Rose’s Fine Food is probably the most popular new restaurant in Detroit. It has been covered by all the local media outlets at least once. It’s so popular that when it opened it had more customers than food and needed to close early. An impressive feat I’d say. Steve’s personal recommendation boosted it on my to-do list and we went for a weekend lunch. I would describe Rose’s as a vintage, gourmet diner with a parking lot (I really can’t overstate how much I appreciate free, accessible parking). When I say vintage I mean 30s/40s, not roller-skates and poodle skirts. It’s subtle but appreciated nostalgia that provides a unique and welcoming atmosphere. As previously noted, Rose’s welcomes a lot of people. Our wait wasn’t long but the diner always boasted a few people on the bench waiting for a table. I couldn’t help but observe the diverse clientele – friends, couples, families of all economic and ethnic backgrounds. From hipsters to yuppies to long time residents Rose’s has it all and I think that’s an impressive accomplishment. Too often places get caught in a niche, attracting a homogeneous group of people but this diner seems different.
Everyone is talking about Rose’s because the food really is fantastic. We started with breakfast – a homemade raspberry glazed donuts. It tastes as delicious as it sounds. Our main dish was a sandwich each. In this case I suffered some food envy. I wanted something light and ordered the fish sandwich. It was good but a bit underwhelming compared to the meatball sandwich Danny ordered. This Lucy’s Lamb Meatball Sandwich was amazing. We will be going back for this item in particular. I love lamb but the flavor can often be lost, especially when covered in tomato sauce but that was not the case. The sandwich retained the gameness I can’t help but love and provided such a generous helping that I was able to entice Danny to share more than a couple bites. So yes, the Eastside won me over again. Next time I also want to try a specialty drink: lavender lemon soda, old fashioned egg cream, blackstrap molasses milk. As a cautious eater these things could be hit or miss but I am very curious.
Another reason Rose’s Fine Food attracted media attention was the no-tipping policy. The owner’s original concept was to pay employees a livable wage and forego tipping. It seemed like a win-win scenerio; however, customers didn’t feel comfortable not leaving a tip. Consequently, the restaurant now accepts tips and the employees split them at the end of the week. A share of the collected tips go to an agreed upon charity each month. For September they intend to find a charity that helps families pay their water bills in light of the water shut-off crisis in the city.