November 30, 2019

These Detroit-area restaurants are totally worth the wait

Sometimes when you're hungry, the sight of a line of diners winding out the door of a popular spot is enough to make you want to turn around and quickly come up with a Plan B. But other times, it's the whole point. At these metro Detroit favorites you can usually expect a wait, but it's always worth it in the end.

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These Detroit-area restaurants are totally worth the wait
Urban Ramen
4206 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-285-9869; urbanramen.com
If you want to eat at the Detroit outpost of this Los Angeles-born eatery, you'll have to be patient. The small ramen spot frequently has a line, with customers chasing after the complex and deeply satisfying bone broth used in its dishes. Thanks to Urban Ramen's limited lunch and dinner hours, the kitchen has plenty of time to prep its fresh ingredients for the next wave of customers, ensuring you'll never receive a half-assed bowl of ramen here.
Photo by Lee DeVito

Urban Ramen

4206 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-285-9869; urbanramen.com
If you want to eat at the Detroit outpost of this Los Angeles-born eatery, you'll have to be patient. The small ramen spot frequently has a line, with customers chasing after the complex and deeply satisfying bone broth used in its dishes. Thanks to Urban Ramen's limited lunch and dinner hours, the kitchen has plenty of time to prep its fresh ingredients for the next wave of customers, ensuring you'll never receive a half-assed bowl of ramen here.

Photo by Lee DeVito
SheWolf Pastificio & Bar 
438 Selden St., Detroit; 313-315-3992; shewolfdetroit.com
SheWolf opened to grand fanfare in July 2018, immediately attracting a well-dressed suburban clientele. But SheWolf isn't all looks: The Italian restaurant draws the crowds with its house-made pasta that uses whole wheat flour which is milled fresh from the grain each day. Even months after opening, SheWolf had so much buzz that the wait time for a table on a Friday or Saturday night was four weeks.
Photo by Tom Perkins

SheWolf Pastificio & Bar

438 Selden St., Detroit; 313-315-3992; shewolfdetroit.com
SheWolf opened to grand fanfare in July 2018, immediately attracting a well-dressed suburban clientele. But SheWolf isn't all looks: The Italian restaurant draws the crowds with its house-made pasta that uses whole wheat flour which is milled fresh from the grain each day. Even months after opening, SheWolf had so much buzz that the wait time for a table on a Friday or Saturday night was four weeks.

Photo by Tom Perkins
Gran Castor 
2950 Rochester Rd, Troy; 248-278-7777; grancastor.com
A former Hooters, Gran Castor is Spanish for "Big Beaver," and offers Latin-inspired fare that doesn't pull its menu from any one particular country. Instead, you can expect inspired twists, such as the bánh mì taco. You can also grab a drink from Gran Castor's tequila-heavy cocktail menu, such as the "Hot Castor," which features tequila, cilantro, Thai chili peppers, and a chili powder rim.
Photo by Tom Perkins

Gran Castor

2950 Rochester Rd, Troy; 248-278-7777; grancastor.com
A former Hooters, Gran Castor is Spanish for "Big Beaver," and offers Latin-inspired fare that doesn't pull its menu from any one particular country. Instead, you can expect inspired twists, such as the bánh mì taco. You can also grab a drink from Gran Castor's tequila-heavy cocktail menu, such as the "Hot Castor," which features tequila, cilantro, Thai chili peppers, and a chili powder rim.

Photo by Tom Perkins
Taqueria El Rey
4730 Vernor Hwy., Detroit; 313-357-3094; taqueria-elrey.com
Located in Southwest Detroit, Taqueria El Rey proves that not all tacos are created equal. The tacos at Taqueria El Rey are simple but tasty, offering classics like al pastor, beef lengua, barbacoa, and more. And did we mention the grilled chicken? It's some of the best in Detroit, meaning that the small cash-only taqueria often has a line out the door.
Photo via Taqueria El Rey / Facebook

Taqueria El Rey

4730 Vernor Hwy., Detroit; 313-357-3094; taqueria-elrey.com
Located in Southwest Detroit, Taqueria El Rey proves that not all tacos are created equal. The tacos at Taqueria El Rey are simple but tasty, offering classics like al pastor, beef lengua, barbacoa, and more. And did we mention the grilled chicken? It's some of the best in Detroit, meaning that the small cash-only taqueria often has a line out the door.

