Eating Your Way through Corktown Detroit Restaurants

Modified: December 16, 2022 | Story by Michelle Fusco | Photos by Bucharest Grille

No one leaves Corktown hungry. Detroit’s oldest neighborhood, originally an Irish enclave, is a treasure trove of popular Detroit restaurants. Brunch menus, vegan-friendly dishes and outdoor patios are big here. Filled with history, character and charm, every Corktown Detroit restaurant you visit has the potential of being your new favorite.

Breakfast in Corktown Detroit Restaurants

Fuel up at Astro Coffee, the preferred stop of coffee connoisseurs, featuring specialty roasters from around the country. Grab a house-made bagel at the cozy Detroit Institute of Bagels or “break the fast” with an omelet, quiche, breakfast hash, banana walnut pancakes, scones, or – if need be – The Hangover Special at Brooklyn Street Local.

Detroit Institute of Bagels, a Corktown Detroit restaurant

Lunch: A Casual Affair

Mudgie’s Deli and Wine Shop has been a mainstay in Corktown for a decade. It’s the place to go for sandwich masterpieces, homemade soups plus craft beer, wine and cocktails. Mercury Burger & Bar is a must-stop for 15 different varieties of D-licious burgers and decadent milkshakes — including a Faygo orange creamsicle or Vernors float. Choose tater tots, wings, fried meatballs and other $2 lunch specials — yep, you read that right – at Corktown Tavern. The upstairs of this simple neighborhood bar with a “shot and a beer” atmosphere hosts live bands. It’s decisions, decisions at Bobcat Bonnie’s. With a menu full of palate-pleasing dishes, it’s always a challenge to narrow down your order at this high-quality gastropub.

Mercury Burger Bar

Dinner: Things Just Got Interesting…

Corktown Detroit can trace its resurgence back to 2005. It quickly became a destination restaurant and has expanded to other locations in Midtown, Pontiac and Grand Rapids, Mich. The restaurant’s rabid popularity inspired other restaurateurs to roll the dice on Corktown. See what all the hype is about — order up some pulled pork, dry-smoked ribs, or the famous Yardbird sandwich (mustard-soaked pulled chicken).

Ottava Via gets Italian right with sausage and polenta, house-made mozzarella, stone-fired pizzas, pastas and a signature porchetta. An outdoor patio features a fireplace and bocce court.

In just a little over a year, Ima, a modern Japanese noodle shop, has earned rave reviews from local media, including Eater Detroit’s Restaurant of the Year in 2017. It’s no wonder, with its jicama shell tacos, spicy pork udon and rice bowls, served in a casual, communal setting.

Ima a Corktown Detroit restaurant

Ima Noodles

Gold Cash Gold, former home of a pawn shop, offers a serious feast of flavors with creative craft cocktails to seal the deal. Groups can reserve the Kitchen Table, with a view of skillful chefs practicing their craft.

The Thai fusion menu at Takoi earned recognition as a Best New Restaurant from the Detroit Free Press. Detroit foodies cheered when the restaurant reopened in summer 2017, six months after a fire closed its doors.

Dinner at Lady of the House is a culinary event. The menu is fresh and creative, with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients. Corktown’s latest sensation was nominated for Best New Restaurant in the Country by the James Beard Foundation.

Find Red Dunn Kitchen in Corktown’s newly renovated Trumbull and Porter hotel, where the seasonal menu offers “Detroit-style American cuisine.”

Late Night Tummy Rumbles

After the concert, game or just a night of carousing, you might need a little snack at a Corktown Detroit restaurant. You can’t beat the chicken, beef or veggie shawarmas wrapped in a pita at Bucharest Grille. Nemo’s, a Detroit classic, is an especially popular spot before and after Detroit sporting events, with a convenient shuttle bus. Or hit Nancy Whiskey for pub fare served with a side of live music on Friday and Saturday nights.

Bucharest Grill food, a Corktown Detroit restaurant

Bucharest Grill

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Mentioned Attractions And Venues

  1. 1
    Astro Coffee
    4884 Grand River Ave., Unit 1A, Detroit, MI 48208
  2. 2
    Detroit Institute of Bagels
    1236 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48226
  3. 3
    Brooklyn Street Local
    1266 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48226
  4. 4
    Mudgie’s Deli & Wine Shop
    1413 Brooklyn St., Detroit, MI 48226
  5. 5
    Mercury Burger & Bar
    2163 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48216
  6. 6
    Corktown Tavern
    1716 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48216
  7. 7
    Bobcat Bonnie's
    1800 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48216
  8. 8
    Slows Bar BQ
    2138 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48216
  9. 9
    Ottava Via
    1400 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48216
  10. 10
    2015 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48216
  11. 11
    2520 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48216
  12. 12
    Red Dunn Kitchen
    1331 Trumbull Ave., Ste. 100, Detroit, MI 48216
  13. 13
    Nemo's Bar
    1384 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48226
  14. 14
    Nancy Whiskey
    2644 Harrison St., Detroit, MI 48216