There are hundreds of fantastic restaurants in and around Detroit. Go ahead – explore the city’s epicurean explosion.
Here are a few to-note locations in Detroit’s destination districts that are either LGBTQ-owned or make an extra effort to reach out to LGBTQ diners.
Downtown Detroit (DD)
Avalon International Breads – Detroit
One of Detroit’s frequently cited success stories, Avalon was started in 1997 by two women who had a simple mission to feed people wholesome, 100 percent organic baked goods in the city of Detroit. Since those humble beginnings, Avalon has experienced explosive growth and now has five locations. Avalon’s cafes offer sandwiches, a complete bakery, coffees and teas, and provide baked goods to more than 40 restaurants and markets throughout southeast Michigan. Great lunch spot.
Briggs Detroit – Detroit
In downtown Detroit, across from the GM Renaissance Center, Briggs is a popular sports bar and after-work watering hole. This attractive club draws an energetic crowd to its Trophy Room dance club with “kickass” DJs. The bar features 22 craft beers and two alcohol infusions on tap. A full kitchen offers a menu that is decidedly meat-oriented – barbecue, burgers and house-braised corned beef. The SkyBox rooftop is perfect for enjoying a cocktail while taking in an unrivaled view of downtown.
Cuisine – French Restaurant in Detroit
This gourmet French restaurant features a huge wine list. Owner and chef Paul Grosz studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. This elegant dining establishment is the realization of his life-long dream to own an award-winning restaurant. The menu features gourmet specialties such as lobster bisque, an exquisite seafood tasting plate, foie gras, a shiitake mushroom-stuffed eggplant and desserts that will leave you swooning. Located within walking distance of the Fisher Theatre, Cuisine is a perfect place for dinner before a show.
Detroit Vegan Soul – Detroit
Co-owners and life partners Kirsten Ussery and Erika Boyd started Detroit Vegan Soul in 2012 to make good, healthy food accessible to everyone, and to break the cycle of diet-related diseases in families and community. They’ve created a menu prepared with organic produce, natural ingredients and sweeteners, all non-GMO, made without pesticides, preservatives, additives, refined flours, sugars, dairy, eggs and animal by-products.
La Feria Spanish Tapas – Detroit
This friendly, gay-owned restaurant right in the heart of Detroit’s exciting Midtown area is Michigan’s only authentic Spanish tapas restaurant. The menu follows the tapas tradition of a number of plates that are small portions of Spanish cuisine accompanied by wine or beer. Think Mardi Gras in New Orleans or Carnival in Rio, and then you’ll be prepared for La Feria. Most ingredients are locally sourced to help support Detroit’s active urban farming community.
Amici’s Pizza & Living Room – Berkley
Jennifer Stark and her partner, Maureen McNamara, own this friendly spot. It features a casual martini bar where patrons can order one of 50 martinis and award-winning pizza in a comfortable neighborhood setting. The menu offers gourmet vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free pizzas. The patio is a true garden oasis in the city and has been called the best “secret garden” in the metro area. Tucked in a cozy outdoor space behind the Living Room, the patio is a wonderful spot for a summer evening, serving martinis and pizza alfresco. Amici’s also regularly features local artists.
Axle Brewing Company / Livernois Tap – Ferndale
This new restaurant and bar located in Ferndale is very LGBTQ friendly (note the rainbow flag out front). Axle’s owners have created an American interpretation of a classic European beer hall. Part park, part brewery and part friendly community gathering space, Axle offers creative dishes inspired by classic beer food. Conversation and music are encouraged. There’s a comfortable outside seating area and a casual indoor dining area with booths, benches and, of course, a beer bar with stool seating.
Bistro 82 – Royal Oak
One of Royal Oak’s newest culinary editions, Bistro 82 is an upscale restaurant with a French-inspired, eclectic menu that includes oysters, many seafood delicacies and plenty for the meat eaters. It offers a beautiful setting with great people-watching opportunities thanks to its open sidewalk seating. Plus, there are more intimate spots for dining and conversation inside. With a full bar, excellent service and an LGBTQ-friendly staff, this spot is a perfect “date night” choice. Cool and modern in design with an extensive wine and bar menu.
