Before Pam Turkin flung open the doors to the first Just Baked in 2009, she was just baking cupcakes on the weekends. But after her corporate travels took her past a growing number of cupcake shops outside of southeastern Michigan, she decided to turn her hobby into a career. She now helms 17 shops in the area, where she and her staff of dessert experts whip up eclectically flavored cupcakes such as red velvet cheesecake, chocolate chip cookie dough, and grumpy cake. In addition to the mouthwatering flavors, all of their items boast real butter, real eggs, and real milk as opposed to artificial ingredients from artificial cows and chickens.
The master bagel bakers at Detroit Bagel Factory bake appetite-provoking batches of bagels fresh each day, as they’ve done for more than half a century. Upon selecting a worthy entry from the bagel menu–stacked with varieties such as egg, everything, and blueberry–patrons can enjoy the famously versatile food in several manners such as slathering it with the shop’s homemade cream cheeses, pairing it with freshly brewed coffee, or infinitely searching for its end. At lunchtime, diners might trade cream cheese for deli fixings such as hot corned beef, baked ham, or tuna salad.
In business since 1927, West Fenkell Bakery upholds a tradition of creating preservative-free breads, sweets, and sandwiches with an Italian spin. The staff bakes fresh bread each morning, complementing it with everything from stromboli, pizza, and Italian subs to cannoli, cookies, and cupcakes. Visitors can pick up favorites such as banana-nut sweetbread, creative sweets such as chocolate-peppermint Sicilian cannoli, or seasonal holiday breads.
Crepes and coffee have long gone hand-in-hand, but Sky Crepe Dearborn takes the delicious combination one step further by also throwing frozen yogurt, burgers, flatbreads, and salads into the mix. Chefs create sweet and savory crepes with toppings ranging from fresh berries and cream to smoked salmon with arugula and capers, and top burgers with extras like crispy onion straws and pepper jack cheese. Meanwhile, at the coffee counter, staff whip up frozen concoctions like caramel frappes or hot mugs of espresso and chai tea. But the sweetest treats of all are the shop's specialty frozen yogurt sundaes. Topping combinations vary, but favorites include the Coffee Lover, a mixture of espresso yogurt, Heath bar chunks, caramel, and hot fudge, and the Peanut Butter Panic, a helping of vanilla yogurt served with peanut butter sauce, Reese's Peanut Butter cups, hot fudge, and a paper bag to breathe into if the excitement gets to be too much.
A southern Lebanese village was the first site of Hashems Nuts and Coffee Gallery, started by the current owners' grandfather—Abu Ali Sheik Theeb—in 1959. He roasted coffee and nuts fresh daily, blending spices and cooking falafel by hand that lured patrons from as far as Beirut. While the Dearborn stores are far removed from Lebanon, the Hashem family still mimics the original store's wares with daily roasted Turkish coffee, authentic recipes, and a wealth of Middle Eastern goods. Cooks can stock their pantries with Lebanese olive oil or pickled pepperoncini, and fill their spice racks with Spanish saffron and hand-mixed kibbeh spice blends. Dry-roasted or raw nuts mingle with dates and Turkish dried apricots to create a customizable trail mix. The staff also makes hookahs available for sale—like the art at museums if you bring your art to the museum and start selling it.
Paradise Cafe & Lounge is the kind of place you can hang out for hours. And it is not just because it'll take that long to choose which craft beer to pair with bar snacks such as White Castle sliders and the beer sponge?a pretzel stuffed with jalape?o cheese. It's because there's always something going on. It could be the game on TV, local bands and solo acts, a Monday open mic, Tuesday karaoke, or a Friday comedy show. For those looking for more interactive activities or a very tiny thimble, the bar also has a large selection of board games.