Celebrating capitalism

Best place to have your tea leaves read

Boston Tea Room

121 Elm St., Wyandotte


The sages here will never miss a prediction if they say they see a mild, warm beverage in your future. That's because at the Boston Tea Room you can get a reading — and some swell tea. Also complementary are coffee and snacks, and the pleasant conversation you'll have in the comfy surroundings with other patrons of the extrasensory. There are 10 readers on staff, providing everything from tealeaf deciphering to palmistry, tarot readings and chats with the dearly departed. It's a great place to take a group of friends for a reading, and then hang to discuss the psychic implications. For $2 more, you get an audio tape of your reading. How futuristic!

Best Detroit product no longer made in Detroit

(tie) Stroh’s Beer and Vernor’s Ginger Ale

Over the recent decades, many Detroit-born products have taken the route many Detroiters have — that is, hightailing it out of the city for perhaps greener pastures. But no matter where their current factories of production may reside, true Detroit products such as Vernor’s Ginger Ale and Stroh’s Beer will always be rooted in the city that gave them their birth. The classic "Boston Cooler" (Vernor’s and vanilla ice cream) should rightfully be referred to as the "Motown Cooler," and Stroh’s, with its rich, fire-brewed flavor and bargain price, is always the perfect companion for a shot and a smile. Bring back Stroh’s Signature!

Best place to get up to no good

Ford-Wyoming Drive-In Theater

10499 Ford Road, Dearborn


Next time someone asks if you want to screw around, don’t decline because you’re still living with your parents. Instead, take a passage from Danny Zuko's Art of Seduction and woo your date at the drive-in. The Ford-Wyoming features first-run films and a double-feature deal, 16 screens and more action than a by-the-hour motel.

Best salon for checking out firm male assets

Alex & Emilio Salon

409 S. Main, Royal Oak


Yes, they have amazing cuts and color, but perhaps the best reason to frequent Alex & Emilio Salon is for checking out the staff. Male stylists seduce your scalp with luxurious shampoos and pamper you with full attention. This salon is a perfect place to practice your "Sex & the City" innuendoes while pretending to browse Vogue. There are also a few hot ladies on hand for the male clientele. A little harmless flirting, yes, but don’t let all that peroxide go to your head.

Best place to unleash your inner product whore


2800 W. Big Beaver Road, Suite 218, Troy


Sephora knows product possession addiction (beauty supplies, potions, etc.). This emporium is fully devoted to giving product whores a surreal, orgasmic experience — providing the latest and chicest shades, scents and textures. Sephora carries a number of rare brands such as Fresh, Frederic Fekkai and Nars. Attractive women in white gloves will happily seduce you with this season’s blush, gloss, bath picks and other superfluous cravings. For anyone who has to have the "in" thing, stop by Sephora to fulfill your fix.

Best costume jewelry

Royal Oak Farmer’s Market

316 E. 11 Mile Road, Royal Oak

Cheap, cool and sparkly are the watchwords of every costume jewelry junky. Their addiction can be satisfied every weekend at the Royal Oak Farmer’s Market. From gaudy paste diamond confections to sterling silver charm bracelets featuring a pantheon of lesser-known Christian saints, there’s something for everyone. The market is open every Sunday.

Best name for a hair salon

Babes N Braids

20534 W. Seven Mile Road, Detroit


If a clever slogan is all you need, try this on for size: "If your hair is not becoming to you, you should be coming to us." Babes N Braids goes beyond clever wordplay, offering a wide range of services including, but not limited to, perms, weaves, braids and something called a "pump-a-dor."

Best place for a hair weave or fly hairdo

Shades of Gray Salon

230 W. Nine Mile Road, Ferndale


Is your kitchen busted? Or did you just end up with a bad haircut? Either way, hair engineer Ja’Niece Gray, co-owner of Shades of Gray Salon, can dye, fry and lay your hair. And if you need a little extra length, Gray will take that pressing comb, blow on it and tell you to "hold your ear," before she adds a little length. Whether you want it curly, straight, temporary or sewn in for a few months, Gray can tighten ya’ up.

