Classic to Sophisticated: Metro D’s Most Beloved Diners

By: Amber Ogden | June 24, 2015
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Metro Detroit is home to a variety of restaurants, from your neighborhood favorites to classy establishments to classic diners. The latter no longer fits into one niche anymore—in the olden days, a 50s style diner would be decked out in black and white checkers with red accents and a menu of only burgers, fries and shakes. These days, diners are much more diverse, both in appearance and in menu offerings.

While we all love and appreciate fine dining, there’s something to be said about the simplicity of diner fare. If your stomach is grumbling, head to one of southeast Michigan’s most beloved diners:

Blue Plate Diner, 32610 W. 7 Mile Rd., Livonia, offers both dine-in and carry out, seven days a week. Breakfast is served all day, and includes choices like the Blue Plate Hearty Breakfast (three eggs, ham, two strips of bacon, two sausage, side choice and toast), Stuffed French Toast (with cream cheese filling) and the Almost Everything Omelet (with ham, bacon, sausage, bell peppers, hash browns, onions and American cheese).

If you’re not feeling breakfast, consider a Chicken Caesar Pita (marinated chicken, lettuce, tomato and Caesar dressing), Bacon Grilled Cheese or Turkey Melt (homemade turkey with sautéed onions, Swiss cheese and American cheese). Classic dinners, like a Baked Half Chicken or Beef Brisket, are served with your choice of three sides.

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Mae’s, 24060 Woodward Ave., Pleasant Ridge, recently changed ownership, but I can personally attest that the quality of the food has not altered a bit since. My favorite is the Kurtzy Omelet, with goat cheese, spinach, red bell peppers and bacon. It’s served with hash browns and your choice of toast.

Additional breakfast offerings include custom omelets and scrambles, Sweet and Savory Platter (two pancakes, two slices of French toast, two eggs and your choice of bacon, sausage patties, sausage links or ham) and Buttermilk Pancakes (to which you can add bananas, strawberries, walnuts, chocolate chips, pecans or granola).

Lunchtime options include the Caprese sandwich (buffalo mozzarella with fresh basil, tomato and homemade balsamic dressing), Positive Detroit salad (mixed greens tossed with sliced strawberries, candied pecans and topped with a fried goat cheese patty and poppy seed dressing) and Portland Special sandwich (Cap’n Crunch chicken tenders topped with hot sauce and Pepper Jack cheese).

Rose’s Fine Food, 10551 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit, takes the diner concept to another level. It’s an incredibly sophisticated diner that makes much of its menu from scratch, including the daily selection of homemade breads, rolls and pastries.

For breakfast, order Grandpa Richard’s Pancakes (Northern Michigan-style flapjacks served with real maple syrup), Poodle Platter (two poached eggs served over sautéed greens and potatoes with ricotta and jam topped toast) or Miss Universe (a roasted chicken herb biscuit with caramelized onions, Cheddar cheese, pickles, herb aioli and scallions).

The lunch menu offers a variety of fresh selections, including The Upstream Sandwich (pan-fried rainbow trout topped with pickles, herb aioli and mixed greens on toast) and Hype Salad (kale tossed with chicken breast, olives, season berries, cucumbers and your choice of dressing).

Zack’s of Plymouth, 9468 S. Main St., Plymouth, has been around for as long as I can remember, because it’s where I always used to hang out with my friends in high school. When you wake up really hungry, consider Big Zack’s Breakfast, complete with three eggs, eight bacon strips, eight sausage links or eight ounces of ham, served with a biscuit, sausage gravy, hash browns, toast and jelly.

If you’re looking for something that won’t put you into a food coma but is equally delicious, consider the Corned Beef Omelet (with corned beef, onions and green peppers) or Texas Style French Toast.

Greek favorites include Spinach Pie and Gyro Platter (gyro meat on pita bread served with a mini Greek salad, rice or fries), and pita wraps, burgers and sandwiches are all available.

SideStreet Diner, 630 St. Clair Ave., Grosse Pointe, calls itself a “finer diner,” and specializes in from-scratch dishes. From breakfast through dinner, you’ll find delicious options that feel just like a home cooked meal. Plus, this place serves beer and wine!

The diner has several Potato Plates on its menu, including the Deli Potato (bacon, onion, Cheddar cheese, home fries and sour cream, topped with two eggs and served with toast). There are also quite a few Eggs Benedict options to pick from, including the Salmon Bennie (two poached eggs with salmon on grilled sourdough bread, topped with red onions, capers, cream cheese and hollandaise sauce).

Omelets, Banana Walnut Pancakes, Raisin Bread French Toast and more also await you.

For lunch or dinner, try the Hot Meatloaf (served on two slices of white bread with mashed potatoes and beef gravy), Roasted Pork Dinner (served with scalloped apples, stuffing and choice of potato) or Oriental Stir-fry Wrap (grilled veggies, fresh spinach and Asian oriental dressing). Don’t forget to end your meal with a slice of cake from Sweet Little Sheila’s Pastry and Cake Shop!

Don’s of Traverse City, 48730 Grand River Ave., Novi, decided to bring a taste of the north to Metro Detroit! The southern location offers a variety of burgers and sliders, prepared just the way you like and topped with your favorite fixin’s.

The Chicken Finger Basket, Grilled Ham and Cheese (on white, whole wheat or rye) and Reuben (with sauerkraut on rye bread) are also on the menu, along with hotdogs, chili, fries and onion rings. The menu at Don’s of Traverse City is what comes to mind when you think “traditional diner fare,” right down to the vanilla, strawberry, chocolate and cherry shakes.

Don’s specials also include a Hot Roast Beef Sandwich, Homemade Meatloaf, Cold Turkey and Swiss Hoagie, and Patty Melt.

No matter which diner is calling your name, all of the ones on this list will provide you with delicious food and a great diner experience. Enjoy!