Dining guide to Downriver

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

If you plan to attend the Wyandotte Street Art Fair, which starts Wednesday, or next weekend’s MC5 anniversary celebration in Lincoln Park, you may find yourself having a meal in the Downriver area soon.

While it’s not known as a hip destination like Corktown or Ferndale, the Downriver area — particularly downtown Wyandotte — does have many cool spots worth checking out. For new visitors, here’s a quick guide to what area residents likely already know.

Old-school dining

Moro’s Dining: Owner and chef Thomas Moro has decades of experience in the local Italian dining scene. For the past quarter century, he’s been serving beef Marsala, veal parmigiana and other classics at his Allen Park restaurant. Moro’s is known for its tableside specialties like flaming cherries jubilee and Chateaubriand for two. 6535 Allen, Allen Park. (313) 382-7152.

Hungarian Rhapsody: Offering hearty, Old World dishes like goulash served in a kettle over an open flame, chicken paprikas with dumplings and steak Budapest, this family-friendly spot is the real deal. Swap out the side salad for cucumbers with sour cream. 14315 Northline, Southgate. (734) 283-9622.

Frank’s Pizzeria & Restaurant: Opened in the 1950s, this pizza joint has been in the same family for three generations. Give yourself some time to enjoy the fresh-baked thin-crust pies (don’t be in a hurry here), or other Italian dishes like tortellini and chicken Marsala. 3144 Biddle, Wyandotte. (734) 282-0512.

RP McMurphy’s: With dark wood and stained glass touches and cheery red booths, RP McMurphy’s serves a steakhouse-style menu out of its tiny kitchen, but has a pub atmosphere. The appetizer menu goes from escargot to fried pickles, but the rest of the menu has familiar names like Maurice salad, lake perch, filet mignon and French onion soup. Couples and solo diners can cozy up in the tavern area with bar and booth seating, while larger groups and families can spread out in the back room. There’s also a patio in back for al fresco dining. 2922 Biddle, Wyandotte. (734) 285-4885.

On the hipper side

Bierkeller: A German-style tavern, Bierkeller has more than 30 beers on tap, a rich pub menu, live music and a party-time atmosphere. Ask about the carving board shot: a nip of Crown Royal Apple garnished with summer sausage, smoked cheddar and green apple. 20085 Goddard, Taylor. (734) 250-7358.

Fort Street Brewery: Besides the house-made craft beer, plentiful seating, easy parking and a varied menu make this an attractive place for beer fans. 1660 Fort, Lincoln Park. (313) 389-9620.

Major Tomato: As healthy as you can get from a pizza place, the fairly new Major Tomato makes thin-crust creations with grass-fed meat, organic toppings and bromate-free dough, plus gluten-free options and soda-pop with no high fructose corn syrup. You can choose your own toppings or pick one of the silly-named specialty pies like the killer tofu or the meatsiah. This family-run business also has veggie and meat hot dogs and burgers, salads and bread sticks. 6547 Allen, Allen Park. (313) 254-9146.

Oak Cafe: Yet another spot for beer fans, this Wyandotte locale was up on craft beer long before it was standard for a bar to offer dozens of indie brews. Besides a stellar bottled and tap list, there’s a beer-friendly menu with wings, fried veggies, pierogi, sandwiches and burgers. 1167 Oak, Wyandotte. (734) 283-8380.

The Rockery: This rock ‘n’ roll bar hosts live music on the weekends and is known for having a great local beer selection and gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. 1175 Eureka, Wyandotte. (734) 281-4629.

Other favorites

CheeseSteak Institute of America: This CIA-themed sandwich ship has poutine with waffle fries, Philadelphia-style cheesesteaks, subs and salads. 3037 Biddle, Wyandotte. (734) 530-3037.

Chesley’s Bar & Grille: A casual spot with a “Cheers” vibe (they even use a similar font), Chesley’s is known for its chicken sandwiches and pizza fries. 3717 Fort, Lincoln Park. (313) 388-8500.

Las Cazuelas Grill: You could say it’s just a Mexican lunch counter in a downriver gas station, but that would be doing everyone a disservice. Folks love the quality and authenticity of La Cazuelas, which serves burritos, tortas, tacos, tostadas and sopes. There’s also a kids menu and a catering service. 4122 Oakwood, Melvindale. (313) 406-9712.

Zukin’s Rib Shack: Downriver-ites know this carry-out-only spot to be one of the best in town. The specialty is ribs, including breaded deep-fried rib meat called “rib kabobs,” but Zukin’s also has shrimp, frog legs, chicken, pizza, subs, pasta, egg rolls and salads. 967 Dix Hwy, Lincoln Park. (313) 388-1170.