Is Detroit an underrated food city? While the attention to our city is great, and “underrated” is a vague term (compared to where?) I’d have to say that no, we’re not underrated, strip away the constant negative media coverage that taints any mention of Detroit these days and we’re probably appropriately rated. We have great food, we have great ethnic food, there are some good restaurants in the city proper and in the suburbs. Are we at a comparable level to other major cities, no. We’re no NYC, NOLA, DC, Atlanta, Chicago or Silicon/Napa Valley. Very few people would travel to Detroit just for the food; you should travel to Detroit for a lot of reasons and trust that you’ll find some good eats. Maybe we’re approaching the lower second-tier of food cities - reliably good with some unique surprises and treats if you know where to look.
Our food suffers for our culture and our region. With a city that didn’t thrive, we lost a lot of ground. Our suburbs are suburbs, dependent on the city they surround for a sense of self. Thriving cities are restaurant cities, that has the effect of spilling out to the greater metro area.
Also, we are a midwestern area with provincial people, I’d guess that many residents don’t travel widely, in the US or abroad. They go Up North. I’m no longer surprised when neighbors say that they have never left the state, let alone the metro Detroit area. The collective expectation of ‘good food’ is a high-end National chain.
So come to Detroit to see what is happening. Come to Detroit to enjoy the beaches and the people. Come to Detroit and have a Coney Dog, a Burger at Red Coat, Millers, Green Dot Stables. Come to Detroit and find some great Chicken Shawarma. Come to Detroit and drink some of the best beer you’ll ever have (go anywhere in Michigan and you’ll find that one).