Best of Detroit 2020

You voted. We counted. Now, here are the winners of this year’s Best of Detroit readers poll.

best of detroit 2020

A few notes about this year’s process: Voting took place before the state’s Stay Home, Stay Safe initiative was put in place. Many of the winners are operating at limited capacity for now. Please check with them before visiting. Also, voter comments revealed a ton of passion for businesses that didn’t quite take the top spot. With that in mind, we’ve added second- and third-place winners to this year’s list. Congratulations to this year’s Best of Detroit!


Food

All-night eatery

1st O.W.L., Royal Oak

owlwoodward.com

2nd Lafayette Coney Island, Detroit

facebook.com/lafayette-coney-island-143071722397988

3rd National Coney Island, multiple locations

nationalconeyisland.com

Bagel shop

1st New York Bagel, multiple locations

newyorkbagel-detroit.com

2nd Detroit Institute of Bagels, Detroit

detroitinstituteofbagels.com

3rd Elaine’s Bagels, multiple locations

Barbecue restaurant

1st Slows Bar BQ, Detroit

slowsbarbq.com

2nd Bad Brads BBQ, multiple locations

badbradsbbq.com

3rd Woodpile BBQ Shack, Madison Heights, Clawson

woodpilebbqshack.com

Best restaurant

1st San Morello, Detroit

sanmorello.com

2nd Prime + Proper, Detroit

primeandproperdetroit.com

3rd SheWolf Pastificio & Bar, Detroit

shewolfdetroit.com

Restaurant for breakfast

1st Dime Store, Detroit

eatdimestore.com

2nd The Jagged Fork, multiple locations

thejaggedfork.com

3rd Rose’s Fine Food, Detroit

rosesfinefood.com

Restaurant for brunch

1st Rochester Brunch House, Rochester

rochesterbrunchhouse.com

2nd Dime Store, Detroit

eatdimestore.com

3rd Toast, Birmingham, Ferndale

eatattoast.com

Burger spot

1st Redcoat Tavern, Royal Oak

facebook.com/redcoattavern

2nd Mercury Burger Bar, Detroit

mercuryburgerbar.com

3rd Frita Batidos, Ann Arbor, Detroit

fritabatidos.com

Cheap eats

1st Green Dot Stables, Detroit, Lansing

greendotstables.com

2nd Leo’s Coney Island, multiple locations

leosconeyisland.com

3rd Lafayette Coney Island, Detroit

facebook.com/lafayette-coney-island-143071722397988

Chef

1st Angelo Loria, Vince & Joe’s Gourmet Market, Shelby Twp., Clinton Twp.

vinceandjoes.com

2nd James Rigato, Mabel Gray, Hazel Park; The Root Restaurant & Bar, White Lake

mabelgraykitchen.com

3rd Kate Williams, Lady of the House, Detroit

ladyofthehousedetroit.com

Chinese restaurant

1st The Peterboro, Detroit

thepeterboro.com

2nd Shangri-La, Detroit

midtownshangri-la.com

3rd Mon Jin Lau, Troy

monjinlau.com

Coffee shop

1st Espresso Elevado, Plymouth

espressoelevado.com

2nd Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Co., multiple locations

greatlakescoffee.com

3rd Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters, multiple locations

docr.coffee

Coney Island

1st Leo’s Coney Island, multiple locations

leosconeyisland.com

2nd Lafayette Coney Island, Detroit

facebook.com/lafayette-coney-island-143071722397988

3rd National Coney Island, multiple locations

nationalconeyisland.com

Deli

1st Vince & Joe’s Gourment Market, Shelby Twp., Clinton Twp.

vinceandjoes.com

2nd Steve’s Deli, Bloomfield Hills

stevesdeli.com

3rd (tied) Stage Deli, West Bloomfield

thestagedeli.com

3rd (tied) Mudgie’s Deli & Bar, Detroit

mudgiesdeli.com

Dessert

1st For the Love of Sugar, Detroit

fortheloveofsugar.com

2nd Vince & Joe’s Gourmet Market, Shelby Twp., Clinton Twp.

