Gildshire’s Food and Nutrition Magazine continues our tour of the top eat-out spots in the country with our selections in the mideast. Before we tell you what the Top Five dining gems in the mideastern U.S. are all about, we should probably define our terms. After all, west and southwest are self-explanatory, and east/southeast likewise evoke a place on the map. Even “midwest,” after a brief hesitation, is pretty well-known and agreed-upon. Alas, “mideast” is more nebulous in definition. That’s a shame, because some of the best meals in the whole country are found here. The “mideast” begins just east of the deep dish pizza capital of the Universe in Chicago. It includes Michigan and Indiana, before sweeping east through Ohio. Kentucky is mideast, as is West Virginia. The western half of Pennsylvania is mideast, while the eastern half is “east,” because Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have never played nicely together.
Does that clear matters up? We hope so, because we’re hungry and all of this geography is doing nothing for the rumble in our tummy. Let’s get to the Top Five dining gems in the mideast.
Slows Barbecue, 2138 Michigan Ave, Detroit, Michigan: Detroit may have a reputation for challenging living conditions, but we find nothing challenging about leading off with Slow’s Barbecue. It earns a five-star rating with 3.5 stars for the smells alone. The food is uniformly magnificent, to the point it’s hard to separate favorites. What made our mouth water the most?
Start with the beef brisket. Slows’ chefs make it melt in your mouth. Other favorites include baby back ribs alongside mac and cheese. One of the Top Five dining gems in the mideast? How about anywhere? Open 11 am-10 pm. Sunday-Wednesday. They stay open until 11 pm. Thursday and Friday, and until midnight Saturday night. The bar is open one hour after the kitchen closes.
Zingerman’s Roadhouse, 2501 Jackson Ave, Ann Arbor, Michigan: “Two Michigan restaurants in a row? What’s up with that?” Sit down for a good meal at Zingerman’s and tell me it doesn’t belong. Go ahead, I’ll wait. I would wait forever, that’s what I would do.
The word “roadhouse” doesn’t readily bring to mind natural and organic foods, but they are plentiful here. For the carnivores in the crowd, try the barbecue sampler, and only share it if you have to, because it’s that good. We’re not sure what it is about Michigan and mac and cheese, but Zingerman’s makes an outstanding one, as well. Try it with a smoked beef sandwich. Open Monday-Thursday 7 am-10 pm, and until 11 pm. Friday night. Saturday hours are 9 am.-11 pm. Sunday hours are 9 am-9 pm. Yes, those are a lot of hours to remember. Trust us, it’s worth it.
Slyman’s Deli, 3106 Saint Clair Ave, N.E. Cleveland, Ohio: Some places call themselves “legendary” when they’ve been open six months. That isn’t the case with Slyman’s. They let their food do the boasting, and it does a magnificent job at it. Is this place a legend? Just ask the folks in line waiting to get in and the happy diners making room for them. Do you like corned beef?
I thought so. Grab your phone and make airline reservations, even if you live in Nepal. The pastrami sandwiches are equally as tasty, and the house-made potato salad accompanies this concert of a feast beautifully. Be careful to go when Slyman’s is open, because the hours are a little tricky. Open weekdays 6 am.-2 pm. Saturday hours are 9 am.-1 pm, but Slyman’s is closed Sundays.
Havana Rumba Middletown, 12003 Shelbyville Rd, Suite 108, Louisville, Kentucky: One of the best parts about the U.S. and Cuba’s relational thaw is the food and tourist exchanges that are sure to follow. Havana Rumba has had it down all along. The atmosphere is beyond lively and the food is so bueno!
Favorite dishes include Pinchos Vegetariano, tamales and, literally, any of the tapas. Grab a pen and write down these hours. Havana Rumba is open Monday-Wednesday 5 pm-9:30 p.m. and Thursday 11:30 am-9:30 pm. They are open Friday from 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. and Saturday 11:30 am-10 pm. Finally, Sunday hours are Noon-8:30 pm. If that sounds confusing, then just show up any day at 5 p.m.
San Chez, 38 Fulton St, W. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Who knew that the Top Five Dining Gems in the mideastern United States would be 60% Michigan restaurants? Only the satisfied Michiganders, that’s who.
San Chez has been serving quality food to the city of Grand Rapids since 1992. That means two generations have enjoyed the fare, with many more to follow, unless we miss our guess. Come early in the day and have breakfast empanadas. Later in the day share some tapas with others at the table. If there are just a couple of you, then the crab cakes are highly recommended. Open Monday-Thursday, 8 am-10pm, and an hour later on Friday. Saturday hours are 9 am-11pm. Sunday hours are 9 am-10 pm.
That’s our list of Top Five dining gems in the mideastern United States. Just one region to go, and we can’t wait to share what we have found on the eastern seaboard. They will make you just as hungry as these five gems.