Photo via Taqueria El Rey / Facebook
Dime Store
719 Griswold St. #180, Detroit; 313-962-9106; eatdimestore.com
When it comes to getting a good breakfast on the weekends, the early bird gets the worm. Even then, it might be a while: Wait times can be so long at Dime Store that you'll often spot diners seated in the lobby of Chrysler House waiting for a coveted table to open up. Featuring fresh ingredients that are locally sourced, Dime Store's brunch menu of eggs benedict, hash, and breakfast sandwiches is likely better than anything you could make at home.
Photo via Dime Store / Facebook

Dime Store

719 Griswold St. #180, Detroit; 313-962-9106; eatdimestore.com
When it comes to getting a good breakfast on the weekends, the early bird gets the worm. Even then, it might be a while: Wait times can be so long at Dime Store that you'll often spot diners seated in the lobby of Chrysler House waiting for a coveted table to open up. Featuring fresh ingredients that are locally sourced, Dime Store's brunch menu of eggs benedict, hash, and breakfast sandwiches is likely better than anything you could make at home.

Photo via Dime Store / Facebook
Imperial
22828 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-850-8060; imperialferndale.com
Since opening in 2012, Imperial has been one of the most consistently busy restaurants in Ferndale, and it's easy to see why. Imperial's menu offers a diverse selection of Mexican street fare with a gringo twist, featuring classics like al pastor, barbacoa, and carne asada, along with several veg-friendly options and elote. Even years after first opening its doors, don't be surprised if you find yourself having to wait for a table.
Photo via Imperial / Facebook

Imperial

22828 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-850-8060; imperialferndale.com
Since opening in 2012, Imperial has been one of the most consistently busy restaurants in Ferndale, and it's easy to see why. Imperial's menu offers a diverse selection of Mexican street fare with a gringo twist, featuring classics like al pastor, barbacoa, and carne asada, along with several veg-friendly options and elote. Even years after first opening its doors, don't be surprised if you find yourself having to wait for a table.

Photo via Imperial / Facebook
Parks & Rec
1942 W. Grand River Ave., Detroit; 313-446-8370; parksandrecdiner.com
Parks and Rec is a small diner on the ground floor of Detroit's castle-like Grand Army of the Republic building. While there's almost always certain to be a line, there's free coffee to sip while you wait.
Photo via Parks & rec / Facebook

Parks & Rec

1942 W. Grand River Ave., Detroit; 313-446-8370; parksandrecdiner.com
Parks and Rec is a small diner on the ground floor of Detroit's castle-like Grand Army of the Republic building. While there's almost always certain to be a line, there's free coffee to sip while you wait.

Photo via Parks & rec / Facebook
Green Dot Stables
2200 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit; 313-962-5588; greendotstables.com
Green Dot Stables flips the script on bite-sized eats, with an inspired menu featuring a diverse range of flavors that will satisfy even the pickiest of palettes. Whether you want to try the tofu bahn mi, the crispy pork shoulder, or the mystery meat of the day, Green Dot Stables has plenty of reasons to come back. Even better than its sliders, the $3 craft cocktails will get you a buzz on a budget. The waitlist can be so long that the restaurant directs overflow to the covered patio, where you can sip on one of those aforementioned cocktails.
Photo via Green Dot Stables / Facebook

Green Dot Stables

2200 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit; 313-962-5588; greendotstables.com
Green Dot Stables flips the script on bite-sized eats, with an inspired menu featuring a diverse range of flavors that will satisfy even the pickiest of palettes. Whether you want to try the tofu bahn mi, the crispy pork shoulder, or the mystery meat of the day, Green Dot Stables has plenty of reasons to come back. Even better than its sliders, the $3 craft cocktails will get you a buzz on a budget. The waitlist can be so long that the restaurant directs overflow to the covered patio, where you can sip on one of those aforementioned cocktails.

Photo via Green Dot Stables / Facebook
Original Pancake House
20273 Mack Ave., Grosse Pointe Woods; 313-884-4144; 19355 W. 10 Mile Rd., Southfield; 248-357-3399; 33703 Woodward Ave., Birmingham; 248-642-5775; originalpancakehouse.com
When you're in the mood for a classic flapjack breakfast, Original Pancake House delivers the good stuff with no filler. Making its pancakes from scratch using real cream, butter, and maple syrup, Original Pancake House knows that some of the best things in life are simple. Good luck trying to grab a table on a weekend morning though: you'll have plenty of hearty competition. (Protip: If you want to avoid the wait, consider eating breakfast for dinner.
Photo via Original Pancake House / Facebook

Original Pancake House

20273 Mack Ave., Grosse Pointe Woods; 313-884-4144; 19355 W. 10 Mile Rd., Southfield; 248-357-3399; 33703 Woodward Ave., Birmingham; 248-642-5775; originalpancakehouse.com
When you're in the mood for a classic flapjack breakfast, Original Pancake House delivers the good stuff with no filler. Making its pancakes from scratch using real cream, butter, and maple syrup, Original Pancake House knows that some of the best things in life are simple. Good luck trying to grab a table on a weekend morning though: you'll have plenty of hearty competition. (Protip: If you want to avoid the wait, consider eating breakfast for dinner.

Photo via Original Pancake House / Facebook