2017 Restaurant of the Year and Top 10 New Restaurants in Detroit [MAP]

Ann Delisi with James Rigato and Mark Kurlyandchik of the Detroit Free Press discuss the area’s restaurant scene.

With its constantly changing menu featuring fresh, local foods, Mabel Gray is the 2017 Detroit Free Press Restaurant of the Year.

The newspaper announced its pick last week. James Rigato, Mabel Gray’s chef-owner and Mark Kurlyandchik, Free Press restaurant critic, talked with Ann Delisi about the restaurant and other new area establishments that are changing the culinary scene in metro Detroit.

Click on the audio link above to hear the conversation.

Kurlyandchik wrote in the Free Press,

“Rigato has raised Detroit’s national culinary profile from the unlikeliest of places, dishing up a daily changing menu out of a tiny former diner between a wrestling supply store and a funeral home in a blue-collar suburb that hasn’t had this much going for it in years.

Today, the restaurant is southeast Michigan’s most dynamic dining experience.   You never know what you’re going to get, but you can be sure it’ll be impeccably sourced, carefully constructed, deliciously seasoned and delivered with fervent passion by a professional staff.”

What’s new? Overall, Kurlyandchik says there is an explosion of Asian flavors at new restaurants in metro Detroit. Even restaurants that aren’t considered “Asian” are influenced by the ingredients, including Rigato’s Mabel Gray. 

Click on the icon on the map to learn more about the restaurant. Zoom to see more of the places in downtown Detroit:

The Restaurants, in order of discussion:

Savannah Blue in Detroit

Conserva in Detroit

Ima in Corktown

Otus Supply in Ferndale

Peterboro in Detroit

Chapman House in Rochester

Parc in Campus Martius

Flowers of Vietnam—  in Detroit

Grey Ghost in Detroit 

Katoi in Detroit

Since this conversation, a fire destroyed Katoi restaurant. Read more about that here.





  • Ann Delisi
    Ann Delisi hosts Essential Music, the Essential Conversations podcast series and the Essential Cooking broadcast and podcast. Born and raised in the Motor City, Ann is a broadcaster, interviewer, producer, music host, storyteller and proud Detroiter.