Backed by 45 years of tradition, Stroh’s Ice Cream Parlour freezes brains with sweet scoops of handcrafted ice cream in more than 40 imaginative flavors. Beneath a glass case laden with old-fashioned candy and fresh popcorn, chilled air curls around mounds of rare ice-cream varieties such as lemon custard, caramel-nut cluster, and banana pudding, each waiting to meet its spoony soul mate. Frozen globes of pistachio mingle with mackinac island fudge atop double-scoop cones ($4.60), and single cups ($2.82) or triple scoops ($5.20 for cup or cone) of moose tracks puff up their peanut-butter cups to intimidate waiting mouths. Frosty frozen yogurt morphs into myriad tangy forms ranging from low-cal and low-fat to sugar- and lactose-free in a rotating cast of flavors including double-dutch chocolate and pumpkin. Hand-packed pints, quarts, and gallons ($5.10–$12.99) cram frosty treats into take-home cartons so sweet seekers can decadently bribe freezer poltergeists into submission.
The Rib Rack's extensive barbecue menu of hand-held meaty eats will quell carnivorous cravings for any winged, finned, or hoofed beast or vegetable. Opt for a half-rack of its fall-off-the-bone baby-back ribs ($10.95), a 12-piece bucket of chicken ($18.95), or one of its signature ribs and chicken combos like Mark's family style #4, with four pieces of chicken, a half-rack of ribs, and a choice of side ($19.95, serves two to three). Aquaphiles will enjoy the 10-piece shrimp dinner ($8.95) served with choice of potato side and a roll, or the fish 'n' chips ($7.95), while sandwich fans can nosh on a bread-enclosed handful of pulled pork ($4.95) or a blazin' chicken sandwich ($4.95). The Rib Rack's savory side selections feature classic southern specialties such as mac 'n' cheese ($1.95) and collard greens ($2.45), and are sure to evoke memories of childhood picnics or romantic Fourth of July fleeting glances and barbecue-laced first kisses.
Every day, Breadsmith kneads and breeds made-from-scratch breads, honoring the practices of centuries-old French bakers. The delectable dough sculptures receive the royal treatment, with all delicate yeast bubbles bursting inside of a 6-ton stone-hearth oven. The oven's sweltering heat creates a cushy crust for American-style breads. In the presence of lightning-quick steam injections, European-style breads take on a crisp, crumb-dressed outer core. Daily bread offerings vary from baguettes to sourdoughs to specialty loaves. Use today's Groupon to fill up the family with lusciously leavened loaves fresh from the oven—or wait for them to go stale and then wield them as harpoons during the next potato-soup hunt.
The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.
Chef Travis Waynick of Northern Lakes Seafood Company carefully curates a menu of fresh fish and seafood in a nautical-themed environment. Duos and quartets of diners embark on aquatic journeys with cups of creamy lobster bisque or clam chowder, or declare herbivorous allegiance with the house, caesar, or iceberg-lettuce salads. All fresh catches, including the Peruvian tilapia, are prepared grilled, broiled, blackened, baked, steamed, sautéed, or buttermilk-fried. Seared scallops sashay to tables, and pan-roasted chicken cuddles with spaetzle and grain-mustard jus lie sauce as a vegetable side watches from the stairway. Reward bellies with sweet slabs of key-lime cheesecake, pumpkin-bread pudding with black-walnut ice cream, or crème brûlée with seasonal fresh fruit.
Once inside Barrio Tacos and Tequila, one is immediately struck by the smoky blues and warm blooms of color that fill the space. Frosted panes of azure glass line one side of the restaurant, and vibrant murals overtake the other walls—the ones that aren't stacked with shelves of tequila bottles, anyway. Orange lights from above branch into glowing tendrils, studding the navy ceiling with miniature suns and illuminating the mortar and pestle on each table. These points of color are akin to the sparks of flavor inside the menu: pleasantly surprising and, in the words of the Detroit News, "bright and well-balanced."
Executive chef Ryan Porter is the brain behind Barrio’s inventive recipes. As a teenager, Ryan cooked for his family every night, honing the creativity that would lead him through American-, Asian-, Italian-, and finally Mexican-themed kitchens. Today, he looks in all cardinal directions for culinary inspiration, fashioning platters in the style of Oaxaca and Acapulco, among other regions. He stuffs tortillas with nine types of taco fillings, including housemade chorizo. On the side, scoops of chili-dusted sweet corn transport guests to Mexico without forcing them to throw out the giant bottle of shampoo they keep hidden under their shirt.