vinceandjoes.com

3rd Astoria Pastry Shop, Detroit, Royal Oak

astoriapastryshop.com

Diner

1st Karl’s, Detroit

karlsdetroit.com

2nd O.W.L., Royal Oak

owlwoodward.com

3rd Whistle Stop Diner, Birmingham, Pleasant Ridge

whistlestopdiners.com

Donut shop

1st Donut Bar, Southfield, Troy

donutbardetroit.com

2nd Dutch Girl Donuts, Detroit

facebook.com/dutch-girl-donuts-180655755313096

3rd Donut Cutter, Berkley

facebook.com/donutcutter1

Fast/casual restaurant

1st Frita Batidos, Ann Arbor, Detroit

fritabatidos.com

2nd Poke Poke, multiple locations

eatpokepoke.com

3rd Penny Red’s, Detroit

pennyreds.com

Food truck

1st Nosh Pit Detroit, Detroit

noshpitdetroit.com

2nd Jack’s Roadside BBQ, Clarkston

jacksroadsidebbq.com

3rd Detroit 75 Kitchen, Detroit

detroit75kitchen.com

Restaurant for french fries

1st HopCat, multiple locations

hopcat.com

2nd Townhouse, Birmingham, Detroit

eatattownhouse.com

3rd Frita Batidos,Ann Arbor, Detroit

fritabatidos.com

Greek restaurant

1st Pegasus Taverna, Detroit

pegasustavernas.com

2nd The Greek Islands Coney, multiple locations

greekislandsconey.com

3rd Kouzina, Ann Arbor, Royal Oak

gokouzina.com

Ice cream/gelato shop

1st Ray’s Ice Cream, Royal Oak

raysicecream.com

2nd Dolce Gelato at Vince & Joe’s Gourmet Market, Shelby Twp., Clinton Twp.

vinceandjoes.com

3rd The Custard Hut, Dearborn Heights, Detroit

facebook.com/thecustardhut

Indian restaurant

1st Rangoli Indian Cuisine, Auburn Hills

detroitrangoli.com

2nd Priya Indian Restaurant, Troy

priyacuisine.com

3rd Cardamom, Ann Arbor

cardamoma2.com

Italian restaurant

1st Da Francesco’s, Shelby Twp.

