At the heart of Eastern Market is a six-block public market that has been feeding Detroit since 1891. Every Saturday Eastern Market, the largest historic market district in the country, draws thousands of Metro Detroiters and is transformed into a vibrant marketplace with hundreds of open-air stalls where everyone from toddlers to tycoons enjoy the strong conviviality served up along with great selections of fruits, veggies, fresh-cut flowers, homemade jams, maple syrups, locally produced specialty food products, pasture and/or grass-fed meat and even an occasional goose or rabbit. During the summer the market is also open to the public on Tuesdays.
All week long, Eastern Market remains a vibrant neighborhood that holds great restaurants, bars, shops and a burgeoning foodie community. It’s a walkable urban center close to Downtown, Midtown, Wayne State University, the Riverwalk and all hubs of cultural centers within them.
Shopping at Eastern Market
Eastern Market has the shops that meet your day-to-day staple needs. Look for the bi-weekly markets, neighborhood grocers, a hardware store, and more. The gourmet and exotic are also to be found here. Stop by R. Hirt Jr.’s for specialty cheeses, or one of the wine shops a few doors down to pick up a bottle.
Emerging food entrepreneurs are beginning to settle down in this district. For a taste of this, you can find some of the best pizza Detroit has to offer at Supino’s Pizzeria. A few blocks over is Detroit’s oldest Italian restaurant, Roma Cafe. Everything from Ethiopian to Thai to Soul to Creole food is within walking distance.
If you’re a soup person, there’s nothing like the Russell Street Deli. People come for miles just for the soup. There are only 60 seats, yet it sells 180 gallons of soup a week in winter and 140 a week in summer, says co-owner and chief soup-maker Ben Hall.
Even outside of food, Eastern Market offers one of a kind shopping. Antique stores line the street behind the sheds, but you can also find clothing boutiques, art and craft shops, a garden supply store, and the locally famous Rocky Peanut Company.
Then there’s Savvy Chic. Owner Karen Brown says her shop is “a little of everything.” She stocks housewares, furniture, clothing, jewelry, greeting cards and art … some new, some vintage but mostly all French. The brown stocks preserves, cookies and sauces are all French imports as are the tablecloths from Provence and glassware and dishes from France. Replicas of the Eiffel Tower are big sellers. It’s right on Riopelle Street (pretty French, huh?) at Division, separated from vendor Shed 4 by a parking deck.
Recent Developments and Sustainability
Shed 3 was renovated for use as a year‐round shed for transient vendors in 2009. Its concrete floors are heated too improve winter use and there is more glass to increase natural lighting. The historical character of the building has been restored and restrooms added inside the shed.
Eastern Market is committed to increasing the supply of healthy foods available in Detroit without duplicating nearby food retail and yet is compelling enough to draw from a wide geographic area like the Saturday Market, which attracts both city and suburban customers. To meet that goal it focuses on food made on site to differentiate the Market Hall and build a job intense facility that honors the market’s authentic character.
The Dequindre Cut Greenway
The Dequindre cut is a re-imagined and re-built Grand Trunk railroad line that is now a pedestrian path that extends over a mile. It connects Detroit’s RiverWalk to the Market through several neighborhoods and parks in between. The greenway looks the way it sounds: the sides are brimming with local plant life, not to mention the work of local street artists.
The Saturday market is one of the best venues in Detroit to see local talent … and for free! Busking street performers gather around the sheds on the weekends, playing music, singing, acting, posing as statues and more. Another informal gallery on Gratiot has a constantly rotating face of art exhibits. If you want more of a song and dance, the Downtown Theater District is close by. If you’re more into tech inventions, a Hackerspace called Omnicorps just opened. The Market is also just a skip away from Comerica Park and Ford Field. It’s no coincidence you’ll find sports enthusiasts tailgating in the Market’s parking lot before games.