Food And Drinks

‘Esquire’ names three metro Detroit spots on list of ‘100 restaurants America can’t afford to lose’


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  • James R. Martin /

  • American Coney Island.

Many restaurants across the country are starving while others are completely starved. Perhaps your favorite breakfast or sushi place was among the victims of the past year.

To give a little praise and draw attention to many of the country’s respected and beloved restaurants that are still hanging, despite the odds, Esquire magazine made its list of “100 Restaurants America Can’t Afford to Lose” released – and yeah, it’s not surprising that a couple of spots in the Detroit area made the cut.

While we could argue that there are 100 – if not more – restaurants worthy of this list in Michigan alone, Esquire has earned a score that has long been run by two legendary Detroit establishments and belligerent coney bars: American Coney Island and Lafayette Coney Island.

“They’re right next to each other on the same block in downtown Detroit, and the story goes that they are a bitter and endless game of grudges. Anyway, ”writes Esquire’s Jeff Gordinier. “The point is, they both raise a torch for some real regional delight: cones, hot dogs flooded with funky chilli, yellow mustard, and raw onions.”

Shatila Bakery is also on the list. The 40-year-old East Dearborn Bakery, which specializes in Mediterranean pastries, was chosen not only for its fresh baked goods, but also as the “bedrock community center” as Gordinier describes it.

“For any lover of sweets, stepping into Shatila’s 10,000-square-meter palace made of pastries feels like a glimpse into paradise,” he writes. “But for Dearborn’s sizeable number of families with roots in the Arab world, the colorful cookies and cakes in Shatila mean something more: a community center, a village square for old and young customers, and a lively connection to the flavors and textures of the Middle East. ”

Shatila is no stranger to topping national magazine lists. Last year it was ranked among America’s top bakeries by Food and Wine, along with Michigan favorites, Zingerman’s Bakehouse, Avalon International Breads, Tecumseh Bread & Pastry, and the Jampot in Eagle Harbor.

Although the American and Lafayette Coney Islands and Shatila Bakery are open to the capacities they are allowed to open under current restrictions, the reality for restaurants remains grim.

As of December, more than 110,000 restaurants in the US have closed long-term or closed completely since the COVID-19 pandemic began last March. In Michigan, where a nationwide indoor dining ban remains in place, nearly a third of all Michigan restaurants could be closed permanently within the next six months if they don’t receive financial intervention or government relief.

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