dafrancescos.com

2nd (tied) Andiamo, multiple locations

andiamoitalia.com

2nd (tied) SheWolf Pastificio & Bar, Detroit

shewolfdetroit.com

3rd Antonio’s Cucina Italiana, multiple locations

antoniosrestaurant.com

Kid-friendly restaurant

1st (tied) Leo’s Coney Island, multiple locations

leosconeyisland.com

1st (tied) Buddy’s Pizza, multiple locations

buddyspizza.com

2nd (tied) Jolly Pumpkin Brewery and Cafe, multiple locations

jollypumpkin.com

2nd (tied) Crispelli’s Bakery and Pizzeria,
multiple locations

crispellis.com

3rd (tied) Bigalora, multiple locations

bigalora.com

3rd (tied) Rebecca’s Restaurant, Northville

rebeccasnorthville.com

Mexican restaurant

1st El Charro, multiple locations

elcharrousa.com

2nd Mexican Village Restaurant, Detroit, Utica

mexicanvillagefood.com

3rd Barrio Cocina y Tequileria, Plymouth

barrioplymouth.com

Middle Eastern/Mediterranean restaurant

1st La Saj Lebanese Bistro, Troy, Sterling Heights

lasaj.com

2nd Phoenicia, Birmingham

phoeniciabirmingham.com

3rd La Marsa Mediterranean Cuisine, multiple locations

lamarsacuisine.com

Restaurant for pho

1st Pho Lucky, multiple locations

pholucky.net

2nd Ima, multiple locations

imanoodles.com

3rd Que Huong Restaurant, Madison Heights

quehuongdetroit.net

Pizza place

1st Buddy’s Pizza, multiple locations

buddyspizza.com

2nd Jet’s Pizza, multiple locations

jetspizza.com

3rd (tied) Green Lantern Pizza, multiple locations

greenlanternpizza.com

3rd (tied) Supino’s Pizzeria, Detroit

supinopizzeria.com

Place to take a client

1st San Morello, Detroit

sanmorello.com

2nd Prime + Proper, Detroit

primeandproperdetroit.com

3rd London Chop House, Detroit

thelondonchophouse.com

Polish restaurant

1st Polish Village Café, Hamtramck

polishvillagecafe.us

2nd Polka Restaurant & Beer Cafe, Troy

gopolka.com

3rd Polonia Restaurant, Hamtramck

polonia-restaurant.net

Pop-up restaurant

1st Street Beet, Detroit

streetbeetdetroit.com

2nd Frame, Hazel Park

framehazelpark.com

3rd Revolver, Hamtramck

revolverhamtramck.com

Restaurant with a view

1st Highlands, Detroit

highlandsdetroit.com

2nd Joe Muer Seafood, Detroit, Bloomfield Hills

joemuer.com

3rd Iridescence, Detroit

motorcitycasino.com

Romantic dining

1st Prime + Proper, Detroit

primeandproperdetroit.com

2nd The Whitney, Detroit

thewhitney.com

3rd San Morello, Detroit

sanmorello.com

Sandwich shop

1st Mudgie’s Deli & Bar, Detroit

mudgiesdeli.com

2nd Ernie’s Market, Oak Park

erniessandwichshop.com

3rd Rocco’s Italian Deli, Detroit

roccosdetroit.com

Seafood restaurant

1st Joe Muer Seafood, Detroit, Bloomfield Hills

joemuer.com

2nd Voyager, Ferndale

voyagerferndale.com

3rd Streetside Seafood, Birmingham

streetsideseafood.com

Soul food restaurant

1st Detroit Vegan Soul, Detroit

detroitvegansoul.com

2nd Beans & Cornbread, Southfield

beanscornbread.com

3rd SavannahBlue, Detroit

savannahbluedetroit.com

Special-occasion restaurant

1st Prime + Proper, Detroit

primeandproperdetroit.com

2nd San Morello, Detroit

sanmorello.com

3rd The Whitney, Detroit

thewhitney.com

Steakhouse

1st Prime + Proper, Detroit

primeandproperdetroit.com

2nd London Chop House, Detroit

thelondonchophouse.com

3rd Clawson Steak House, Clawson

clawsonsteakhouse.com

Sushi restaurant

1st Noble Fish, Clawson

noblefish.com

2nd Ronin Sushi, Royal Oak

roninsushi.com

3rd Maru Sushi, Detroit

marusushi.com

Taco spot

1st Imperial, Ferndale

imperialferndale.com

2nd Taqueria El Rey, Detroit

taqueria-elrey.com

3rd (tied) Hot Taco, Detroit

hottacodetroit.com

3rd (tied) El Charro, multiple locations

elcharrousa.com

Thai restaurant

1st Khom Fai: Thai Dining Experience, Macomb

facebook.com/pg/khomfai

2nd Bangkok 96 Restaurant, Dearborn

bangkok96.com

3rd Sy Thai, Troy

sythaitroy.com

Vegan/vegetarian restaurant

1st Inn Season Cafe, Royal Oak

theinnseasoncafe.com

2nd Seva, Detroit, Ann Arbor

sevarestaurant.com

3rd Street Beet, Detroit

streetbeetdetroit.com


Meeting the Need 

Gleaners Community Food Bank has responded decisively in a time of crisis

// By Rachael Thomas 

best of detroit 2020 gleaners
Helping hands: Gleaners School Food Mobile workers prepare food for distribution to students and families in need. // Photograph by Nick Hagen

Gleaners Community Food Bank has been putting food on the tables of those in need for more than 40 years. It’s not surprising, then, that the Best of Detroit-winning organization saw a potential food-insecurity crisis coming with the emergence of COVID-19 and sprang into action.

Since mid-March, Gleaners has set up 66 drive-up distribution sites throughout southeast Michigan, modeled after its 90-plus existing School Food Mobile sites, says Stacy Averill, senior director of community giving and public relations. Those monthly distributions provide up to 30 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and other nutritious foods to students and families in need at schools in Livingston, Oakland, Wayne, Monroe, and Macomb counties.

