Best of Detroit 2013
Real Deal - Reader's Choice
Reader's choice of retail in Metro Detroit
Published: March 20, 2013
Best Hair Salon in Wayne County
Curl up and Dye
4215 Cass Ave., Detroit
This full-service salon offers all the amenities guaranteed to make customers look and feel good. While MT readers consistently honor its hair-cutting chops, the salon also offers facials, makeup application, massage and nail services. Along with taming unruly locks, the salon focuses on health and sustainability, making recycling a priority and featuring natural, nontoxic products — including its own in-house skin and hair care line, Cass Corridor Organics — that are never tested on animals. Stylish decor, a relaxed atmosphere and a friendly, talented staff don’t hurt either.
Best Hair Salon in Oakland County
Alex Emilio Salon
409 S. Main St., Royal Oak
There are salons and then there is Alex Emilio. Don’t let the Royal Oak address fool you, this place is upscale and expensive. However, you will most likely get the best haircut of your life at Alex Emilio. In our research, we could not find one person who said their cut was not “amazing.” Another customer fave was the woman who shapes eyebrows. A client, who said she was “broke ass poor,” still paid the money to get her eyebrows shaped because the salon was just that good. Broke-ass poor!
Best Hair Salon in Washtenaw County
333 Maynard St., Ann Arbor;
For other locations, see aveda.edu
When Douglas Weaver opened his first salon in East Lansing in 1967, he had a vision for the kind of business he wanted to build: one that would not only provide superb service and style to clients, but one that would also aid budding stylists on their career paths. That vision is now a reality, with Douglas J Aveda Institutes and salons located throughout the country. The institutes provide nascent hairdressers with the skills they’ll need to go pro while giving the public the chance to receive top-notch salon services at discount rates. Style and service are still paramount at both the schools and the pro salons.
Best Makeup Studio
Rouge Makeup and Nail Studio
23341 Woodward Ave., Ferndale
Don’t expect harsh beauty treatments built around toxic chemicals at Rouge. Instead, pampering comes courtesy of all-natural cosmetics and vegan and organic skincare. After all, it just makes sense that makeovers shouldn’t just make you look good, but also be good for you. And who can say no to sea salt scrubs, organic ginger oil and colorful, chemical-free eye shadows? Someone who doesn’t deserve them, that’s who. Rouge offers services that range from full-on luxury to quick touch-ups. Make-up application lessons and girl’s night-out parties are also available.
Best Tattoo Shop
Lucky Monkey Tattoo
308 S. Ashley St., Ann Arbor
If there were to be an expansion of The Learning Channel’s Inked franchise, our bet is on Lucky Money. The shop’s artists are brands unto themselves, and depending on personality and the particular piece of art you have in mind, there is likely an artist to fit your bill. Of course, getting inked is not for the faint of heart. It doesn’t scrub off after a few days, but that’s the point. (Get it, point!) With clientele ranging from the former Mrs. Eminem to hockey legend Darren McCarty, your various body parts are in good, talented hands.
Best Body-Piercing Shop
230 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale
When the Ferndale City Council finally scrapped outdated zoning that prohibited tattoo shops downtown, it was only a matter of time before one would pop up. Signature, an artist-run venture co-owned by prominent tattoo and underground artist Mark Heggie, opened its doors in October 2010. Heggie noticed that many of his clients from his Utica shop, Big Top Tattoo, traveled from Detroit and nearby suburbs, so it only made sense to open a store that was closer to home for customers. Artists create all of their own designs rather than relying on commercial razzle dazzle, but it’s not the ink that grabbed our readers’ attention. The skill and creativity of the resident needle-wielders get the honors again this year.
Best Jewelry Store
Best Jewelry Repair
Mount N’ Repair
205 Pierce St., Birmingham
Mount N’ Repair in downtown Birmingham is a nice, tidy shop that had a terrific selection of affordable jewelry pieces, including cuff links, necklaces, bracelets and rings. The staff is friendly, knowledgable and the prices are reasonable for the product lines. Pretty, affordable and accessible make this pick one for the masses.
Blumz by JRDesigns
1260 Library St., Detroit; 313-964-5777
503 E. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale;
Together, the two owners of Blumz have more than 50 years in the floral biz, and it shows: Fresh flowers and bright, artistic arrangements are the staples here. While colorful, creatively displayed blossoms are Blumz’ raison d’être, the shop also holds classes, hosts events, provides free event consultations and offers full-service event planning, assisting brides, birthday boys and other event planners in everything from tux rental to chair linens. The shop is also well-known for its philanthropic and community activity and its dedicated, award-winning staff.
