Detroit Restaurants Get Creative During COVID

December 17, 2020 | Story by Biba Adams | Photos by Bill Bowen

Michigan restaurants have taken a devastating hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just this month, the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association released grim new statistics. One-third of our state’s restaurants won’t survive the pandemic.

According to them, about 5,600 Michigan restaurant operators, or 33%, say it’s unlikely that their business will still be open six months from now.

“It is fundamentally clear that the pandemic is decimating the hospitality industry in this state to a degree never seen or even imagined,” MRLA President and CEO Justin Winslow said in a release. “While it will take several years and a stable economy to reclaim the size, impact and opportunities produced by this industry, we have not yet reached the bottom.”

While the outlook looks bleak and most restaurant owners need aggressive support from federal, state, and local governments. Some Detroit restaurants and chefs have been getting really creative.

One favorite is the Foundation Hotel.

B.C., (Before Covid), the hotel hosted hosted a few hot DJ nights from area spinners like Nick Speed. The menu at the Apparatus Room from Chef Thomas Lents was tantalizing.

And it still is.

Instagram: @theapparatusroom

For a short time during the holiday season, the hotel is offering up 10 limited suites which have been converted to luxury dining space for up to six people.

For best results, bring your bubble, your pod. The few people who you trust, or just you and your loved one. Eat a lovely meal, in a lovely suite overlooking downtown and have a taste of luxury again.

As sales of the suites are sure to sell out quickly, there is still much to do at many other metro-area restaurants.


Igloos are the new cool

More than 35 Detroit area restaurants have installed heated igloos or tents outdoors. The clear domes or tan yurts are cool looking, but keep you warm as you dine outside with a small group.

Social distancing and masks are still the best ways to prevent the transmission of coronavirus and if you choose to dine in a heated igloo or tent, beware a false sense of security if there isn’t sufficient airflow.

These unique dining experiences should best be enjoyed with your small pod of friends or family members, and fewer than three households should be represented.

Much of the igloo dining has a minimum spending requirement to dine in.

Top picks: Lumen Detroit, Royal Oak Brewery, and Watermark Bar and Grille.


Outdoor Dining for the Warm at Heart

There are some outdoor dining options that are heated with warmers or fire pits that still allow for a little bit of mingling with other patrons.

Instagram: @wmbarandgrille

At Amici’s Kitchen and Living Room in Berkley, there is limited seating, but the patio is cozy and has a great atmosphere.

Motor City Brewing Works has also erected a tent with one side remaining open which allows for airflow.

Detroit Shipping Company has erected a large tent around its massive outdoor space allowing for service from its multi-tiered shipping container beer garden. Dining at Detroit Shipping Company means supporting several local restaurants at once, which is just a plus.

If you are willing to enjoy a gorgeous view and can brave a little bit of cold weather, The Monarch Club is a great option. The rooftop club has added a few igloos, but outdoor fire pit seating is also available. The fire pit at The Monarch Club has one of the best views of Downtown, but they recommend that you dress warmly. Because, baby, it’s cold outside.


Pick Me Ups

While most local restaurants are participating in delivery, take out and pickup are also all the rage.

Pietrzyk Pierogi in Gratiot Central Market is selling $30 boxes featuring a dozen of their famous pierogi, soup, and more that can be assembled into a tasty traditional Polish meal.

Rocco’s Italian Deli is offering take and bake options like their amazing ziti with mushroom marinara. For $50, customers can buy a meal package that they can take home and place piping hot on their table.

After picking up food, Detroiters can pick up custom cocktails from Cafe 78 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.

Each bottle makes a “hefty drink,” according to the description. A single is $12 and a 4-pack is only $28. You can even add special instructions to have your drink customized.

Instagram: @detroit_shipping

Deliver Me

Many Detroit restaurants have signed up for third-party delivery services like Postmates, Grubhub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash. The services are seeing record sales as many people remain inside amid the pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic has also kept some families apart by many miles.

Buddy’s Detroit-style pizza recently launched a nationwide delivery option where you can send a taste of home anywhere in the U.S.

Three or six packs of Buddy’s Pizza can be shipped around the nation spreading Detroit-style love to the ones you love.

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Mentioned Attractions And Venues

  1. 1
    Apparatus Room
    250 W. Larned St., Detroit, MI 48226
  2. 2
    Motor City Brewing Works
    470 W. Canfield St., Detroit, MI 48201
  3. 3
    Detroit Shipping Co.
    474 Peterboro St., Detroit, MI 48201
  4. 4
    Element Detroit at the Metropolitan Building
    33 John R St., Detroit, MI 48226
  5. 5
    Café 78
    Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, 4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48201
  6. 6
    Buddy's Pizza - Detroit
    17125 Conant St., Detroit, MI 48212
  7. 7
    Lumen Detroit
    1903 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 48226, USA
    (313) 626-5005
  8. 8
    Royal Oak Brewery
    215 E 4th St, Royal Oak, MI 48067, USA
    (248) 544-1141
  9. 9
    Watermark Bar & Grille
    24420 Jefferson Ave, St. Clair Shores, MI 48080, USA
    (586) 777-3677
  10. 10
    Amici's Kitchen & Living Room
    3249 Twelve Mile Road, Berkley, MI 48072, USA
    (248) 544-4100
  11. 11
    Pietrzyk Pierogi
    1429 Gratiot Ave, Detroit, MI 48207, USA
    (313) 614-9393
  12. 12
    Rocco's Italian Deli
    3627 Cass Ave, Detroit, MI 48201, USA