As of late April, the 66 new distribution sites had provided 2 million pounds of food to more than 43,000 households, Averill says. That’s on top of the 3 to 4 million pounds of food Gleaners regularly gives out each month. The food bank intends to continue its additional distributions throughout the summer, when, with children out of school, the need for food is typically heightened.

Gleaners has also been encouraging organizations to replace actual food drives with virtual drives to help fund its efforts. Detroit Lions running backs coach Kyle Caskey is among those who have organized virtual drives. He raised nearly $25,000, Averill says, surpassing his $20,000 goal. Donors can also contribute directly through Gleaners’ website and attribute their gifts to the organization of their choice. Every dollar donated pays for three meals.

Other efforts include the Powered by Food Initiative, which was supported by a $150,000 match incentive from PNC Bank and other donors. Proceeds will help feed children in need who are not now in school, and their families.

Gleaners has also ramped up efforts to help seniors in need. Its quarantine boxes, with enough food for 22 meals, are being made and distributed with help from the Food Bank Council of Michigan, Detroit Area Agency on Aging, and volunteers from the Michigan National Guard. As of late April, Gleaners was producing 5,000 boxes weekly.

“Our team is truly amazing for the work they’ve been able to do in this short period of time,” Averill says. “We’ve been able to do it because of the collaboration from not only our partners in the community but also the donors who’ve come to the table, our fellow advocates for food banking.”