Best place for dreads

Golden Goddess

1248 Washington Boulevard, Detroit


Dreadlocks are often seen as a lifestyle, more than a hairstyle. Along with the long twists may come more spirituality and a higher connection with African ethnicity and heritage. Golden Goddess, a full-service salon that specializes in natural hair care, is the place many visit when they want to start wearing dreads or want to re-twist the already-present locks.

Best independent pharmacy

Mills Pharmacy

1740 W. Maple, Birmingham


Mills Pharmacy is a quaint, wholesome, neighborhood drugstore, where, even in this age of TV and video games, kids can still spend their allowances on cheap candy and comic books. The pharmacists and staff are knowledgeable and very experienced. A range of convenience-store products in a clean, upscale environment makes Mills Pharmacy a pleasant drug-buying experience.

Best cheap fun for kids

Arts & Scraps

17820 E. Warren, Detroit


This place is the answer to everyone’s prayers — from designers and business owners to teachers and interior designers. For moms, it’s an even greater treasure. It is also the answer to those endless questions of "Mooom, what are we going to do today?" on rainy Saturday afternoons. Inside this magical store, kids can fill up a grocery bag for a couple dollars with art supplies that will busy them for hours. Arts & Scraps has an extensive range of art materials including wallpaper, old photo frames, colored sand, bottle caps, stickies and whatever else might be needed for a unique work of art. Arts & Scraps is a nonprofit organization that recycles tons of industrial waste into fun art materials each year.

Best nursery

Wiegand’s Nursery & Garden Center

47747 Romeo Plank, Macomb Township


Wiegand’s qualifies as the best nursery in the Detroit area for both landscaping and home needs. They offer 10,000 square feet of flowers, plants, trees and shrubs for every gardening enthusiast. It features the garden center, glass greenhouse and an adjacent sales yard that hold more than 540 varieties of trees, shrubs and perennials carefully selected from Wiegand’s 350-acre farm in Lenox Township. This family-owned operation is the best place to go to for friendly service, reasonable prices and a wonderful gardening experience.

Best place to buy a Christmas tree

Blake's Orchard and Cider Mill

17985 Armada Center Road, Armada


There’s nothing quite like heading to the country to hack down your own tree come Christmas. And Blake’s is the place to do it. With 80 acres of trees, and about 10 varieties ranging from Scotch pine to Norway spruce to firs, there’s plenty to choose from. But that’s only part of the fun. A tractor-pulled hay wagon takes you to the trees. Hot cider, made at the farm’s cider press, keeps the chill off. Grilled Italian sausage sandwiches and a bakery offering fresh donuts and all sorts of other yummy baked goods make the experience complete.

Best place to buy eyewear

Wizard of Eyes

407 S. Main, Royal Oak


If you’re looking for funk and function in a pair of glasses, then check out the Wizard of Eyes in Royal Oak. They not only offer great vintage frames, but quirky new styles and eye exams as well. The staff is friendly and honest, so you can rest assured that you won’t end up with frames that would make Poindexter feel like a geek.

Best arcade

Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum

31005 Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills


Everyone has a hobby that sets them apart from others. Marvin Yagoda, however, brought his hobby to the public in his specialty arcade. The 60-year-old pharmacist’s business is listed in the 100 Most Unusual Museums in the U.S. and holds that title with honor. His museum has everything from drunkard dummies to more than 40 gliding airplanes on the ceiling, ancient fans and the newest arcade games for those seeking the latest gaming innovations. The place is a perfect weekend escape to set the kids free and kick back and enjoy a few games yourself. Also available for birthday parties.

Best swimwear

Bobette’s Lingerie

945 W. Huron, Waterford


For those seeking all the accessories to go along with a bathing suit, travel to Bobette’s in Waterford for friendly staff and a pleasing shopping experience. The store comes equipped with form-fitting suits to flatter any figure, as well as specialty lingerie that makes every man drool.

