Semester in Detroit is a three month long program, and I came into this opportunity with the goal to get as much out of this city as I possibly could. As I started my internship, something that continued to come up was the recommendations for restaurants that I had to go to in the city. My internship is in Southwest Detroit in Mexicantown, and there are a lot of great restaurants in that area. I tend to be a cheap person who doesn’t eat out all that often, however, I decided that if I wanted to experience the city I had to get to know the food too.
So in early June I asked my supervisor where she thought the best restaurant was in the area, she told me El Nacimiento, and I invited a few friends to come with me on the Friday of that week. While we were eating I made a joke and said, “it’s a fun restaurant Friday!” and the name stuck.
We continued this tradition as a way to get to know more of the restaurants in Detroit, as long as a way to get to know each other, and experience the city together. We tried to pick restaurants that could provide authentic food in parts of the city that we wouldn’t already normally go to. The only criteria we had is that it a.) had to be in Detroit, Hamtramck, Highland Park, or Dearborn b.) couldn’t be in Midtown (where we live).
We ended up having six total Fun Restaurant Fridays: El Nacimiento in SouthWest, Polonia in Hamtramck, Detroit Vegan Soul in East Village, Al-Ameer in Dearborn, Flowers of Vietnam in SouthWest, and the Yemen Cafe in Hamtramck. Only two of us—there’s usually about 4-6 of us—have been to all of them. I’m one of the two who’s been to all of them, and my favorite restaurant—along with the two-other frequent-goers who happen to be in the room with me right now—was the Yemen Cafe. It had very delicious, authentic Yemeni food at very cheap prices. They filled us to the brim on $1 bread and it was wonderful.
I plan to continue Fun Restaurant Fridays as I return back to Ann Arbor, as it’s a fun, and consistent, way to get together with friends who all have busy schedules, and it’s a great way to discover more about the food and culture of the area. I’m very glad that we continued this tradition throughout my Semester in Detroit experience.