Drinks

Bartender

1st Chas Williams, Evening Bar, Detroit

eveningbar.com

2nd Rob Daleski, La Lanterna, Detroit

daedoardo.net

3rd Pam Allard, Liberty Bar, Pontiac

thelibertybar.com

Beer selection

1st HopCat, multiple locations

hopcat.com

2nd Brown Iron Brewhouse, Washington

browniron.com

3rd Brakeman, Detroit

thebrakemandetroit.com

Brewery

1st Griffin Claw Brewing Co., Birmingham

griffinclawbrewingcompany.com

2nd Batch Brewing Co., Detroit

batchbrewingcompany.com

3rd Atwater Brewery, Detroit

atwaterbeer.com

Cocktail bar

1st The Sugar House, Detroit

sugarhousedetroit.com

2nd The Oakland Art Novelty Co., Ferndale

theoaklandferndale.com

3rd Evening Bar, Detroit

eveningbar.com

Distillery

1st Two James Spirits, Detroit

twojames.com

2nd Valentine’s Distilling Co., Ferndale

valentinedistilling.com

3rd Motor City Gas, Royal Oak

motorcitygas.com

Dive bar

1st The Old Miami, Detroit

oldmiami.business.site

2nd Gusoline Alley, Royal Oak

facebook.com/gusoline-alley-541056732643138

3rd Checker Bar Detroit, Detroit

checkerbar.com

Happy hour

1st Roast, Detroit

roastdetroit.com

2nd Townhouse, Birmingham, Detroit

eatattownhouse.com

3rd Bobcat Bonnie’s, multiple locations

bobcatbonnies.com

LGBTQ bar

1st Soho, Ferndale

ferndalesoho.com

2nd Liberty Bar, Pontiac

thelibertybar.com

3rd Temple Bar, Detroit

facebook.com/temple-bar-detroit-135697566462203

Michigan beer

1st Bell’s Brewery, Kalamazoo

bellsbeer.com

2nd Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids

foundersbrewing.com

3rd Short’s Brewing Co., Bellaire

shortsbrewing.com

Neighborhood bar

1st Chesley’s Bar & Grille, Lincoln Park

chesleysbar.com

2nd (tied) Mt. Chalet II, Royal Oak

mtchaletroyaloak.com

2nd (tied) Townhouse, Birmingham, Detroit

eatattownhouse.com

3rd Abick’s Bar, Detroit

Place to dance

1st Marble Bar, Detroit

facebook.com/marblebardetroit

2nd Boogie Fever Cafe & Disco, Ferndale

boogieferndale.com

3rd Deluxx Fluxx, Detroit

deluxxfluxx.com

Place to drink outdoors

1st Youngblood Vineyard, Ray

youngbloodvineyard.com

2nd Townhouse, Birmingham, Detroit

eatattownhouse.com

3rd The Old Miami, Detroit

oldmiami.business.site

Sports bar

1st Art & Jake’s Sports Bar, multiple locations

artjakes.com

2nd 24 Seconds, Berkley

24secondsbar.com

3rd Brakeman, Detroit

thebrakemandetroit.com

Swanky bar

1st Evening Bar, Detroit

eveningbar.com

2nd Candy Bar, Detroit

candybardetroit.com

3rd Bad Luck Bar, Detroit

badluckbar.com

Wine bar

1st Michigan by the Bottle, multiple locations

mbtbtasting.com

2nd The Royce, Detroit

theroycedetroit.com

3rd MotorCity Wine, Detroit

motorcitywine.com

Winery

1st Youngblood Vineyard, Ray

youngbloodvineyard.com

2nd Detroit Vineyards, Detroit

detroitvineyards.com

3rd Michigan by the Bottle, multiple locations

mbtbtasting.com


Good to Go

When their doors closed, these four standout eateries made their Best of Detroit award-winning menus mobile through curbside and takeout service

By Lyndsay Green // Photographs by Kailey Howell


Retailers

Antique Shop

1st Odd Fellows Antiques, Berkley

oddfellowsantiques.com

2nd (tied) Town Peddler Craft and Antique Mall, Livonia

townpeddler.com

2nd (tied) Treasure Mart, Ann Arbor

treasuremart.com

3rd (tied) Eastern Market Antiques, Detroit

easternmarket.org

3rd (tied) Knightsbridge Antique Mall, Northville

facebook.com/knightsbridge-anitque-mall-166997500101216

Appliance shop

1st Sargent Appliance, multiple locations

sargentappliance.com

2nd Witbeck Appliance, West Bloomfield, Petosky

witbeckappliance.com

3rd Hawthorne Appliance, multiple locations

hawthorneonline.com

Auto dealership

1st George Matick Chevrolet, Redford
Charter Twp.

matickchevy.com

2nd (tied) Buff Whelan Chevrolet, Sterling Heights

buffwhelan.com

2nd (tied) Moran Chevrolet, Clinton Twp.

moranchevrolet.com

2nd (tied) Bill Brown Ford, Livonia

billbrownford.net

3rd Suburban Ford, multiple locations

Bakery

1st Vince & Joe’s Gourmet Market, Shelby Twp., Clinton Twp.

vinceandjoes.com

2nd For the Love of Sugar, Detroit

fortheloveofsugar.com

3rd Love & Buttercream, Birmingham

loveandbuttercream.com

Bike shop

1st Metropolis Cycles, Detroit

metropoliscycles.bike

2nd Detroit Bikes, Detroit

detroitbikes.com

3rd D&D Bicycles, multiple locations

ddbicyclesandhockey.com

Bookstore

1st John K. King Books, Detroit, Ferndale

johnkingbooksdetroit.com

2nd Book Beat, Oak Park

thebookbeat.com

3rd Source Booksellers, Detroit

sourcebooksellers.com

Bridal salon

1st The Wedding Shoppe, Berkley

theweddingshoppe.net

2nd (tied) Joy Abenmode Bridal Boutique, Royal Oak

joyabendmode.com

2nd (tied) Lace Boutique, Troy

shoplacebridal.com

3rd Ashley & Alexandria’s Bridal Boutique, Southfield

ashleyandalexandriasbridal.com

Cake shop

1st Love & Buttercream, Birmingham

loveandbuttercream.com

2nd For the Love of Sugar, Detroit

fortheloveofsugar.com

3rd Vince & Joe’s Gourmet Market, Shelby Twp., Clinton Twp.

