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Outdoor dining 'experience' names menu items after influential Detroiters

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

East Eats is a collection of heated domes set up in an empty lot near Detroit's Jefferson Chalmers. Billed as a "tiny dining experience," it is holding a soft launch this week. 

The vegan-friendly menu is a list of customizable tacos, plus some sides like veggie fried rice, street corn, miso soup and fried doughnuts for dessert. Every menu item is named after an influential person from Detroit's recent or historic past. 

Reservations are open now for the East Eats outdoor dining experience.

A taco with Asian slaw, sweet chili ginger sauce, basil and peanuts, for example, is named for the late activist and author James Boggs. Ruth Ellis, Fanny Richardson and Dr. Ossian Sweet are also names of gourmet tacos. The veggie rice dish is named for burlesque dancer Lottie "the Body" Graves, who died earlier this year. 

A weekend brunch menu has nods to influential entertainers with Detroit connections, like egg dishes named after Della Reese, J Dilla, John Witherspoon and Aaliyah. 

Guests must purchase meals when they make their reservation for planning purposes, and so no money or credit cards need to be exchanged during the visit. Seatings are $45 per person and sold in pairs. The $45 gets you five small plates from the menu. 

For a $10 corking fee, guests can bring their own alcoholic beverages and East Eats will supply cups and ice. 

The menu looks fun, but it seems to be all about the atmosphere at East Eats. Diners enjoy their meal in a cozy, decorated, open-air dome that has an electric fireplace if it gets too cold. 

East Eats is at 1018 Navahoe in Detroit. Visit to view the menu and purchase reservations.

Twitter: @melodybaetens