Dining, Shopping & Entertainment: Holiday Break Fun in Funky Ferndale

By: Toni Cunningham | December 17, 2014
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If I know you, dear “In the D” reader, I bet you’ve been eagerly awaiting the next in our downtown series ever since our Downtown Rochester article last month. Well, today is your lucky day, as the sequence continues! This time, we’re going to be visiting downtown Ferndale.

It’s an area I know quite well, so you can trust me when it comes to dining, shopping, coffee and entertainment recommendations in the area. If you’ve got some time to kill over your upcoming holiday break, here’s where you need to be in Funky Ferndale:

Merry Moonlight Madness is taking place this Thursday, Dec. 18. If you’ve still got some shopping to do, now is a great opportunity to do so! Several downtown shops will be open late and offering specials, so you can finally get everyone checked off of your list.

You can also find Ferndale-themed ornaments, winter hats and more at the Downtown Ferndale DDA office for purchase—perfect stocking stuffers!


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Ferndale is home to some of the best restaurants in the Metro Detroit area, and whether you’re just out shopping or here for an evening out, you’ll find something to fill your tummy.

Imperial, 22828 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, is known for its tacos and tequila. You really can’t go wrong with anything you order, but starting things off with a salsa flight (plus guacamole!) is always a wise choice. There’s always a weekly taco special (for example, a barbacoa, black bean, roasted poblano guacamole, corn salsa and queso fresco taco), as well as the old standbys.

Don’t forget a Sonoran hot dog, and even if you don’t eat meat or pork, you can still indulge—the Vegetarian Sonoran is a veggie dog topped with guacamole, mole, stewed beans, roasted corn, salsa verde, queso fresco and more.

Brunch is served on Sundays and a late night menu is available on Fridays and Saturdays from midnight to 2 a.m. You don’t want to miss out on Imperial’s sister restaurant, Public House, which is also in Ferndale.

The Fly Trap, 22950 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, has just recently reopened after being under construction for a few weeks. After much eager anticipation, you can finally check out the new place and enjoy the diner food you know and love.

Just in case you’ve never been, the menu includes all kinds of omelets, salads and sandwiches, as well as entrees like Lemongrass Faux Bowl and Three Cheese and Mac. Daily specials include a soup, mini muffin and milkshake of the day, as well as a few different meal choices.

As of this past weekend, The Fly Trap now serves Bloody Marys for brunch (hooray for that new liquor license!) on Saturday and Sunday, so you may want to schedule a brunch here with your pals in the near future.

If you’re hungry and in Ferndale, May’s Bangkok Express (order the potato curry and your life will be forever changed) and Rosie O’Grady’s (perfect for a crowd) are also great options.


The Rust Belt Market, 22801 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, is a great place to shop local year round, and has great gift opportunities around the holidays. It has been named “Best Business to Patronize in Ferndale” by MetroTimes in 2014 and “Best Places to Buy Local Craft” by Hour Detroit in 2013 and 2014, in case you need credentials.

Extended holiday hours are available via the website above, and The Rust Belt is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve, so if you’re a procrastinator, you’re in luck. You’ll find locally made art, clothing, woodworks, soap, tea and more all under one roof.

Regeneration, 23700 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, is a vintage clothing and resale shop where you’ll find great gift options for your cousin who loves the 1970s, or even your inner 1950s self. New, used and vintage clothing are available for purchase.

The Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., always has something going on, in the form of a movie screening or concert. If you’re going to be in the Ferndale area, take a peek at the quick calendar here to see what’s happenin’!


Java Hutt, 165 W. 9 Mile Rd., Ferndale, is my favorite coffee shop around, and you should know that I’m not really a huge fan of drinking hot bitter water. The reason I love Java Hutt is because each drink here tastes simply magical, so I don’t even know I’m drinking coffee.

The Java Caramel is my favorite (several delicious shots of espresso topped with whipped cream and caramel), and there are plenty of other hot and cold drinks on the menu to enjoy. This isn’t your normal “just coffee” shop either, because there’s a full menu with sandwiches, breakfast items and salads to choose from. The Pesto Turkey Panini, Mug of Soup (served with toasty bread) and Spinach Feta Breakfast Wrap are all great options.

If you are a coffee fanatic, Chazzano Coffee, 1737 E. 9 Mile Rd., Ferndale, and Red Hook, 220 W. 9 Mile Rd., Ferndale, should also be on your to do list.

New and coming soon

While you enjoy all that Ferndale has to offer, keep in mind all that is to come in 2015! There are plenty of new businesses opening in the downtown area in the coming months, including:

Enjoy exploring downtown Ferndale, and have a great holiday season!