vinceandjoes.com

Candy store

1st Mrs. Mason’s Co., Royal Oak

mrsmasons.com

2nd Docs Sweets’ Candy Co., Clawson

docsweets.com

3rd Bon Bon Bon, Hamtramck, Detroit

bonbonbon.com

Chocolate/Chocolatier

1st Mrs. Mason’s Co., Royal Oak

mrsmasons.com

2nd Bon Bon Bon, Hamtramck, Detroit

bonbonbon.com

3rd Sanders Candy, multiple locations

sanderscandy.com

Cigar shop

1st Churchill’s Cigar Bar & Bistro, multiple locations

churchillscigarbar.com

2nd Ambassador Cigars & Spirits, Troy

ambassadorcigar.com

3rd Robusto’s Cigar Bar and Bistro, Sterling Heights

robustoscigarbar.com

Comic book shop

1st Vault of Midnight, multiple locations

vaultofmidnight.com

2nd Green Brain Comics, Dearborn

greenbraincomics.com

3rd Big Ben’s Comix Oasis, Allen Park

comixoasis.com

Farmers market

1st Eastern Market, Detroit

easternmarket.org

2nd Royal Oak Farmers Market, Royal Oak

romi.gov/389/farmers-market

3rd Birmingham Farmers Market, Birmingham

allinbirmingham.com

Flower shop

1st Viviano Flower Shop, multiple locations

viviano.com

2nd Blüm Floral Design

blumfloral.com

3rd Nino Salvaggio, multiple locations

ninosalvaggio.com

Furniture store

1st Leon & Lulu, Clawson

leonandlulu.com

2nd Gorman’s Furniture, multiple locations

gormans.com

3rd Gardner White, multiple locations

gardner-white.com

Gift shop

1st Leon & Lulu, Clawson

leonandlulu.com

2nd Catching Fireflies, multiple locations

catchingfireflies.com

3rd City Bird, Detroit

citybirddetroit.com

Gourmet foods

1st Vince & Joe’s Gourmet Market, Shelby Twp., Clinton Twp.

vinceandjoes.com

2nd Nino Salvaggio’s, multiple locations

ninosalvaggio.com

3rd Papa Joe’s, multiple locations

papajoesmarket.com

High-end clothing store

1st Claymore Shop, Birmingham

claymoreshop.com

2nd Guys N Gals, West Bloomfield Twp.

facebook.com/guysngals1

3rd The Peacock Room, Detroit

peacockroomdetroit.com

Home décor shop

1st A Touch of Lace, Bloomfield Hills

atouchoflace.com

2nd Leon & Lulu, Clawson

leonandlulu.com

3rd Nest, Detroit

citybirddetroit.com

Jewelry store

1st Tapper’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry, multiple locations

tappers.com

2nd Miner’s Den, Royal Oak

minersden.com

3rd Radiant Fine Jewelry, Plymouth

radiantfinejewelers.com

Kids’ clothing store

1st Petite Cabane, Birmingham

petitecabaneshop.com

2nd Little High Flyers, Detroit

littlehighflyers.com

3rd James and Olive, Rochester

jamesandolive.com

Lingerie store

1st Bra-vo Intimates, Royal Oak

bravointimates.com

2nd Harp’s Lingerie, Birmingham

harps-lingerie.com

3rd Busted Bra Shop, Detroit

bustedbrashop.com

Marijuana dispensary (recreational)

1st LIV Ferndale, Ferndale

livferndale.com

2nd Arbors Wellness, Ann Arbor

arborswellness.com

3rd Utopia Gardens, Detroit

utopiagardens.com

Men’s clothing store

1st The Suit Depot, Oak Park

thesuitdepot.com

2nd Claymore Shop, Birmingham

claymoreshop.com

3rd George Gregory, Detroit

shopgeorgegregory.com

Nursery/greenhouse

1st English Gardens, multiple locations

englishgardens.com

2nd Bordines, multiple locations

bordines.com

3rd Telly’s Greenhouse, Troy, Shelby Twp.

