I’ve always been leery of eating at any fast food establishment attached to a gas station. I’m not exactly sure why, but the thought of smashing a hamburger at a crusty gas station along the highway does not sound appealing to me.
However, dining in a former gas station/garage turned classy eating establishment sounds much more up my alley. Coincidentally, there are a few in the Metro Detroit area, providing a unique environment and even better food.
Red Crown Restaurant, 15301 Kercheval, Grosse Pointe Park, is new on the scene, having just opened in the beginning of March. The restaurant is housed in the former Standard Oil building, which was used for car repairs back in the day. Now, the red and white brick interior (with the original garage doors still intact) services hungry patrons instead of engines.
The menu changes frequently, but you’ll likely find several barbecue items on the list. They also feature comfort food classics like Grilled Meat Loaf and Shrimp n’ Grits.
Keep in mind; the restaurant is currently open Tuesday through Saturday and they begin serving at 4 p.m. Soon, they’ll be open for lunch and weekend brunch.
Vinsetta Garage, 27799 Woodward Ave., Berkley, is “the oldest garage east of the Mississippi” and serves a variety of food fit for any hungry appetite.
The menu features burgers, sandwiches, signature pizzas, build your own pasta bowls and more. However, one of the most popular dishes is, by far, the famed Union Mac, which is just about as cheesy as it gets.
The brick interior with wood tables and 50s diner-esque light fixtures all lend a one-of-a-kind feel to the venue. To preserve authenticity, there are still several old-fashioned gas pumps out front.
Garage Grill & Fuel Bar, 202 W. Main St., Northville, sits in a refurbished 1940s gas station with a great view of downtown’s Main Street. The former service station turned restaurant has quite a history. The building has housed a gas station, car dealership, dry cleaner, garden shop, and now, eatery.
The all-American menu features staples like burgers, specialty pizzas, pasta dishes, steaks, seafood and more. The Fuel Bar itself is full-service, with a selection of draft and bottled beers, as well as several wines and liquors.
The restaurant is open for lunch at 11 a.m. every day except Monday, when it opens at 4 p.m. for dinner.
Not only do all of these restaurants feature great food, they’re housed in buildings with history and unusual atmospheres. If nothing else, it’ll create some good dinner conversation!