Neighborhood Spotlight: Brighton’s Best

By: Carolyn Hall | January 31, 2024
tray of honey wings from el arbol taqueria in Brighton

Photo courtesy of El Arbol Taqueria

Brighton has a lively downtown area amidst its charming city that boasts a community rich in character. This neighborhood is a tapestry of unique businesses and eateries, each contributing to the vibrant and eclectic atmosphere that locals and visitors love. From authentic Mexican cuisine to bespoke treasures, the city of Brighton is a treasure trove of culinary and artisanal delights. In this Neighborhood Spotlight, dive into some of the top places Brighton has to offer…

EL ARBOL TAQUERIA

140 West Main Street, Brighton

In the heart of downtown Brighton, El Arbol Taqueria is a fresh, authentic taqueria that was opened in 2019 by father-daughter duo Steve and Lauren Pilon. Their mission? To serve up “funky, fresh tacos” and more, all crafted with an unwavering commitment to authenticity and quality. “We are doing everything in-house. From the masa that makes our tamales, infused tequilas, all sauces and salsas, you name it,” says Steve Pilon, highlighting their dedication to homemade excellence. Lauren Pilon explains the added touch of nostalgia, “We came up with the name El Arbol to pay homage to Yum Yum tree that previously occupied this space and used to be a community staple.”

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tray of 12 tacos from el arbol taqueria in brighton with various toppings with cilantro, radish, cabbage, and more
Photo courtesy of El Arbol Taqueria

TOTAL CLUSTER FUDGE

124 West Main Street, Brighton

If you’re craving something sweet, Total Cluster Fudge is the place to be. Known for its inventive and indulgent treats, this shop offers a range of delectable treats that are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. From s’more and lemon brownies to popcorn flavored like snickerdoodle cookies or with chocolate glaze and chocolate bark, this place has it all. The sweets don’t just end with snacks, though, as Total Cluster Fudge also has hot cocoa and latte bombs in flavors like Irish cream, peppermint, caramel, and more. The creativity in flavors and dedication to quality make every visit a delightful experience.

BRASS + OAK

427 West Main Street, Brighton

Brass + Oak is a treasure trove for those looking to add a touch of elegance to their closets. Specializing in women’s clothing, this store offers a variety of options that are fashionable yet individualized. Shop clothing, accessories, jewelry, children’s lines to match, and more. Brass + Oak is a go-to for anyone seeking to treat themselves and amplify their closet options. 

WALLFLOWER MERCANTILE

316 West Main Street, Brighton

Just a stone’s throw away is Wallflower Mercantile, a haven for those seeking a diverse range of items from self-care essentials to unique gifts. Owner Natalie Buckley describes it as “a carefully curated collection of self-care items, kitchen and barware, linens, ceramics, stationary, local specialty food and drinks, plants and pots, items for newborns, and toys for kids of all ages.” The store not only celebrates local craftspeople and small makers but also encourages sustainable living through its refill section for cleaning supplies and personal care. Amongst the shopping, Wallflower Mercantile also hosts workshops and other pop-up events for the community. 

self-care items on a shelf from wallflower mercantile including bath. salts, eye pillows, and neck wraps
Photo courtesy of Wallflower Mercantile

CIAO AMICI’S

217 West Main Street, Brighton

Ciao Amici’s stands as a testament to Brighton’s culinary landscape as a community staple for over 20 years. This Italian restaurant offers a taste of Italy with its authentic dishes and warm, inviting atmosphere. Whether you’re in the mood for a fresh salad, a classic pasta dish, entrees with seafood and veal, or a fine glass of wine, Ciao Amici’s is the perfect spot for a family dinner or a romantic evening out. Whether you want to host a party or need catering for large groups, Ciao Amici’s is more than accommodating. 

BRIGHTON COFFEE HOUSE AND THEATER

306 West Main Street, Brighton 

The Brighton Coffee House and Theater is more than just a coffee shop; it’s a cultural hub. Here, you can enjoy a cup of expertly brewed coffee while immersing yourself in the local arts scene. With its combination of cozy ambiance and regular cultural events, this spot is a favorite among locals. Offering tea, smoothies, fresh bites, and more, you never know what live performances you may get to experience while visiting the Brighton Coffee House and Theater, whether it’s the dramatic arts, cinema, music, or some other form of entertainment. 

STILLWATER GRILL

503 West Grand River Avenue, Brighton

For a dining experience that combines local flavors with creative culinary expressions, Stillwater Grill is the place to be. General Manager Tim Nuckels explains, “We provide a menu with local and seasonal favorites while also introducing new delectable flavors with the help of our Chef’s creative directions.” The commitment to quality and service is evident in every aspect, from the warm greeting at the door to the attentive service throughout the meal. Choose from popular menu items like pecan-encrusted chicken to short rib stroganoff or cashew salmon along with a drink or two from the bar. 

burger with cheese, onion strings, an egg, and more from stillwater grill
Photo courtesy of Stillwater Grill

ROLLIN STONE WOOD FIRED PIZZA

9406 Village Place Boulevard, Brighton

Rollin Stone Wood Fired Pizza brings the authentic taste and crispiness of wood-fired pizza to Brighton. What started as a food truck turned into a brick-and-mortar spot in 2018 due to the popular demand. Their pizzas, cooked in a traditional wood-fired oven at 900 degrees, feature a perfect blend of crispy crust, melty cheese, and fresh toppings. Build your own pizza with an array of topping choices, or choose from the crafted pies that stand out. Pair the pizza with a fresh salad, and finish off your meal with Guernsey ice cream. Rollin Stone Wood Fired Pizza is an ideal spot for a casual lunch or dinner with friends and family. If you’re looking for more pizza spots to try, check out our list here.

OH MY LOLLI!

421 Mill Pond Lane, Brighton 

Oh My Lolli! is a candy store that brings joy and sugar to the Brighton community. Specializing in handmade hard candies, this store is a wonderland for children and adults alike. The vibrant colors and array of flavors make every visit a fun and whimsical time. Enjoy a free sample when you arrive, and have a great time choosing between the dozens of allergen-free treats available. At Oh My Lolli!, watch as candy is made in the store for an extra sweet experience.

THE SUCCULENTS SHOPPE

10611 East Grand River Avenue, Brighton

The Succulents Shoppe offers a green oasis in the heart of Brighton. This shop is dedicated to greenery, offering a wide range of plants and accessories for gardening enthusiasts. You can find houseplants, succulents, pots, and more, along with a DIY plant bar inside the store. The plant bar allows you to pot your new plant or create a succulent arrangement with the help of experts, and all the supplies you’ll need come free with purchase, like soil, sand, and rocks. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, The Succulents Shoppe has something to help you bring a bit of nature into your home.

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