Best place to buy women’s underwear (affordable)


15901 Ford Road, Dearborn

313-336-5000 (or call for a location near you)

Men can pick up a pack of BVDs in just about any department store and wear them without complaint. But for the curvaceous gender, finding a decent pair of undies that don’t droop or creep up one’s crack is no easy feat. For a reliable pair of cotton briefs in all cuts, colors and sizes, Target is a sure bet. And it won’t break your pocket book.

Best place to buy women’s underwear (moderately priced)

Victoria’s Secret

Fairlane Town Center, Dearborn

313-271-2480 (or call for a location near you)

It’s fun to watch women drag hubbies and boyfriends in this store and ask, "Do you think I would look good in a G-string? How about tap pants? Do you prefer French-cut panties or bikinis?" Most men sheepishly look at the floor and grunt inaudibly. But, don’t be fooled, ladies. Men pay attention to underwear. If you want to treat yourself to sexy yet comfortable panties, shop here. You and your partner won’t be disappointed.

Best place to buy women’s underwear (expensive)


Somerset North, 2850 West Big Beaver Road, Troy


For primo panties at a primo price this is the place. The store carries designs by Felina, Shantel and Cosabella — whoever they are. Calvin Klein bras are the best — not only pretty, but comfortable and form-fitting. If you want to blow a wad, it’s well worth it.

Best date flick of the year

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

This comedy tops the list as the most enjoyable Friday night flick of the year. Scriptwriter Nia Vardolos portrays a thirtysomething daughter of the most traditional Greek parents in the world, according to her. She works at Dancing Zorba’s, her family’s restaurant, leading a miserable life and aching for some color. Her bleak world changes the instant the man of her dreams walks in to have lunch, flipping her world upside down. It’s a humorous tale of separating from parents, marrying a "Non-Greek," and dealing with a loud and obnoxious family. This movie appeals to both women and men through its endless family banter and wisecracks that everyone comes to love.

Best game place for a cheap ladies’ night out


4316 Baldwin Road, Auburn Hills


Gameworks (in the Star Theatres’ side of Great Lakes Crossing) offers an irresistible event for ladies over 18. From 8 to 10 p.m. on Thursday nights, all ladies receive a free game card that can be used at all arcade games. You can play each one as many times as you’d like, as often as you’d like. It’s a great chance to meet up with the girls and let loose for a few hours, kicking each other’s butts on the NASCAR game or one of the other 200 newest games. There’s also a hip and trendy bar for those over 21 and the Gameworks restaurant at the front of the building for a before-gaming meal.

Best place to buy homemade herbal products

5th Element Products

33 N. Washington, Oxford


5th Element is an excellent place to get a shampoo-soap bar, flax-seed pillow or whatever your interest might be. Owner Debra Chaffins works in the early morning hours before the store opens, making all of the soap and other quality items sporting the "5th Element" logo. Chaffins also supplies the store with an extensive selection of herbs and oils, candles and health remedies for any illness. Visit Chaffins, also a student of neuropathy, and her store in Oxford for a sweet trip into a land of herbs and smells made for relaxation.

Best magazine selection

Borders Books & Music

612 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor


You may think that all Borders bookstores are alike. Not so, particularly when it comes to periodicals. The Ann Arbor location carries the mother lode. Where else can you find Reptiles USA, a guide to buying and caring for reptiles and amphibians, or KMT, a modern journal of ancient Egypt? Of course there’s also the standard fare: People, The New Yorker, Opera News, etc. Whatever your interest, be it motorcycles, music, film, spirituality, Eastern philosophy, travel or skateboarding, it’s there.

