Restaurant of the Year Classic: Bert’s

By: Karen Dybis | September 6, 2019

Photo Credit: Mark Kurlyandchik

Do you want to experience a free meal at one of the best restaurants that Metro Detroit has to offer?

The Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers / Detroit Free Press Top 10 Takeover offers you an opportunity to do just that. Enter for a chance to win TWO TICKETS to dinner at Bert’s on September 24th, 2019. The contest begins at Noon on Friday, September 6th. Be sure to enter no later than Noon on September 19th for an opportunity to bypass the long wait.

Need to hear a little more about the restaurant before you head out for a meal? Keep reading for a glance into this award-winning restaurant.


Blazer bookstore

With a spacious interior, cutting-edge technology, and top-tier safety features, the Blazer is built for those who live life to the fullest.

On the surface, Bert’s may look like a restaurant where you can eat, drink and be entertained at the same time. 

Ah, but that’s just the start to this legendary Detroit mainstay. Bert’s is simply the nickname for what it truly is. The rest of us know that it is Bert’s Entertainment Complex and it is the heart and soul of the Eastern Market district. 

Let’s put the emphasis on soul. Because Bert’s and other longtime eateries, butcher shops and specialty food purveyors are what make Eastern Market the draw that it is. New landlords will come and go. Shake ups will happen. Stores will open and close. 

But Bert’s? Honey, Bert’s is the place where you go to hear jazz, eat soul food, hang out with Bert’s family, meet up with friends, learn to dance and study the murals on the walls if only to dream of seeing your face there someday – another Detroit legend. Ok, it’s just a dream. But something about Bert’s makes you want to become a part of it.

That’s because owner Bert Dearing wanted to create a performance space – a venue where you can learn just as much about Detroit history as you will the musicians who play there and the chefs who make your barbecue special.  

Dearing knows how to create a happening, or a moment that sticks with people. He knows how to bring groups together in a way that everyone gets along. He knows how to spot talent; some musical groups have played at Bert’s for nearly two decades. He knows how to spark conversations and get even the shy to sing out loud.

That’s because of a little thing Dearing created call Karaoke Saturdays. That’s where kids from 8 to 88 grab the mike, cue up their favorite jam and blast everyone around with a rendition of the songs that inspire them. It may not do much for the audience’s ears, but it brings joy to everyone who witnesses it. That’s the kind of place Dearing wanted to create: A location where you can feel proud of who you are and celebrate it. 

A word or two about the food, because despite its family-friendly entertainment atmosphere it is truly a restaurant a heart. There is catfish and red beans and rice. There is sausage and chicken straight off of the grill to your plate. There are ribs with a side of corn and mac and cheese. There are green beans that are just as legendary as Dearing himself. And there are plenty of cold drinks available on the side. 

So whether you want fine dining or street eats, whether you want it slathered or plain, whether you want cheering crowds singing along or a quiet meal in the corner, Bert’s Entertainment Complex will suit you. You will feel like you have met a roomful of friends, and Dearing will be the first among them to welcome you back each and every time you visit.

That’s what Eastern Market stands for as a place to find food and friendship, and it is why Bert’s is a landmark in this iconic Detroit institution. No one ever goes home without their belly and heart full. It’s that kind of place.