tellys.com

Optical Shop

1st Roland Optics, Bloomfield Hills

rolandoptics.com

2nd See Eyewear, multiple locations

seeeyewear.com

3rd Henry Ford Optimeyes, multiple locations

henryford.com/optimeyes

Pie shop

1st Sister Pie, Detroit

sisterpie.com

2nd Achatz Handmade Pie Co., multiple locations

achatzpies.com

3rd Grand Traverse Pie Co., multiple locations

gtpie.com

Place to buy art

1st Lilacpop Studio, Ferndale

lilacpopstudio.com

2nd (tied) Yellow Door Art Market, Berkley

yellowdoorartmarket.com

2nd (tied) Jacqueline Drake Gallery, Franklin

jacquelinedrakegallery.com

3rd The Rust Belt Market, Ferndale

rustbeltmarket.com

Plus-size clothing selection

1st Hips Resale Boutique, Clawson

havehips.com

2nd Peacock Room, Detroit

peacockroomdetroit.com

3rd Bombshell Bridal Boutique, St. Clair Shores

bombshellbridal.boutique

Record store

1st Dearborn Music, Dearborn

dearbornmusic.net

2nd Found Sound, Ferndale

foundsoundvinyl.tumblr.com

3rd Third Man Records, Detroit

thirdmanrecords.com

Vintage/consignment clothes

1st Consignment Clothiers Inc., Northville

consignmentclothiers.com

2nd Lost and Found, Royal Oak

lostandfoundvintage.com

3rd Boro, Detroit

bororesale.com

Wine store

1st Michigan by the Bottle, multiple locations

mbtbtasting.com

2nd Vince & Joe’s Gourmet Market, Shelby Twp., Clinton Twp.

vinceandjoes.com

3rd Nino Salvaggio’s, multiple locations

ninosalvaggio.com

Women’s boutique

1st La Vie en Rose Boutique, Wyandotte

lavieenroseboutiquemi.com

2nd Peacock Room, Detroit

facebook.com/peacockroom

3rd Guys N Gals, West Bloomfield Twp.

facebook.com/guysngals1


Reader Comments 

Best donut shop 

“I was never much of a donut fan until I tried Donut Bar. They take donuts to the next level. Their creativity with the flavor combinations they invent is astounding.” —Amanda Abro, Rochester Hills

Best pizza place 

“My kids and I have grown up with Buddy’s Pizza. To see Detroit-styled pizza finally gain some national recognition is cool. We always knew the pizzeria was great. Now other people are figuring out how great it is too.” —Sal Aluzzo, Sterling Heights

Best pop-up

“Street Beet’s vegan chicken sandwich never fails to bring tears of joy to my eyes. It’s delicious, like everything else on their menu. The two ladies who started the business are passionate about what they do and who they serve, and it always shows.” —Alexis Moceri, Detroit

Best chocolatier 

“I’m one of those people who tastes brittles wherever I go when I travel. Mrs. Mason’s Co. brittles and bonbons are the best I’ve ever had. Hands down, the best. Fresh, not too sweet, mouthwatering.” —Diane Puvin, Clarkston

Best kids’ clothes

“Petite Cabane is the most adorable and beautiful store with amazing service. Wonderful place for any sort of gift for children. The clothes are so beautiful and unique. Absolutely love this store!” —Sarah Wagenberg, Sylvan Lake

Best winery

“Youngblood Vineyard is amazing. The owners are wonderful. Great place to stop by and enjoy a drink or two under the pavilion in the summer.” —Jeff Hales,
Imlay

Best wine store 

“Michigan by the Bottle is a great place to learn about wine. This place only serves Michigan-made wines, cheeses, and chocolates. Their staff is knowledgeable and friendly. No wine snobs here!” —Terrie Donnelly, Sterling Heights

Best news anchor 

Rhonda Walker is an awesome news anchor and a great person. She gives so much of her time and effort to charities and is an advocate for health and wellness. She’s an inspiration.—Brooke Saunders, Oak park


Detroit Life

Casino

1st MGM, Detroit

mgmgranddetroit.com

2nd Greektown, Detroit

greektowncasino.com

3rd MotorCity Casino Hotel, Detroit

motorcitycasino.com

Charitable organization

1st Gleaners Food Bank, multiple locations

gcfb.org

2nd Michigan Humane Society, multiple locations

michiganhumane.org

3rd Bees in the D, Detroit

beesinthed.com

Cider mill

1st Yates Cider Mill, Rochester Hills

yatescidermill.com

2nd Franklin Cider Mill, Bloomfield Hills

franklincidermill.com

3rd Blake’s Orchard and Cider Mill, Armada

blakefarms.com

Detroit City Football Club player

1st Cyrus Sadee

detcityfc.com/cyrussaydee

2nd Bakie Goodman

detcityfc.com/bakiegoodman

3rd Roderic Green Jr.