Best Gift Shop in Wayne County
460 W. Canfield St., Detroit
City bird is the brainchild of Detroit’s brother-and-sister power duo, Emily and Andy Linn, who spent years marketing Detroit-themed odds and ends under the City Bird name before opening this physical store. Here you’ll find colorful soaps, plates and glasses emblazoned with a classic Detroit map (sans freeways, natch). It’s a great place to browse for that Detroit-centric gift, and there couldn’t be two cuter emissaries for our fair city than the Linns.
Best Gift Shop in Oakland County
171 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale
Boss lady Kelly Pettibone LaPointe, whose easy-breezy personality is reflected in her store’s eclectic offerings, came up with the name Naka for her store, which means “beautiful” in Shona, a language spoken in Zimbabwe, because her store is just that. Ms. LaPointe studied for a time in the former Rhodesia while in college. Clothing, jewelry, paper and knick-knacks that all make great, unique gifts are her bailiwick. Also, check out her line of Day-Twa items, only found at Naka. (Get it? Day-Twa? … le Détroit.)
Best Gift Shop in Macomb County
23024 Greater Mack, St. Clair Shores
Circare offers unique, handcrafted gifts with an emphasis on local artists. The staff is friendly and accommodating, so much so that more than one customer has expressed the sentiments that staffers act like they are your “personal shopper.” Eclectic, intricate and unique items give shoppers an opportunity to find gifts that really are one of a kind.
Best Gift Shop in Washtenaw County
122 W. Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti
The Rocket specializes in the childhood joys of candy and gag gifts, pairing a huge selection of bulk candy (including such retro favorites as root beer barrels and rock candy) with an assortment of humorous novelty gifts and toys. The themes of pirates, zombies, bacon and mustaches are in abundance, along with vintage and replica tin toys, metal lunchboxes and whimsical kitchen wares. Hey, why not try a unicorn mask or the world’s largest underwear on for size? Shopping is simple at the Rocket — just get your sugar high on and go haywire.
Best Antique Shop
Main Store: 23622 Woodward Ave., Pleasant Ridge 248-546-1555
Warehouse Sales: 3100 Hilton (side door), Ferndale 248-546-6144
“Holy time warp, Batman, it looks like Mad Men exploded in here!” If authenticity is the benchmark for worthy, then Vogue Vintage certainly earns its place as a Best Of pick. From high-end antiques to $2 kitchy crap, the selection of stuff is overwhelming and fun. Keep in mind there are two outlets for Vogue Vintage: the store on Woodward has the good stuff that they want to move and the warehouse in Ferndale, which is the holding tank for the entire gamut of good, bad and ugly. We have yet to hear someone who has gone into the place and not purchased at least one item. The prices are flexible but fair for this genre. The owners are not out to gouge, but they won’t be hoodwinked, either. Sweet-talking may help you score free delivery too.
Best Flea Market
Dixieland Flea Market
2045 Dixie Hwy., Waterford
More than 250 vendors populate Dixieland, a perpetual readers’ fave. A true hodgepodge of merchandise is available for wannabe pickers, including instruments, antiques, collectibles, retro memorabilia, western wear, comics, coins, household goods, clothes — the things you need, and, most likely, the things you don’t but can’t imagine living without. Dixieland is open Fridays through Sundays; check the website for a calendar of upcoming special events.
Best Pawn Shop for Buying
Best Pawn Shop for Selling
20450 Greenfield Rd., Detroit
For the unfamiliar, American Jewelry and Loan, which is nestled in an otherwise unsavory section of northwest Detroit, has the distinction of being a bona fide fan favorite beyond Detroit as the setting for TruTV’s Hardcore Pawn reality show. Run by the Gold family, American Jewelry has the most extensive cache of booty we’ve ever seen in a pawn store. Beyond just guns, gold and one man’s garbage-type trinkets, there are countless display cases with some pretty swanky items; electronics; furniture, and a million other things that have as interesting a history as they are bargain-priced. Don’t be put off by some of the clientele. Security abounds and, frankly, it’s a place you need to visit to appreciate.
