Special Issues » Annual Manual

Using the periodic table to explain metro Detroit dining

Food chemistry



View a larger version of our periodic table here.

When it comes to metro Detroit's dining scene, the last decade has been one of major flux. Old standbys we thought would be around forever have disappeared, and a new crop of hip eateries have taken their place. The action has shifted a bit, with more downtown spots and homier settings, but the creativity and swagger haven't been this notable in, like, forever.

But how do you take it all in? Leave that to Annual Manual, where it's our job to take the latest up-to-date information and package it in innovative ways that stimulate discussion. Here we've tried shoehorning some of the region's most notable restaurants into a periodic table.

How to read it? Note the sliders down the left side, where the alkali metals would normally be. Note that it starts with American and Lafayette downtown, works its way up through the National coney chain, before hitting Duly's Place, the revamped Campau Tower, the hip eatery Green Dot, and finally Birmingham's classic Hunter House. Moving down the chart, you'll find restaurants that are either more spectacular, further from downtown, or both. Or that's the idea, anyway. (Don't try this at home; it isn't easy!)

Similarly, the "barbecue bar" encompasses city barbecues new (Slows and Rub Pub BBQ) and old (Vicki's and Uptown), as well local mini-chain Bad Brad's. We also made an effort to corral Mexican (from Lupita's all the way up to Rojo Mexican Bistro) and veggie-friendly places (from Detroit Vegan Soul to Inn Season Café). It got a bit complicated mixing up slots for Asian eateries, restaurants with great bars, and places that skew at least a little ethnic (Joe Muer Seafood serves some sushi, for instance), but the main center slots all represent typical contemporary cuisine in some form, leading up to some heavier splurges where those big atomic numbers would be.

Also, we couldn't help breaking out Ann Arbor and Ypsi in our actinides and lanthanides.

So, clear your head, get out your pen, and circle what makes you curious. It's simple to do.

One might even say it's elementary.

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