Best place to buy Krishna paraphernalia

Lotus Imports

419 S. Washington, Royal Oak


If you’re looking to find Zen in the teenybopper-biker scene on the streets of Royal Oak, look no further than Lotus Imports. Surround yourself in serenity as the sounds of chimes and the scents of spices from faraway lands enliven your senses. This hidden gem of retail refuge offers shoppers a constantly evolving array of finds from the tranquil East. Silk saris, gold-bellied Buddhas and Kali pendants flank the displays. Lotus also offers a selection of offbeat gifts such as newspaper purses and a cowgirl-themed board game.

Best place to buy your first guitar

Mars Music

28223 Telegraph, Southfield


Let’s face some facts: The huge, corporate-owned guitar supercenter chains have driven a stake through the heart of the mom-and-pop instrument shops using the cruel basics of Economics 101. If you want to buy a guitar on the cheap, you have little choice but to buy it from the "man" (who in this case is probably adorned with "hockey hair" and plays in a cheesy East Side-Double Trouble cover band.) But unlike the condescending wankers at all of the various Guitar Center locations, the guys at Mars are actually helpful, kind and exceptionally good at concealing the fact that they are frothing at the mouth for their commission. If you’re going to drop a whole summer’s lawn-moving wages on a physical token of the rock ’n’ roll dream, Mars is the place.

Best place to buy your last guitar

Boss Guitars & Vintage Musical Equipment

Best vintage musical equipment

Boss Guitars & Vintage Musical Equipment

613 N. Main, Ann Arbor


When you step into Boss, it’s immediately apparent that you’re in the right place to spend a slightly regrettable amount of money on the object of your dreams. In addition to a hand-selected collection of guitars and amps, Boss also deals in buying and selling a fairly stunning collection of vintage electric pianos, organs and the occasional set of traps — all fairly priced (though bartering will get you nowhere). The shop’s owner, Eric Stollsteimer, seems to live behind the counter and is a no-nonsense guide to great vintage gear. He’s convincing enough to be a good salesman, frugal enough to be a good shop owner and rightfully proud of his jaw-dropping collection of instruments. Word on the street is that he may try opening an appointment-only location in Detroit. We’ll keep you posted.

Biggest prick behind the counter

New To You Connection

172 W. Nine Mile Road, Ferndale


Understanding the truth in the adage "even bad press is good press," we’ll keep this one short. If you want to go completely broke by spending your life savings, 401k cash-out and dead Uncle Dick’s inheritance on a guitar, amp or vintage keyboard, New To You might look good through the front window. The problem is the guy behind the counter has the manner of a penny-pinching love child of Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grim Reaper. Widely reputed as the rudest (and most overpriced) guy in the instrument biz, the proprietor (and only employee) of New To You Music wins this dubious prize.

Best recording studio

Ghetto Recorders


Don’t think his collection of cool old tape machines and analogue gadgets is the only thing responsible for Jim Diamond’s successful track record in the last few years (his client list includes a who’s-who of Detroit rock notables, including the Von Bondies, the Soledad Brothers, Bantam Rooster and more). It probably also has something to do with his vintage soft-core porn mags and never-ending supply of beer. In short, this place is a rock and roller’s paradise.

Best indie record label

Ghostly International


So like its apparitional (CQ) name, Ghostly International seems to have simply appeared out of nowhere (well, actually Ann Arbor) and grabbed a slice of the spotlight. How? It seems mostly to do with Sam Valenti IV, a young man whose methodical takeover of underground electronic music is stunning. Releases include Tangent 2002 (a compilation featuring ever-buzzworthy locals Adult.) and Midwest Product’s Specific CD, both of which have made this start up … well, international

Best affordable audio equipment

Salvation Army

1627 W. Fort St., Detroit


Digging through the stacks of unloved donations at Detroit’s largest Salvation Army location can be a somewhat daunting task. But because of its size and downtown location, the place is stacked with great finds. The thrift shop’s large selection of stereo equipment is sure to have a well-made dinosaur or two from the glory days of 1970s high fidelity. For hardcore bargain hunters, head for the basement where there are huge, unsorted lots of treasure in various states of repair for next to nothing.