Best Comic Book Shop in Wayne County
Green Brain Comics
13210 Michigan Ave., Dearborn
This family-owned shop is a perpetual readers’ pick thanks to its diverse selection of comics including mainstream titles and small-press offerings. And if it’s not in stock, the staff will gladly order it for you — just one example of the shining customer service comic nerds can expect at Green Brain. The store also holds monthly comic jams, creator signings and art exhibits; other perks include a weekly subscription service and a loyalty program rewarding fanboys and girls for their continuing patronage.
Best Comic Book Shop in Oakland County
23333 Woodward Ave., Ferndale
Comic book aficionados are a proprietary breed and can sniff out a hack like a bloodhound. Thankfully, the staff at Detroit Comics are the real deal. Knowledge about the seemingly most random aspects of comic lore make this establishment a fan fave. Plus, the clean retail space, good lighting and user-friendly layout gives Detroit Comics the serious presentation that a store dealing in art should have.
Best Comic Book Shop in Macomb County
32032 Utica Rd., Fraser; 586-296-2758
861 E. Auburn Rd., Rochester;
This veteran eastside shop has been supplying the funny book faithful for nearly 30 years. Comix Corner is truly all about the comics — no toys or action figures here — with an established following of devoted customers who praise the shop’s selection, great service and primo deals on rare, vintage and new books. The shop rewards these loyal shoppers with the Collectors’ Club, a monthly subscription service that offers members 25 percent off their must-have reads.
Best Comic Book Shop in Washtenaw County
Vault of Midnight
219 S. Main St., Ann Arbor
For more than 15 years, this downtown Ann Arbor shop has served as a one-stop shopping destination for geeks of all varieties. Not only does it carry a large selection of graphic novels and comics, from decades-old rarities to the latest mainstream titles and hard-to-find small-press issues, but it also stocks a vast supply of board games, vinyl toys, action figures and other assorted fun stuff. VoM hosts art exhibits, musical performances and other events, and is the only shop in the state that’s been awarded the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award, which honors one indie shop per year for supporting its community and the comic industry.
Best Indie Bookstore in Detroit
John K. King Used and Rare Books
901 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit
As the market for e-readers expands, a place such as John King’s becomes even more hallowed. But to be fair, King’s has always been rather singular — four floors of a former glove factory are filled with nearly one million books, quietly exuding the power and possibility of the written word into the still, spacious rooms. It’s the kind of soul you can’t find by staring at a screen, although King’s vast catalog of rare and collectible books can be searched using an online database.
Best Indie Bookstore in the Suburbs
26010 Greenfield Rd., Oak Park
Many of you may not remember what a bookstore looked like before mega retailers came on the scene. There were no Starbucks kiosks, kids play areas or rows of overstuffed couches for lounging. In fact, the overstuffing was generally just the sheer amount of books crammed into any and every spot available. Yet after years of attrition, a few worthy independent retailers are able to survive. Book Beat, located in the Lincoln Plaza shopping plaza, is the gem in our backyard. Piled high with books on every conceivable subject and organized in a way that only its employees understand (sometimes), this shop is a throwback to the days when a storeowner knew her customers. Its proprietor, the bookish-looking Colleen, has virtually memorized her inventory and has a card catalog-like ability to spit out suggestions based upon a browser’s request. The store’s staffers are quintessential bibliophiles who make you appreciate there are still those who love actual, printed books.
Best Indie Record Store in Wayne County
4100 Woodward Ave., Detroit
“Flat out the best record store in the world,” is the buzz that surrounds People’s Records. For vinyl fans, a sometimes persnickety lot, that is quite an endorsement. Already a well-established brand in the city, the recent move to Midtown, its second location, was earlier preceded by a fire at its former home in the Forest Arms. If there are any complaints, they are all based on a comparison between its former and current home. And, you have to take that grumble with a grain of salt because people hate change; which is evidenced by the number of people who still think vinyl is the best sound – ever!
Best Indie Record Store in Oakland County
UHF, Royal Oak
512 S. Washington Ave., Royal Oak
Although it hasn’t even been around for three years, UHF already ranks as one of the best record shops in metro Detroit (and not just ‘cause our readers say so). The store sells quality new and used vinyl, including pristine rarities and an ample local section. Dollar bins, used CDs and DVDs, hip merchandise and frequent in-store performances courtesy of local acts round out UHF’s irresistible cool.
