Five bars and restaurants worth the drive

. June 2, 2017.
A look inside the Peterboro in Detroit
A look inside the Peterboro in Detroit

When it comes to drinking and dining out in style, there’s an embarrassment of riches right here in Washtenaw County — whatever you’re in the mood for, from upscale to low-key, from barbecue to vegetarian, from fried to fermented, or from beer to cocktails. But during these warm summer months, it’s nice to travel a little bit to see how people down to road quench their thirst and tickle their palates. Here are a few ideas for those times when you’re itching for a quick culinary road trip.

The Peterboro

420 Peterboro St., Detroit

This is not your father’s Chinese American restaurant. That’s thanks to a superb cocktail program and an imaginative yet affordable menu designed by New York-born-and-trained chef de cuisine Brion Wong. Elevated takes on old standards, such as Crab Rangoon, Lo Mein, and Egg Drop Soup are here, as is a tasty version of the Detroit original Almond Boneless Chicken (ABC to those in the know), plus the “absurdly delicious” Cheeseburger Spring Roll. Drinks range from various bottled craft beers, meticulously curated sake flights and whiskey selections, wine, and cocktails including the old school Singapore Sling or Mai Tai, and the “exotic,” such as the Jade Wall made with gin, lillet, fennel liqueur, lime, and sea salt.


The Keep

140 Cadillac Sq., Detroit

With so many highbrow establishments where one can enjoy a handcrafted cocktail popping up these days, it’s a special treat to discover an “underground” place for a sophisticated tipple in an unpretentious atmosphere. The Keep is literally underground, occupying a cavernous, dimly lit basement in a triangular historic building. One glance at the drink menu (they don’t serve food) shows they are serious about their adult beverages. Whether you fancy classics like a Tom Collins, Manhattan, or Sazerac or prefer to get more adventurous with an ever-changing lineup of creative libations– many concocted by mixologists visiting from other area bars or from as far away as New Orleans– you’ll find something to pique your interest. The Keep also has a substantial beer list, with selections ranging from the craftiest craft brews down to PBR and High Life, for those times when you’re just not feeling fancy.


Griff’s Gastropub

14595 Southfield Rd., Allen Park

Just steps away from the ever-bustling Southfield Road is the sleek wood-and-metal design of the 44-seat Griff’s, accentuated with plenty of natural light. It’s a cozy space to explore a menu of modern American fare developed by co-owner and Allen Park native Chris Griffin and Detroit food veteran Steven Kempner, known under his nom de pop-up “The Fargin Chef.” Find twists on appetizers such as Poutine smothered with slow-roasted pulled lamb and gravy, or Lettuce Wraps, featuring marinated chicken breast, pecan bits, and orange sesame dressing. Enjoy the best Scotch egg you’ll ever have, served with Griff’s excellent housemade habanero remoulade. Wash it down with something from the extensive wine list, one of 12 beers on draft, or a specialty cocktail.


Bierkeller Tavern and Eatery

20085 Goddard Rd., Taylor

Not far from Griff’s is something you don’t see much of Downriver: a bar sporting nearly three dozen tap handles. But that’s the centerpiece of Taylor’s Bierkeller, a stylish tavern that combines Old World German beer hall with modern American pub aesthetic to great effect. The fieldstone-and-wood walls and communal-style tables aren’t the only German-inspired things about the place, either. There’s always a great selection of Deutschland drafts from the likes of Spaten, Franziskaner, and Weihenstephaner and a menu loaded with the four German food groups: meat, cheese, noodles, and more meat. Take, for example, such sumptuous appetizers as Bacon-Wrapped Kielbasa Bites, Sauerkraut Balls, and German Spring Rolls stuffed with corned beef, bacon, and cabbage. Not particularly into German beer and food? You can build your own burger or choose from a variety of classic sandwiches, soups and salads. Be sure to stick around until 9pm to join in the nightly bar-wide toast.


Schuler’s Restaurant and Pub

115 S. Eagle St., Marshall

Apart from tart cherries, long winters, and euchre, Schuler’s is about as Michigan as it gets. For more than 100 years, the iconic family-owned restaurant has set the standard in hospitality for generations of loyal customers and first-timers alike. The menu reflects this effort, maintaining dishes that have made the restaurant legendary, including Roast Prime Rib and Broiled Lake Superior Whitefish, as well as offering entrees for more modern tastes, such as Beef Brisket Flatbread with goat cheese, caramelized onions, bacon, and chipotle peppers and a Veggie Burger, made with quinoa, black bean, oats, cilantro, and horseradish mayo. The restaurant also bakes a variety of its own breads and crackers and also serves a version of its celebrated bar cheese spread. Finish off the trip with a variety of beverages to wash it all down, including Schuler’s own private label wine and a beer made specially for the restaurant by Bell’s.


Laith Al-Saadi & Friends – Annual Birthday Bash

It goes without saying that Laith Al-Saadi is a treasure of the Ann Arbor music community. But if you haven’t yet experienced this bipedal force of nature with his signature beard, shredding guitar, and astonishing singing voice, then clear your schedule next Saturday… Laith Al-Saadi’s Annual Birthday Bash Sept 29 The Michigan Theater 8pm INFO

Grove Studios Grand Opening

If you’ve been following the pages (printed or online) of Current this past year, then you’ve probably heard a bit about Grove Studios already. Grove is a grassroots effort to provide musicians and artists from all around the Detroit metro area and western Washtenaw County a rehearsal and creative space for their work and development.

Audiotree Music Festival (Kalamazoo) – Sept 22/23

The Audiotree Music Festival returns to Kalamazoo’s Arcadia Creek Festival Place next Saturday and Sunday. The lineup features more than 20 artists, including Father John Misty, Khruangbin, Chicano Batman, Diet Cig, and many more! While the names we dropped in the previous paragraph are nationally renowned artists signed on to notable labels like Sub Pop or

saajtak featured among a genre defying lineup at blind pig – sept 13

  Genres are irrelevant. No one proves that assertion better than Detroit’s saajtak. Formed five years ago at U-M’s School of Music, saajtak’s made quite an impression with their stormy fusion of free jazz, noise experimentation, electronica, space-rock and opera. Their newest EP, Hectic, came out earlier this summer. Hectic EP by saajtak Thurs, Sept 13 saajtak