Aug 25, 2023 - Food and Drink

Lack of diverse late-night grub in Detroit

Animated illustration of a sign reading, COME IN, WE'RE OPEN flipping over to read SORRY, WE'RE CLOSED.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Detroit is fast becoming a destination food city, but the lack of diverse late-night dining options is holding it back.

Why it matters: More choices would not only elevate the city's national food reputation, but could also attract residents who consider quality nightlife when deciding where to live — otherwise known as young people.

  • A bevy of coney islands awaits anyone looking to grab some grub in the middle of the night, but they all serve pretty much the same thing.

What they're saying: "We need options and we need healthy options," Adrian Tonon, who was the city's first 24-hour ambassador and tried last year to run for Congress, tells Axios.

  • "God bless the coney islands, but we need more health-focused options at night."

Between the lines: The pandemic tightened the labor market, making it harder to staff restaurants after traditional dining hours, Tonon says.

  • These days, local options really start to dwindle at midnight.
  • Food trucks are supposed to close at 11pm under rules set in 2021.

The big picture: More dining choices could unlock a stronger 24-hour economy throughout the city supported by the arts, culture and entertainment communities.

The intrigue: Detroit is brimming with innovative and talented chefs — some gaining national recognition — who could make a splash with a new late-night venture.

💭 Joe's thought bubble: The suburbs have a similar problem. On my way home to Ferndale from weeknight indoor soccer games, I've resorted to McDonald's so many times that I've developed a routine order (a McDouble, McChicken and Diet Coke) because there are so few other options.

Our big question: Where are your favorite places to eat late-night in Detroit?

  • Email [email protected] and let us know!
  • We're going to highlight some of our own go-to spots next week.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Detroit.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Detroit stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Detroit.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more