Detroit: A City on the Rise: Greektown and Mexicantown

BY CHRIS ZADOROZNY, Staff Columnist

The great news for the city of Detroit keeps on coming, but there are a couple of spots that aren’t as talked about.  These two areas are Greektown and Mexicantown.

These areas aren’t talked about much because they don’t really need to be revitalized; they already exist and both are quite successful.

A look down Monroe St. in Greektown

The area of Greektown is located along Monroe Ave. between Brush Street and St. Antoine Street.  It is basically a commercial district with many Greek themed restaurants, a casino/hotel, a couple of churches,s and another separate hotel.  You can find the area in the northeast part of the downtown area.

Greektown was first settled back in the 1830s, by German immigrants surprisingly, but as they began to move out in the early twentieth century, Greek immigrants moved in and instilled their culture into the small tight-knit community.  Since then, it has been all Greek and it has been great for the downtown area.  It is one of the few areas downtown that people will tell you they feel safe going.

A list of restaurants in the Greektown Historic District includes: The Golden Fleece, Laikon Café, Cyprus Taverna, Pegasus Taverna, Pizza Papalis, The Old New Parthenon, Astoria Pastry Shop, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Fishbones, Mosaic, End Zone, Coldstone, Europa, Plaka Café, Monroe St. Steakhouse, and Shotz Bar.  That doesn’t even include the restaurants and bars inside the Greektown Casino.  The prices range from a cheap night out to an expensive, exquisite night out.  The food is always good, and it is authentic right down to the Greek flags that line the street.

The Greektown Casino Hotel

Some of the more famous Greek food served in the district include: Saganaki (flaming cheese), Scordalia (beets and garlic sauce), lamb, grape leaves, spinach cheese pie, and baklava.  Any of the food stated above is as authentic as you can get it anywhere outside of Greece.

The two churches that are located within the district are the St. Mary Roman Catholic Church and the Second Baptist Church.  The Athenium Suite Hotel is also located within the boundaries.  Both churches are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Greek music is almost always playing outdoors and the People Mover has a stop there.  You can find all the information you need about the Greektown Historic District on Wikipedia and information on the casino at www.greektowncasino.com

Mexicantown is located in the southwest area of Detroit. It is not exactly downtown, but it definitely has some cuisine that you will never forget.  If you can’t get on a plane and fly to Mexico for some authentic food, this area will take its place.

The area of Mexicantown is located along Vernor Highway from Clark Street to Ste. Ann Street, one block north of the Ambassador Bridge.  So if you’re going to or from Canada, Mexicantown is a great place to stop.  A few of the restaurants in Mexicantown include: Mexican Village, Evie’s Tamales, El Zocalo, and Xochimilco.

Mexican food is more common than Greek food in the area outside of Mexicantown, but the real authentic food is definitely in the southwest part of Detroit.  All of the authentic Mexican food you can think of is probably served at a number of the restaurants there.  From botanas to enchiladas, chimichangas and just plain tacos with chips and dip, the food and the experience is something that can go a long way.

Mexicantown

Vernor Highway is basically Main Street of Mexicantown and driving up and down you will see many colors, many restaurants, and a vibrant area of Detroit that is very successful.  There are many more restaurants than those stated above for Mexicantown and I encourage anyone looking for a great meal that’s totally different from what you may usually eat to check out these historic districts

Sometimes when you head out to eat, you just want to eat, but make the experience so much more enjoyable by making a trip out to Greektown or Mexicantown because you won’t just eat food, pay for it, and leave.  You will enjoy the experience of the authentic cuisine, the architecture, and people who you meet.  These places won’t let you down in any factor and it will be something you won’t forget.

Check out my article on The Michigan Journal

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