Best Restaurant (Detroit)

Takoi

Staff Pick, Readers' Choice

2520 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-855-2864; takoidetroit.com

In just four years, the hip Corktown Thai-fusion restaurant known as Takoi has had enough ups and downs to fill decades at any other eatery. Initially a food truck associated with Two James Spirits, it went brick-and-mortar across the street in 2016 and quickly won praise from local reviewers, even being nominated as a semifinalist in the Best New Restaurant category of the prestigious James Beard Awards. Then the restaurant suffered a break-in and suspected arson in February 2017, and the restaurant was so badly damaged it took six months to re-open.

But during this interval, people began to come forward to complain that the eatery's name was a slur: The term "katoi," they explained, is used as an insult for transgender people in Thailand.

In the final days before re-opening, the trio who owned the restaurant changed the name to Takoi, and took down a few other gags critics had deemed offensive. They also put up some imposing fences to keep out would-be thieves and arsonists.

But once you get past those imposing fences (and any earlier hurt feelings), you'll likely agree with our readers that Takoi is a chic, modern restaurant with a distinct atmosphere, that chef Brad Greenhill's take on Thai fusion is exciting, and that everything else is now water under the bridge. —Michael Jackman

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