Stew Season

By: Karen Dybis | December 13, 2019

Eagle Tavern. Photo Courtesy of Greenfield Village.

With Michigan’s dark and cold winters, you need dishes that are warm and hearty to keep you going through the likely snowy days ahead. That is why beef stew is such as favorite for many people who grew up in the Mitten State. 

Beef stew is a beautiful, thick meal in a bowl that balances the meaty flavors of a roast with the satisfying slurps of broth. Most beef stews provide a thick sauce with large chunks of meat that are stewed or cooked low and slow on a stovetop or in a crockpot over many hours. Most recipes also include a number of vegetables and a variety of spices to add depth of flavor. 

Many cultures and ethnicities have their takes on beef stew as well. There are the Irish stews, which pair perfectly with stouts or dark beers. There are Hungarian stews, sometimes called a goulash, that are slow roasted and thick like a beef stew. No matter who is making it, chances are you will find satisfaction within the bowl put before you.

 Beef stew tends to be a seasonal special, so check with your favorite eatery to see if they’re offering a stew option right now. There are a selected number of restaurants that offer beef stew year around, and they should be honored for this decision with your dollars and appetite. 

Here are some pubs, bars and restaurants around Metro Detroit that provide beef stew on their menu and come highly recommended.

Gilbert’s Lodge 

This St. Clair Shores institution never seems to have a less-than-full parking lot, and the packed dining room is an indication of how good the food is here. Check out Red’s Hunter Stew, which features Angus beef, potatoes, carrots and onions. It is served in a bread bowl, which you can tear apart and dip into the stew. You can pretty much predict that you will not go home hungry with a dish like that in front of you. 

Hungarian Rhapsody

 Head to Southgate to get the real deal in terms of Hungarian eats and treats. This restaurant makes a satisfying Hungarian goulash that is filled with savory meat and veggies. It comes in a kettle to keep it warm at your table. It will be tempting to just enjoy all of that warmth, but you’ll want to dive into the stew right when it arrives for the best of its flavors. 

Eagle Tavern 

Plan a special occasion at this unique dining spot because it will stick in your memory for months to come. Located inside Greenfield Village, The Eagle Tavern offers an old-fashioned style and food offerings that take you back to a simpler time, and the stewed beef – its version of beef stew – is slow roasted and delicious. 

Sean O’Callaghan’s 

This Plymouth restaurant calls itself a Victorian Irish Pub. Think of it like this: It makes you feel like you’re back in your Grandmother’s house, watching her cook a seven-course meal for the whole family. It has a lamb shank Irish stew on its menu, featuring braised carrots, parsnips, celery, demi-glace and Yukon mashed potatoes. You won’t even notice the missing beef – but if you do, have your dining partner order the Shepherd’s Pie with seasoned ground beef and mix them together. 

John Cowley & Sons

Drive over to Farmington to find this all-American restaurant with an Irish twist. It has lots of great everyday specials, but its Irish stew is a delicious option. It features tender beef served with assorted vegetables in a rich gravy with mashed potatoes. Curl up around the fireplace with a warm bowl and enjoy every bite.