Best Indie Record Store in Macomb County
36 New St., Mount Clemens
A relative newcomer, Weirdsville (or, as we like to call it, a euphemism for Macomb County) threw open its doors back in 2011. Owener Davey Taylor, who’s been a collector of the offbeat since childhood, at first was supplying his wife and best friend with merchadise for their business, which offered specialty items for use by production companies, etc. Then, according to Taylor’s website, his wife opened a used bookshop, Used on New Books & More … he’s the “& More.” With a substantive selection of vinyl, too, he’s clearly become a fan fave.
Best Indie Record Store in Washtenaw County
417 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor
Two summers ago, two employees purchased Encore from its longtime owner Peter Dale. Besides tweaking the name — Encore Recordings is now Encore Records — the new owners haven’t changed the place much, to the relief of music lovers everywhere. The shop still features floor-to-ceiling shelves chock-full of new and used vinyl and CDs, including rare gems and a large number of jazz and classical titles. The store’s large collection of music-related books, posters, handbills and other paper ephemera also remains intact.
Best Store for Musical Instruments
For locations, see guitarcenter.com
This frequent readers’ pick offers all the latest gear by the biggest names, as well as a mammoth used selection and online access to the rare and valuable guitars of vintage collections located in Nashville, New York and Hollywood. Shoppers can get merchandise for a steal thanks to clearances on already competitive prices. Expert and experienced staff, repair services, online shopping with free shipping, contests and other events just sweeten the deals.
Best Store for DJ Equipment
Pro Audio and Lighting
2400 E. 14 Mile Rd., Warren
No doubt that readers got this pick right. Pro Audio is too legit to quit. If you have the slightest inkling of starting a discotheque in your basement, this is where you’re gonna get your hook-ups. From strobes, globes, foggers and every conceivable thing you’ll need for your very own Carnegie Hall (except the endowment), Pro Audio has it. Seriously, this place is pretty wicked cool.
Best Skate Shop
Best Skate Park
Modern Skate Park
29862 Woodward Ave., Royal Oak;
1500 N. Stephenson Hwy., Royal Oak;
For more than 30 years, Modern has been providing metro Detroiters with everything they need to skate or board by land or by sea. They’ve got all the essentials, from skates and skateboards to snowboards and wakeboards, plus all the clothing, accessories and protective gear needed to complete the getup. Along with its retail locations, Modern also boasts a skate park at its Stephenson Highway location, which features walk-in clinics, private lessons, inline skate sessions and bike sessions. Become a member to receive discounted rates at the park, and sign up for the newsletter to stay hip to upcoming events.
Best Bicycle Shop in Detroit
3611 Cass Ave., Detroit
An annual Best Of winner, this Cass Corridor shop sells refurbished bikes and provides repair services on the cheap in order to promote its three-pronged mission: youth development, sustainable practices and community access. To that end, the Hub and the nonprofit arm that it supports, Back Alley Bikes, offers youth and adult mechanics classes, volunteer opportunities, a youth Earn-A-Bike program and community rides. The shop also works with other local bike projects to recycle old bikes and bike parts — be on the lookout for their bike racks crafted from retired bike frames at spots around Detroit. Check the website for weekly updates regarding classes, youth programs and other community news.
Best Bicycle Shop in the Suburbs
Downtown Ferndale Bike Shop
163 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale
For bicycle enthusiasts, and not just the ones who have a mountain bike for its wow factor, but those who know when to use 27 different gears, Jon Hughes’ Downtown Ferndale Bike Shop is the Troy Motor Mall of bikes. Brands carried include GT Cali, Jamis FLA, Torker Cycles, Redline, Nirve Cruisers and Sun Cycles. None is your mama’s Schwinn! But, before you think it may be too much for the novice, the expertise Hughes and his staff offer clients is as much for the weekend warrior as the next off-road wunderkind.
Best Place for Audio Gear
Locations vary; bestbuy.com
With its distinctive acute-angled frontage and those Royal blue polos, Best Buy has spent big money establishing its brand. After years spent expanding its presence, and finally winning the turf war with now-deceased competitor Circuit City, the encroachment of online retailing may be the only thing that could topple this electronic giant. Great selection and always well stocked, Best Buy has the largest selection of mainstream audio equipment all under one roof.
Best Place for Car Audio Gear
Various locations; cartunesstereo.com
Detroit’s “car stereo and mobile entertainment experts,” is how Car Tunes positions itself and, happily, the readers agreed. Because we are the Motor City, among the countless advantages is Car Tunes’ ability to directly communicate with those Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers who make the audio and video equipment, thus ensuring its products will integrate without complication. Keeping up with an evolving industry. Car Tunes’ technicians pride themselves on a combonation of exceptional work, and stellar customer service.
