When fall comes around, Metro Detroiters embrace living at the peak of Detroit sports fandom. Football is in full swing, and with hockey and basketball now consolidated at Little Caesars Arena, you can catch a game nearly every night of the week. While stadium food is something to look forward to in conjunction with a general sense of nostalgia, Detroit’s Stadium District – often referred to as simply, The District – provides the means to take your pre/post-game dining experience to new heights. In this week’s Neighborhood Spotlight, we’re highlighting the establishments that will bring a new flavor to your game day ritual.
Opened just last month, Union Assembly is the newest addition to The District’s impressive lineup of restaurants. The Union Joints group has already wowed Detroiters with their mac ‘n’ cheese-centric institutions, including Clarkston Union, Vinsetta Garage, and Union Woodshop. Now, they’ve taken their brand of dining downtown, just across the street from Comerica Park. The multi-level dining room boasts a menu suited for a diverse palate, ranging from classic Detroit coneys and pizza to artisan hand-helds (with available gluten-free buns) and steakhouse-inspired entrees. With an extensive kids menu and ample room for customization, Union Assembly aims to please every type of Detroit sports fan. And anyone else who is hungry.
Located directly next door, Mom’s Spaghetti serves up the stuff memes are made of. Initially a pop-up conceptualized by Detroit rap icon, Eminem, the name pays homage to the unforgettable – albeit, vividly grotesque – lyric found in the first verse of 8-Mile hit (and citywide anthem), “Lose Yourself.” After several rounds of testing throughout the city, Mom’s Spaghetti has found permanent residence in the heart of The District. And Detroiters can’t get enough. The walk-up window is a beacon for any and all craving classic spaghetti, spaghetti with meatballs, spaghetti w/ vegan meatballs, and ‘sghetti sandwiches. If you’re lucky, you might end up placing your order with the real Slim Shady himself.
In one of Detroit’s most beautiful spaces, Wright and Co. offers James Beard Award-nominated fare and artfully crafted cocktails just blocks from Grand Circus Park. Locals relish the opportunity to follow up on an adrenaline-inducing sporting event with a more refined – yet, still lively – dining experience. Sharing is the name of the game here, and with a seasonal menu, you’re always guaranteed a surprise on the menu. Some things you can count on – fresh potato chips, a lights-out Executive Old Fashioned. But the fun is in the adventure. Ask your server for their recommendations and let the night run its course. After all, you wouldn’t go to the game if you already knew how the score would play out.
If you’re looking for classic, Detroit-style pizza, Buddy’s is your first stop. The downtown location is perfect for a day built around city pride. Cheer on your team of choice and then make your way over to the headquarters of square pies, crispy crust, and brick cheese. The salads are great too, and serve an essential role in cutting the intensity of facing an entire pizza head-on.
If you’re in a hurry to catch the game, or looking for a quick lunch downtown, there is a great option located within Little Caesars Arena itself. District Market brings together multiple restaurants and bars to please diverse palates for any occasion. Grab coffee and fresh breakfast sandwiches at Sugar & Brew, trending Mexican options from Mex & Co, or a salad from Greens. On Ice features locally distilled spirits, Michigan craft beer, and frozen cocktails. You can’t go wrong at a restaurant specifically designed for gameday dining.