Café Muse – Royal Oak
Gay-owned and -operated by David Smith and Greg Reyner, Café Muse is a sophisticated bar and restaurant with unique, delicious selections prepared daily by Chef Greg. Classically trained at the Culinary and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, chef Greg finds inspiration from the great restaurants he and Smith have visited around the world. At the heart of the restaurant is their belief in natural cuisine. They’ve created a simple, European-style menu that features as many fresh, locally produced and organic ingredients as possible. Located near the Stagecrafters community theater, Café Muse is a perfect spot to catch dinner before a show.
Inn Season Cafe – Royal Oak
Since 1981, Inn Season Cafe has offered organic vegan/vegetarian options in a cozy environment. This is a small space with great food, so expect to wait if you don’t call ahead. All food is prepared without the use of animal products unless otherwise noted on the menu. Most foods and grains are organically grown with as many as possible purchased from local farms. The soups use fresh herbs and all foods are cooked in healthy oils. No food colorings, preservatives, refined sugar or bleached flour, microwaves, etc. Their bread is baked daily from organic wheat and rye grains.
Pronto! – Royal Oak
Pronto! is a popular restaurant and bar that has served the LGBTQ community for decades right in the heart of Royal Oak. Deli-style sandwiches, soups, fresh salads, cakes, cupcakes and desserts are served. The video bar is popular in the evenings and features live entertainment, including Broadway-style cabaret nights. Pronto! offers a fun atmosphere with a friendly staff, relaxing sidewalk patio, a full bar and a popular Sunday brunch. The restaurant has teamed up with Drag Queen Bingo hosted by Five15 Media, Mojo And More every weekend in the space right next door.
Rosie O’Grady’s – Ferndale
This popular sports bar and restaurant is located right across the street from Affirmations, a LGBT community center. Offering live entertainment, a patio and bar, Rosie’s frequently hosts LGBTQ events and fundraisers and often has lots of people from Affirmations and Ferndale’s vibrant LGBTQ community inside. Rosie’s also owns and operates the restaurant right across the street, Pop’s for Italian, a great spot for pizza, beer and tasty Italian dishes.
Beyond Detroit (BD)
Aut Bar – Ann Arbor
An iconic LGBTQ gathering place since the early 1990s. The restaurant and bar serves an eclectic menu with a Mexican flair. Most likely, you’ll be greeted by one of the owners, Keith or Martin, one of the first same-sex couples to legally marry in Washtenaw County. The bar is a popular weekend Champagne brunch spot, and it features Ann Arbor’s gayest Happy Hour, Tuesday–Friday. Located in Braun Court, which is also home to the LGBTQ-focused Jim Toy Community Center and Common Language Bookstore, Aut Bar hosts many community event fundraisers, rallies and celebrations. Popular with men, women and trans.
Bona Sera Restaurant – Ypsilanti
Bona Sera is a fun and creative underground supper club and full bar in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area of Michigan. Wonder Woman and Bad Fairy (their underground names) are the owners, chefs and generous hosts. World, fusion and twisted-inspired versions of both classic dishes and new concoctions fill out six-course dinners. Bona Sera is open for brunch on the weekends and features its own unique variations on the bloody mary and mimosa. Offers live entertainment regularly, and acts as a key host and sponsor of Ypsilanti’s First Fridays, a monthly art, music and street fair.
Tios Mexican Cafe – Ann Arbor
Since 1986, Tios has been rated one of the best, most authentic Mexican restaurants in Michigan. The cooks prepare the beans, meats, guacamole, salad dressings, unique salsas and enchilada sauce from scratch. Low-fat, low-cholesterol pure vegetable oil is used – no lard, coconut or palm oils. Tios has a full bar and Michigan’s largest tequila selection. It is also home to the world’s largest plate of nachos – Mt. Nacheesmo weighs in at a whopping five pounds. Tios is located just off campus from the University of Michigan.
14315 Braun Court, Ann Arbor, MI 48104734-994-3677