Best Place to Buy a Car
My, how times are a changin … We are in Detroit, right? Readers, you have spoken and proclaimed Craigslist.org the best place to buy a car. Pardon us for a moment: HELLO, LOCAL DEALERSHIPS … time to WAKE UP! Mind you, we see the appeal: no slimy car salesmen; dynamic search capabilities; and direct buyer-seller communication. While the traditional dealer network structure likely has little to fear, this should certainly be a wake-up call to them.
Best Indie Hardware Store in Detroit
Busy Bee Hardware
1401 Gratiot Ave., Detroit;
6432 Woodward Ave., Detroit;
Since 1918, Busy Bee has been the go-to hardware shop for Detroiters and Saturday morning Eastern Market shoppers. And New Center’s small but densely packed Detroit Hardware even offers the convenience of a few parking spots in the back.
Best Indie Hardware Store in the Suburbs
Frentz and Sons
1010 N. Main St., Royal Oak
This repeat winner also nails the old-school charm of the hardware stores of yore, retaining the same friendly service and down-to-earth know-how that the store was founded with in 1925. Now run by the third generation of the Frentz family, the shop offers all the basic hardware store stock along with an extensive supply of difficult-to-find parts. Frentz’s specialties include lock re-keying, window and screen repair, cutting pipe and most importantly, the expertise to help customers accomplish the oddest of odd jobs. And if they can’t help you get the project done, the three Frentz brothers will make sure to send you to the place that can.
Best Place to Buy a Mattress
Find locations at artvan.com
Art Van Furniture caters to your mattress needs, whether you’re looking for a custom-made adjustable bed or a different comfort level made especially for your finicky partner’s side of the bed. They offer name brands at great prices, and they’ll ship the mattress out to you the next day for free so you won’t have to wait long to finally get a good night’s sleep.
Best Indie Grocery Store in Wayne County
Honey Bee I La Colemena
2443 Bagley Ave., Detroit; 313-237-0295; honeybeemkt.com
This southwest Detroit market keeps Detroiters happily stuffed with its wide selection of fresh produce, quality meats, hot prepared foods and plentifully stocked shelves. It has all the basics of good grocers down pat — clean, bright, well-organized — but comes in heads and shoulders above the rest thanks to its large selection of Latin American specialty products and its own in-house edibles. We dare you not to fall in love with Honey Bee’s salsa, pico, chips and guac — which ranks as the best in town, in our humble opinion.
Best Indie Grocery Store,
Best Beer Selection in a Store, Best Wine Selection in a Store in Oakland County
1203 S. Main St., Royal Oak
Holiday has hit the trifecta! The folks at Holiday Market have expanded from the snug neighborhood butcher shop they opened in the 1950s to the 60,000-square-foot market we know today, but the same foundation of quality and service remain. Clean, helpful and, whether by magic or otherwise, there is hardly ever a long wait at checkout. An amazing seafood department, a gourmet pastry and bakery shop, as well as a world-class cooking and catering facility on the second floor makes even the snootiest shopper stop and stare. Of course, some items are a wee bit pricier than some chain stores, but by and large Holiday remains competitive. As well, even if you’re a seasoned beer-lover or just looking to upgrade your taste in brews, you’ll enjoy looking through Holiday Market’s selection of imported, domestic and microbrews ⎯ many of which are available in both bottle and keg. They have a fantastic liquor selection as well as a tremendous offering of fine and moderately priced wines. As wine is a tricky thing to discuss with authority, the staff is well trained on the subject, thus lending some credence to their sugestions.
Best Indie Grocery Store in Macomb County
27900 Harper Ave., St. Clair Shores; 586-778-3650; see ninosalvaggio.comfor more locations
Nino Salvaggio’s roots as a fruit and vegetable market shine through in the delectable produce on display, but this gourmet grocery now offers so much more than just apples and tomatoes. Hundreds of cheeses, more than 1,600 Michigan-made products, a vast array of organic goods, an extensive wine selection, hard-to-find craft beers, fresh lobster, hundreds of gluten-free foods and gourmet meals prepared in-store are all available at the market’s multiple locations. It also offers gift baskets, party planning services and online recipes and cooking guides.
