When my husband and I moved downtown, one of the most common and surprising questions we heard was, “Where in the world do you get your groceries?” It has come to my attention that one of the biggest misconceptions about living downtown is that there is a lack of places to buy groceries. A lot of people actually thought we had to go to the suburbs for shopping. This is – in fact – light years away from the truth.
Conversely, there are a plethora of great options out there, and some even make grocery shopping fun, interesting, and dare I say an adventure!
One thing I should start with before I go too far is – I despise groceries. I do everything I can to get out of this adult domestic torture every week. So when I say the words “fun” and “adventure” in the same sentence as grocery shopping, it carries weight.
Speaking of adventure, I would be remiss if I didn’t start with Eastern Market. It’s an outing that my husband and I enjoy almost every weekend. And we make it an outing in itself, sometimes stopping into Shops on Top for the latest clothes, accessories, and more, maybe popping into 3 Dogs 1 Cat for a new toy for our fur babies, and sometimes even stop at Eastern Market Brewery to quench the thirst we have accumulated after the “exhausting” grocery shopping.
You can count on getting all your seasonal produce right here among the sheds. Head to Rocky’s for nuts, seasonings, coffee and basics. Cross the highway and knock Gratiot Central Meat Market for your protein – and great energy as this place is always loud and busy. Sometimes we can get everything we need for the week in this one trip.
We have an apartment in Capitol Park, and one of my favorite markets is right outside my door, Eatori. This little gem reminds me of an establishment you’d find in New York, with a chic but cozy bar out front, down-to-earth service, an eclectic menu (try the hand-cut fries!), and a deli – the take-out market at the back. On the shelves, and nicely displayed, you will find dry products, excellent choices of cheeses and charcuterie, dairy products, wine, beer and specialties. They also offer a nice selection of prepared meals.
Similar in concept, the new bodega is set to open this month in Brush Park. It will feature a fresh produce market stocked with Michigan-made and locally sourced produce, an on-site cafe with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, a full-service bar, and more.
Another first choice is bee market. Founded in 1956, this family-friendly market is also a staple in Southwest Detroit and Metro Detroit. It offers some of the freshest and most affordable produce around, an excellent array of meats and proteins, and treats such as fresh tortilla chips, salsa, and guacamole to die for. Don’t leave without grabbing a few Tamales to go.
Located in the Millender Center with an east exterior entrance city market. This market has everything you could possibly need, packed into a bustling little space. You will find local and national brands, organic, imported, specialty, kosher, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free products. They also offer excellent desserts. From everyday to gourmet, you might have to hunt a bit among the crowded shelves, but they probably have what you’re looking for – and more.
Rivertown is a new establishment off Jefferson, just east of downtown, focused on fresh, affordable, local Detroit produce. It’s an urban footprint Meijer store, and it has everything any grocery store could do, and a few surprises, including concessions such as Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company, pizza man pizza and Hissho Sushi.With a full line of beauty products, a flower and gift center, and a Fresh & Fast selection of sandwiches and pre-prepared meals for those on the go, Rivertown is a convenient and easy store.
About a mile east of Rivertown is Harbourtown Market. What I love about this market is that it’s a full grocery store, with the feel of a small, convenient and fast-paced market. Harbortown has been serving Detroit for over two decades and offers produce, prepared hot meals, premium meats and a variety of organic foods. They have a great selection of craft beers and wines and a delicious mix of pre-made sandwiches and unique salads at the Deli counter. We love shopping here for food on the go and heading to the Riverwalk for a picnic!
In 2013 whole foods arrived in Midtown as the first grocery chain to open within the city limits in years. I remember hearing naysayers say Whole Foods would never work there. It’s flourishing. Specializing in organic, natural and gourmet foods and specialty products, Whole Foods offers Detroit residents much easier access to healthy shopping.
Located on Second Avenue in Midtown, Marcus Market is more than just a corner liquor store. In 2020 they added produce and some basics like condiments and dry goods, making it the perfect stop on your way home from work when you need a few essentials. Big bonus: the market is also home to El Taco Veloz, a taco truck-turned-stand, and a fresh Juice Joint, so you can grab a taco and smoothie while you shop!
And finally, plum market – located right downtown at 500 Woodward – reopens this spring after being closed since March 2020! This beautiful, small-format store offers organic and locally grown produce, a huge selection of wines, a specialty cheese and charcuterie counter, all-natural, sustainable and humanely raised meats, seafood, a huge selection of gluten-free and organic foods, etc. much more. Worth checking out!
Which market will you visit first? With all these diverse and interesting options, it can be hard to choose!
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