Best alley for the serious bowler

Thunderbird Lanes

400 W. Maple Road, Troy


It may not have the indie-rock charm of the Garden Bowl, but Thunderbird Lanes has the best bowling around. This is not the place to go to show off your oh-so-vintage new T-shirt. This is where to go to punish some pins. The lanes are in great shape; ther are frequent specials (usually $5 all you can bowl), and the ball selection is truly awe-inspiring.

Best Michigan microbrew

Bell’s Brewery


Does anything taste better on a hot summer evening than a cold bottle of Bell’s Oberon? We think not. Bell’s Brewery offerings not only taste great, they're potent. Pass up those 15 cans of MGD and have a couple Bell’s instead. It's available in most grocery or specialty stores.

Best independent bookstore

Book Beat

26010 Greenfield, Oak Park


Break the chains. Expand your borders. Find books on barns and nobles (and a whole lot more) in this small-but-mighty spot tucked into the corner of yet another anonymous suburban strip mall. It’s jammed ceiling to floor with books, ethnic masks and other literate goodies, and staffed by people who seem to know more about what you want than you do yourself. The in-store gallery exhibits art too edgy for other places. Always worth the trip.

Best used bookstore

The Library Bookstore

169 W. Nine Mile Road, Ferndale


Now, of course, John K. King Books (Detroit and Ferndale) is the undisputed King Kong of used publications, with more square footage and floors of titles than anyone else. But the Library is an intimate alternative, perfect for browsing, where you always seem to find just the right Zen text or poetry book or mystery novel for your mood. With A Woman’s Prerogative, Paperbacks Unlimited and John K. King Books North in the immediate neighborhood, it makes Ferndale the most literate town in the sprawl.

Best poetry section in a bookstore

Shaman Drum Bookshop

311-315 S. State St., Ann Arbor


Though not specializing in poetry, these folks do a terrific job of stocking their shelves with bards from John Ashbery and Amiri Baraka to Anne Waldman and Louis Zukofsky, while representing the local scenes and small presses, and planting that unexpected chapbook treasure here and there that turns browsing into a real adventure.

Best art movie house

Main Art Theatre

118 N. Main, Royal Oak


Pretenders come and go, but the Main Art endures for good reason. Once the home of simply "The Main," a neighborhood house specializing in kids’ matinees and mainstream fare, the redesigned space has become the anytime-you-need-a-buzz favorite of serious film buffs, continuing its deluge of titles (domestic and foreign — great, bad, but hardly ever indifferent) and avoiding the commercial crassness of the anonymous cineplex. Plus it’s got the cutest, snottiest and most helpful staff in town.

Best movie snack bar

Star Theatres

It’s a trend in movie theaters to jack up prices so that you pay a dime for every kernel of popcorn. Every movie theater considered for this position has inflated prices for all of their sweet goods. This being said, Star Theatres get the award for best movie snack bar. Their Southfield location includes a restaurant; the Auburn Hills location includes a coffee shop and an ice cream parlor, all items of which can be taken into the actual screening rooms. These two locations, the biggest of the Star chain, have kitchens to prepare hot dogs and pretzels, and adjacent shops for ice cream or coffee. If you’re on a budget and can’t afford the high-priced items, just revert to the old-fashioned trend of sneaking candy bars in.

Best used record store

Encore Records

417 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor


A proverbial candy store for music junkies in the Detroit area, Encore records stands alone as the crowning jewel of the area’s record outlets. The inside is of the place seems to defy the laws of physics — thousands upon thousands of hours of music are filed along the tall shelves and narrow corridors of the tiny store. Novices, collectors and wax addicts alike could sped gleeful hours in the cramped isles rifling though volumes of stock for that perfect something. Encore deals in buying, selling and trading the finest sounds in all formats and boasts a massive selection of all genres (classical buffs and jazz heads will delight in their rare and out-of-print vinyl selection). Best of all, the turnover of the place is stunning, so if they don’t have what you’re looking for on the first visit, the next time it might just be waiting for you.