Best Indie Grocery Store in Washtenaw County
People’s Food Co-op
216 N. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor
In a city like Ann Arbor, you would expect nothing less than a convergence of good, locally grown organic food and the collective social conscience. People’s Food Co-op, naturally (pun alert), fits the bill. Founded more than 40 years ago, the evolution of an idea for collective growing and trading has become the county’s most popular indie grocery store, with an abundance of locally grown produce and other food items. While you may have to seek out a different venue for the Coco Puffs, anything from God’s unadulterated line of products that can be grown locally and is in season will be at your fingertips.
Best Indie Health Food Store
Natural Food Patch
221 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-546-5908; naturalfoodpatch.com
According to Natural Food Patch of Ferndale owner Joel Fisher, being healthy isn’t just for the wealthy. Natural Food Patch gets fresh organic produce every other day — it’s the same organic fare you see at larger chains like Whole Foods, but without the fancy displays and hefty price tags. Their knowledgeable staff will help you find the perfect vitamins and supplements for your particular needs and sell them to you at a fraction of the price of other, fancy vitamin shops. Our readers love that this friendly, one-stop shop carries health and beauty aids, dog food and frozen treats like soy and rice ice cream alongside its produce and vitamins.
Best Farmers' Market in Wayne County
Between Russell and Riopelle streets, and Gratiot and Mack avenues, Detroit; 313-833-9300; detroiteasternmarket.com; open Tuesdays and Saturdays
The 172-year-old market has been at its present location since 1891 — smack in the middle of a bustling 43-acre area that’s home to wholesalers, retailers and the prominent sales sheds. Re-energized by the Eastern Market Corporation, established in 2007, the market has seen significant renovations and improvements. As the corporation’s head Dan Carmody points out, the market is a unique survivor: “It’s the last of a kind of local food district that every city had that was significantly built before 1950.”
Best Farmers' Market in Oakland County
316 E. 11 Mile Rd., Royal Oak; 248-246-3276; ci.royal-oak.mi.us; open Fridays May through Christmas, Saturdays year-round
The Royal Oak Farmer’s Market has existed since the 1920s, but with rising interest in farm-fresh food, the market has only grown in importance and popularity in recent years. The enclosed building, ample parking and Sunday flea markets don’t hurt either.
Best Farmers' Market in Macomb County
Warren Farmers’ Market
City Square, Warren
It’s hard to ever go wrong with a visit to any farmers’ market, but some are better than others. In this case, Macomb County voters got it right with the selection of Warren Farmers’ Market as the county’s best. Just the right size, with a suitable number of vendors, many of whom have grown or created their offerings, it’s time well spent.
Best Farmers' Market in Washtenaw County
315 Detroit, St., Ann Arbor; 734-794-6255; a2gov.org/market; open 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday, May-December; 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays, January-April; open 4-8 p.m. Wednesdays June-October; no dogs allowed
Kerrytown’s Farmer’s Market is loaded with fresh and voluptuous fruits and veggies, but also delicious sweet treats, such as sweet potato pecan pies or creations from Ann Arbor-based baker Miette. The market serves at the moment as a base for more than 100 producers of fine foods.
Best Beer Selection in a Store in Wayne County
Merchant’s Fine Wine
22250 Michigan Ave., Dearborn;
Founded in 1994, Merchant’s Fine Wine is the place to go for all your fermented needs. They boast an impressive selection of beer; just ask Merchant’s Certified Cicerone for advice on selecting, acquiring, storing and serving today’s wide range of beers. Once you’ve selected the perfect beer, have the gracious and informed staff suggest a dynamic cheese or rich chocolate from their gourmet foods section to pair it with — you won’t be disappointed.
Best Beer Selection in a Store, Best Wine Selection in a Store in Macomb County
Champane’s Wine Cellars
7007 Chicago Rd., Warren
Champane’s describes its knowledgeable staff as “partly clairvoyant,” able to discern what a shopper desires with just a few efficient questions. It’s a trait no doubt appreciated by customers overwhelmed by the store’s massive selection of Michigan-made brews and little-known craft beers. For the lover of grapes, the countless offerings will help complement any meal, or ensure the cocktail hour is well thought of. And that’s not even mentioning the huge liquor selection, competitive prices, rotating specials and frequent beer tastings.
