Ten Best: Experience Marrow

By: Karen Dybis | May 3, 2019
Reserved sign on a restaurant table

Detroit, which has its share of farm-to-table restaurants, also is home to one of the most exceptional food businesses within its borders with Marrow, the city’s first neighborhood butcher shop and restaurant hybrid.

That description is right on target. Located on the city’s East side in the growing West Village area, Marrow is the kind of place where you can have a gourmet dinner with amazing service and then learn how to butcher a pig from snout to tail, all in the same location.

What also sets Marrow apart from its food rivals is its location. Bakery Sister Pie and the now shuttered Parker Street Market were among the first trendy landmarks in this largely residential neighborhood along Kercheval Avenue. Long-time residents and newcomers were ready and in need of a revived commercial and retail district to serve families nearby.

Marrow, which has become a landmark since its late 2018 opening, provides additional stability for homes and businesses that have long maintained this established neighborhood. The eclectic homes, pocket parks, community gardens and walkable streets around Marrow have huge potential, and the addition of this particular restaurant seems entirely fitting.

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After all, where else can you observe and even take part in the butchering art except for right there in Marrow’s elegant yet efficient dining room? Marrow, like its bakery neighbor, offers classes to people interested in learning its secrets. Some workshops include how to use a kitchen knife properly, the art of making sausage and the craft of breaking down a whole hog.

This is why Marrow blends so effortlessly into its landscape. For its owners, chef and butchers, using the whole animal – meat, skin and bones – is a homage to its life and purpose. They have mastered old-world methods and brought them to modern Detroit. Meat and its preparation is approachable, necessary and noble.

Much like the city where it works, Marrow’s approach to food and its preparation is uniquely Detroit. Have leftover paint? Create a mural. Found some leftover bricks or wood from a home demolition? Build a Monumental Kitty statue, hone musical instruments or construct furniture so beautiful that everyone will want it in their home.

Detroit isn’t a wasteful city. And it definitely isn’t boring. Neither is Marrow. And the way it uses its culinary talents with respect and honor make it an ideal match for the Motor City and its resourceful, DIY-loving neighbors.

Patrons say they have enjoyed not only Marrow’s food but its impressive customer service, especially given they walked into a full butcher shop that also happens to have a delicious and creative menu of meaty items.

For Gabriela Boddy, having selections beyond beef – something Marrow prides itself on – was a key component for her enjoyment during a recent brunch visit.

“The drinks are great. … The service is phenomenal and we are a tough crowd,” Body said. “This was my first time and I had the scallion pancakes with a sweet sauce and a duck egg. That was pretty fantastic. I don’t love beef but what I had was fantastic. All in all, a very good experience.”

Having an ever-changing menu that shifts according to what proteins are available to the chef attracted Jennifer Kemp, who says she will return soon after her first visit with her husband.

“It’s a cool place. Small. Tight. But these two introverts enjoyed our seats with a view of the chefs,” Kemp said. “The food was among the best we’ve had in a while. … We tried a little of everything – pork skins, charcuterie, bao buns, Brussel sprouts, steak and pork main dishes. Two thumbs up here.”

Enter for a chance to win two tickets to dinner at Marrow courtesy of your Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers / Detroit Free Press Top 10 Takeover on May 21st, 2019. Be sure to enter no later than Noon on May 16th for an opportunity to bypass the long wait!