Most knowledgeable record store staff

Car City Records

29118 Harper, St. Clair Shores


All your buddies keep on telling you that you’d love The Flamin’ Groovies, but you don’t know if they mean 1971’s Teenage Head or 1993’s Rock Juice. You need answers … fast. You need to ask around at Car City, where the members of the staff (many of whom are members of Detroit bands) treat rock ’n’ roll "Jeopardy" like a life and death matter.

Best place to get bent over the counter when selling CDs

Record Exchange

149 West Nine Mile Road, Ferndale


Staring at a sizeable pile of CDs that you swore up and down you’d never pawn but because of certain economic woe you are forced to? Well, if you take a good year’s worth of hard-earned CD purchases to the trade counter at the Record Exchange in Ferndale, you’ll most likely walk out with just enough dough for a medium pizza, a six-pack of Stroh’s and maybe, if God is on your side, a pack of smokes. What’s more, you may also leave with sense of having been humiliated, what with the marked patronization of at least one of the store’s employees.

Best bicycle shop

Bill Freund’s Olympic Schwinn and Fitness Center

22031 Coolidge, Oak Park


There’s something timeless about Bill Freund’s bicycle shop. Instead of a store cluttered with gaudy, hot-rod bikes and a commission-hungry staff, Freund’s has the kind of mom-and-pop atmosphere that makes you want to buy something (Bill himself has been coming into the shop to oversee operations for the past 43 years). But the best part of the place is their repair shop in the back — a room where mechanical miracle workers can transform the rusting hunk of junk in your basement into a smooth-riding vehicle of youthful escape.

Best thrift store (furniture)

Rescued Treasures

43584 Van Dyke, Sterling Heights


Sure, when you think of the blue-blooded, SUV-cluttered streets of Sterling Heights, a thrift store doesn’t make much sense. But maybe that’s the secret to Rescued Treasures’ load of gems. The place is jammed with great furniture finds — everything from lamps, rugs and other home accessories to huge dressers, tables and an occasional piano, parlor organ or musical instrument. The real kicker is that on the first Saturday of every month everything in the whole place is half off — making for ridiculously great deals.

Best thrift store (clothes)

Salvation Army

5600 E. Eight Mile Rd., Detroit


Shopping at a "Salvys" can be kind of sketchy, but the Salvation Army location on E. Eight Mile is a fashionable cheapskate’s dream. The clothes are clean and sorted by style and color, and the deals will have you dressed to the nines for under $5. This is the crème de la crème for cheap style.

Best hat store

Henry the Hatter

1307 Broadway, Detroit


Henry the Hatter has been a Detroit institution for 100 years, (making it this city’s oldest retailer) and walking through the shop’s door is like taking a walk into a bit of Detroit history. The A-list of designer hatmakers are all present and neatly displayed along the walls and the staff is more than happy to lend a hand. They have felt evening hats with colorful plumes, plaid and leather urban caps, fur winter hats, engineer’s caps, and even a selection of baseball lids. There’s truly something for everyone.

Best place to buy hip-hop clothing

4 Men

Eastland Mall (313-372-9923)

and Fairlane Town Center (313-323-3600)

If you’re looking for the perfect hook-up, whether you’re just chillin’ or actually stepping out, 4 Men has something for you. With racks and racks of the latest trends and the hottest label names, including Girbaud, Guess and Sean Jehn, you can dress like a rapper even if you don’t have the skills. And, if you don’t know what to buy, just ask Gary or Reese, they’ll hook you up with the proper hook-up.

Best place to buy ’gators

City Slicker Shoes

164 Monroe, Detroit


Some might say you’re not really a baller unless you own at least one pair of ’gators — preferably a pastel color. Although the shoes average $700, the clientele at City Slicker easily fork over the dollars and walk out in style — often with a matching baby-pink or lime-green suit from the Broadway to match. Celebrities such as Steve Harvey have made a pit stop at City Slicker to complete their ensemble and stock up on Detroit’s flava. City Slicker has been serving those who like fine shoes for 22 years. Although the ’gator isn’t extinct, if Detroit players have their way, it soon will be.