Best Beer Selection in a Store in Washtenaw County
114 E. William St., Ann Arbor
The Beer Depot is a beer geek’s paradise, featuring more than 750 kinds of the frothy beverage. Whether you prefer stouts, lagers, IPAs or just want to search out new and unusual brews, the Depot is bound to have something that will satisfy your thirst. In business since 1941, the store also sells more than 750 wines and home brewing supplies. The perpetually sober crowd should stop by to check out the store’s historic building, which was built in 1875 as a private residence.
Best Wine Selection in a Store in Wayne County
Merchants Fine Wine
22250 Michigan Ave., Dearborn
“The most amazing selection of booze I’ve seen in Michigan to date …”; and the survey says: ding, ding, ding! (Cue, Richard Dawson.) There are a few things people take very seriously, and the quality of the liquor store they frequent is one of them. There is no doubt that of all the outlets to purchase beer, wine and spirits in the expanse of Wayne County, Merchants is, as the French say, the crème de la crème.
Best Wine Selection in a Store in Washtenaw County
A & L Wine Castle
2424 W. Stadium Blvd., Ann Arbor
What would a college town be without a stellar liquor shop? (Probably a school in Indiana!) A & L Wine Castle, with its distinctive medieval construction, is home to the wine selection Lord of Washtenaw County. A dizzying array of imported and domestic varieties of wine make it the favorite of both the serfs and landed gentry. Instead of our puffery, we’ll let one patron sum it up: “I went to A&L and not only did they have [the requested selection], it was one of those situations where it was right there on the shelf, and the guy went and got it for me straight-away as if to say ‘Of course, we have it. We’re A&L.’”
Best Tobacco Smoke Shop
24545 W. 12 Mile Rd., Southfield;
6635 Orchard Lake Rd.,
As Churchill’s demonstrates, not all smoke shops are created equal. Of course, grabbing a pack of smokes or a flavored cigarillo (for what, we won’t speculate) can be achieved at your corner gas station, but for an extensive selection of imported tobacco and cigars, Churchill’s is your destination headquarters. The selection of European, Canadian and domestic cigarette brands is unbeatable; and the cigar selection is the most extensive in Detroit. It is also one of the few places you can actually light up without getting a dirty look.
Best Head Shop
B.D.T. Smoke Shop
21640 John R Rd., Hazel Park; 248-542-6110; for more locations, see buzzbdt.com
Another perennial winner, B.D.T. has served metro Detroit’s discerning smokers and tokers since 1973. The shop’s staying power, with four locations to meet your inhaling needs, speaks not just to the power of pot, but also to the potency of B.D.T. itself. The seasoned and friendly staff will help you navigate the dizzying selection of pipes, bowls, vaporizers, papers, grinders and other accessories, including high-quality items and locally made goods.
Best Grow Shop
The Cultivation Station
2518 Market St., Detroit
313-394-0441; more locations at
Cultivation Station provides a variety of indoor and outdoor gardening supplies perfectly suited for whatever strain of green you’re cultivating. The staff is more than willing to bring its expertise to bear on helping both green-thumbed gardeners and growing amateurs set up their very own custom hydro system. The staff will recommend everything from the best techniques and the correct lights to the proper growing accessories and the best nutrients and supplements — everything to ensure that your harvest is top-notch.
615 Griswold St., Ste. 719, Detroit
Principal of his eponymous law firm, Dezsi is a former associate of Detroit heavyweight Geoffrey Fieger, and is best known for his criminal defense work. His website does list several other areas of practice, including: Appeals, litigation, civil rights, personal injury, employment discrimination, Qui Tam and more. In addition to passing the Michigan state bar exam, Dezsi has been admitted to the bars of New Mexico and California; he is also admitted to practice in the U.S. Court of Appeals’ 5th-10th circuits.
Best New Indie Store
4240 Cass Ave., Detroit
If Don Draper lived in Detroit, we’re guessing he’d shop at Hugh. Filled with items that reflect the classic, masculine style of the mid-century bachelor pad. They sell the glasses you need for your swanky martini. The place even smells manly, like aftershave and cocoa.
Best Michigan-Made Product
In the ongoing knockdown, drag-out fight between Michigan monoliths Better Made and Faygo, the potato chip takes the crown this year. A local snack staple since 1930, any party store, grocery store, bar, gas station, barbecue or picnic worth its salt (pun intended) must feature this iconic Michigan brand. Whether you prefer kettle-cooked, barbecue, sour cream and vinegar or the classic original, Better Made is pure potato chip perfection.
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