If I had to identify the reason for Detroit’s resurgence, I would without hesitation name Slows BBQ. The anchor of Corktown is in my mind the catalyst for New Detroit and the starting point for what we see today. I don’t want to diminish the work of others who were in the city prior to 2005; however, Slows was able to do something only major league sports and the Thanksgiving Day Parade could effectively accomplish – it brought people from the suburbs to the city in droves.
Even today there is a sizable number of metro Detroiters who will not go to the city and if they do they are unwavering in their fear of being robbed and/or murdered. Ten years ago – that was most people. Not only did Slows give people a reason to come downtown, they waited in line for hours to eat there! This is all the more impressive because until a couple years ago there were no alternative restaurants (or a parking lot).
Notwithstanding a growing number of alternatives, Slows continues to be a Detroit must. The dining room was expanded a couple years ago but there is inevitably a wait. Luckily, guests can now enjoy The Sugar House, Two James, Our/Detroit or the staple watering hole, LJ’s, for a walkable pre-dinner drink.
Admittedly, I haven’t been to the original Slows in a while. Instead, we frequent Slows To Go. The quicker food joint is located in Midtown, a couple blocks away from Danny’s work (you can probably guess who frequents it most). The menu is slightly different, my catfish favorite isn’t on the menu, but there is still plenty to choose from. We generally get a sandwich and our most recent stop was motivated by my craving for a beef and cheddar sandwich – to my extreme disappointment it was no longer on the menu! Instead we got literally a little of everything else (i.e. brisket, sausage and pork).
The other perk of Slows To Go is that there is almost always seating available whether it’s inside or out. I always prefer the picnic tables but Danny couldn’t take the heat.
If you’ve never been to Slows you have to check it out. I’d recommend the original for the experience but make sure you have a quality dinner companion you can’t wait to talk with. My other piece of advice is to order the Apple BBQ. There are many options but none of them ever top the Apple.