Gratiot Central Market, Roma Cafe, Germack, Mootown Creamery

15 Jun

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Eastern Market is without a doubt one of my favorite places in Detroit! Three of my best-loved activities; gardening, cooking, and shopping are all represented here….extensively. At this location since 1891 it is the oldest and largest open-air Farmers Market in the US, so it will take a few posts to describe all of the great things to do in the Eastern Market District. Come on down and check it out!

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Today we’ll start at the south end at Gratiot Central Market. If you like meat, you will be in heaven. The main aisle-way is lined with vendors such as; Randy’s Sausage, Wigley’s Corned Beef, and Ronnies Meats displaying their finest cuts of meat, I have never seen so many ribs in one place. Of course they have T-bones and porterhouse,ground beef and chicken, but add to that list; chicken feet, goat,oxtail, salt pork, rabbit and tripe. Small shops sell BBQ supplies and seasonings,there’s take out food and a fish market too. I love the cheese shop, you can purchase items from Calder Dairy here, I have a tip for you: Buy the Chocolate Milk…….  If you like to barbecue bring along a cooler because you’ll want to stock up, prices are easy on the wallet. 

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Walking down the Fisher Fwy service drive we poked our heads into Art Effect Gallery, they were getting ready for their Grand Opening that same evening, looking forward to stopping in next time we’re at the Market. A little further down on the corner of the service drive and Russell St is the Germack company’s store. Germack is the oldest roaster of pistachio nuts in the US. If you have a thing for pistachios either red or natural you’ve hit the jackpot! They sell a large variety of nuts and seeds along with delicious snack mixes,we purchased the Asian ZenSation mix, mmmmmmm, definitely stop in.

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Busy Bee Hardware located on the corner of Gratiot and Russell since 1918 has been in the same family for three generations. This is a real hardware store, if you need to repair something at home chances are you can find what you need right here. The store is a mix of old and new, it is somewhat a general mercantile with antique cabinets, a couple of vintage washing machines on display, and the only rope operated elevator in the city. The sign outside advertised pickle crocks, they still sell vegetable seeds like the old days, you can have a key made, and if you’re lucky, one of the owners will tell you a story or two. The place is great, seriously, you have to come in and walk around.

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All that shopping made us hungry, Roma Cafe, Detroit’s oldest Italian restaurant sits nearby on Riopelle, they have been serving classic Italian dishes since 1890. From the decor to the menu the atmosphere is unquestionably  old-time. Waiters wearing tuxedos serve you crusty bread with real butter, salads are prepared in the dining room where you can watch the action. We ordered Cannelloni and a Roma salad, the salad was really good, crisp lettuce, nice chunks of meat and peppers, seasoned with salt and pepper. The canneloni was excellent, tender meat filling in perfectly cooked pasta all smothered in red sauce and topped off with melted mozzarella, delicious.  

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There’s a new ice cream place on Russell St, so we had to save room for dessert! Mootown Creamery & More recently opened next door to Supino’s Pizza, which works out perfectly for both establishments. The store is just charming, walls are painted pastel mint green with a white tin ceiling, tables are also white with pastel colored chairs, somehow this place has the feeling of being in a beach town….really. Large beautiful posters of ice cream cones dress the main wall. Mootown serves Hudsonville Ice Cream made in Holland Michigan, the rear of the store is a gift shop with plenty of pretty things to catch your eye. It is the perfect addition to Eastern Market.

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