guests can also place orders using a touch panel tablet at their table, which is delivered via an "Express Belt" — or what Kura Sushi calls a "sushi highway" — located above the primary belt. The bill is calculated based on the special orders and the number of plates taken from the primary belt.

Photo courtesy of Kura Sushi
Yellow Light Coffee & Donuts
14447 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit; 313-469-7780; yellowlightdetroit.com
Yellow Light Coffee & Donuts is the latest venture from Jacques and Christine Driscoll, the co-owners of successful Detroit eateries Green Dot Stables and Johnny Noodle King. They have a small indoor dining space and a drive-in window, with a menu of doughnuts, biscuits, chicken sandwiches, and house-roasted coffee.
Photo via Yellow Light Detroit/Facebook

Yellow Light Coffee & Donuts

14447 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit; 313-469-7780; yellowlightdetroit.com

Yellow Light Coffee & Donuts is the latest venture from Jacques and Christine Driscoll, the co-owners of successful Detroit eateries Green Dot Stables and Johnny Noodle King. They have a small indoor dining space and a drive-in window, with a menu of doughnuts, biscuits, chicken sandwiches, and house-roasted coffee.

Photo via Yellow Light Detroit/Facebook