Best overpriced vintage

Mother Fletcher’s

234 W. Nine Mile Road, Ferndale


Not only does Mother Fletcher’s have just what you want, they also have you just where they want you. You see the shirt of your dreams and try it on. It’s the perfect color, the perfect fit, the perfect everything. Then … you look at the price tag. For both men’s and women’s apparel, Mother Fletcher’s is the place.

Best ill-mannered clothing store owner

Dan Tatarian at Showtime Clothing

5708 Woodward Ave., Detroit


Showtime owner Dan Tatarian often offers an ill-timed insult to welcome you into his clothing store. Tatarian — a big guy with affable eyes and a gentle demeanor — may fire insults in your direction; he may smirk too, but it’s really all in jest. Turns out that, for whatever reason, the man is actually a sweetheart masquerading as a hard-ass. What’s more, Showtime offers the best selection of new and used clothes for the B&D-rock ’n’ roll-garage set in greater Detroit. 1960s pearl-button western shirts mix with Easy Rider-era biker jackets; Clash (cq) creepers mix with fetish wear and sheer knee-high stockings, antique deco watches, hot pants and leopard-print jackets. What’s more, the Showtime stock could easily be filed under affordable. Take the piss on, indeed!

Best pottery

Pewabic Pottery

10125 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit


Thanks to Mary Chase Perry Stranton, Pewabic Pottery was established in Detroit in 1907 at the Jefferson Avenue location where her innovative iridescent and blue-green glazes are still produced. Stop by to see the potters in action. Or learn how to do it yourself by signing up for one of the many classes offered year round. Pewabic pieces are also on display and available for purchase. They’re open Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Best bead and oil shop

Djenne Beads and Art African Imports

1045 Beaubien, Suite No. 153 (International Building), Detroit


Hidden in Greektown’s Atheneum Hotel, facing the Greektown Casino, sits a gem of downtown Detroit. Here you’ll find a plentiful collection of African beads, including antiques, perfume oils, incense, African clothing, great jewelry and other items of interest. Mahamadou Sumareh, the owner, travels to Africa several times a year so you can enjoy the fruits of the continent.

Best hidden gift shops

Little Things

633 Beaubien, Detroit


Spirit in the Park

635 Beaubien, Detroit


Unless you hang out at the Detroiter Bar or live downtown, you aren’t likely to find the two little gift shops next door to each other on Beaubien. But Spirit in the Park and Little Things are well worth a visit, offering gifts from the inexpensive to the expensive, from little shaving kits for men to beautiful pottery bowls and hand-made stationary. No matter who or what you’re shopping for, one of these two exquisite boutiques will have what you are looking for.

Best place to buy incense

Eastern Market

Who needs Glade Air Freshener and Plug Ins when you can buy a stick of incense and enjoy the slow burn? There’s a guy at Eastern Market — who’s there every week on the main drag — who sells incense at $14 for 100 sticks in exotic scents like Tranquility, Sensational and Blue Nile. That’s a great price considering you can buy a "name brand" box of about 20 sticks incense at the same price. Throw on some cooling-out music, kick back and allow the incense to do its thing.

Best pawnshop

Zeidman’s Loan OFC

2669 Gratiot, Detroit


Zeidman’s is the pawnshop that does all of the advertising. Of course, it has radios, DVDs and big-screen TVs, but its real claim to fame is the "previously enjoyed" collection of Rolex watches. Starting at $1,800 for a lady’s Oyster Perpetual, the store also carries Presidential and Masterpiece Datejust, to name a few. One other advantage to a "previously enjoyed" Rolex from Zeidman’s is that, with 10 percent down, you can layaway the watch and make monthly payments until the watch is yours. What time is it?

Best of Detroit 2002:

Civic pride
Party loyalty
Strong bodies
The wrong stuff
People's picks