detcityfc.com/rodericgreen

Detroit Lions player

1st Matthew Stafford

nfl.com

2nd Kenny Golladay

nfl.com

3rd Darius Slay

nfl.com

Detroit Pistons player

1st Derrick Rose

nba.com

2nd Blake Griffin

nba.com

3rd Andre Drummond

nba.com

Detroit Red Wings player

1st Dylan Larkin

nhl.com

2nd Tyler Bertuzzi

nhl.com

3rd Anthony Mantha

nhl.com

Detroit Tigers player

1st Miguel Cabrera

mlb.com

2nd Matthew Boyd

mlb.com

3rd Daniel Norris

mlb.com

Fitness class

1st Tiffany’s Training HIIT Gym, Royal Oak

facebook.com/tiffanystrainingpage

2nd RAW Fitness, Washington

madeatrawfitness.com

3rd (tied) Citizen Yoga, multiple locations

citizenyogastudio.com

3rd (tied) Retrofit Studio, Royal Oak

retrofitstudio.net

Fitness trainer

1st Brad Goodstein, Retrofit Studio, Royal Oak

retrofitstudio.net

2nd John Cook, Movestrong, Rochester

movestrong.wixsite.com/wellness

3rd Dominic Danno, Dannofit, Madison Heights

dannofit.com

Food at a pro-sports venue

1st Little Caesars Arena, Detroit

313presents.com

2nd Ford Field, Detroit

fordfield.com

3rd Comerica Park, Detroit

mlb.com

Gym

1st Retrofit Studio, Royal Oak

retrofitstudio.net

2nd RAW Fitness, Washington

madeatrawfitness.com

3rd Dannofit

dannofit.com

Hotel

1st Shinola Hotel, Detroit

shinolahotel.com

2nd Townsend Hotel, Birmingham

townsendhotel.com

3rd Royal Park Hotel, Rochester

royalparkhotel.net

Movie theater (first-run)

1st Emagine, multiple locations

emagine-entertainment.com

2nd MJR Digital Cinemas, multiple locations

mjrtheatres.com

3rd Birmingham 8, Birmingham

birmingham8.com

Movie theater (art/indie)

1st Main Art Theatre, Royal Oak

landmarktheatres.com/detroit/main-art-theatre

2nd The Maple Theater, Bloomfield Twp.

themapletheater.com

3rd Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor

michtheater.org

Private golf course

1st Oakland Hills Country Club, Bloomfield Hills

oaklandhillscc.com

2nd Detroit Golf Club, Detroit

detroitgolfclub.org

3rd Red Run Golf Club, Royal Oak

redrungolfclub.com

Public golf course

1st Shepherd’s Hollow Golf Club, Village of Clarkston

shepherdshollow.com

2nd Greystone, Washington

golfgreystone.com

3rd (tied) Lincoln Hills Golf Course, Birmingham

golfbirmingham.org

3rd (tied) Westwynd Golf Course, Oakland Charter Twp.

westwyndgolf.com

Summer day camp

1st Born Yoga, Birmingham

bornyogastudio.com

2nd Cranbrook Schools, Bloomfield Hills

schools.cranbrook.edu

3rd (tied) The Roeper School, Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham

roeper.org

3rd (tied) Willoway Day Camp, Milford

willowaydaycamp.com

Venue for a kids’ party

1st Born Yoga, Birmingham

bornyogastudio.com

2nd Great Lakes Crossing, Auburn Hills

greatlakescrossingoutlets.com

3rd Zap Zone, multiple locations

zap-zone.com

Yoga studio

1st Citizen Yoga, multiple locations

citizenyogastudio.com

2nd White Lotus Yoga, Washington

whitelotusyoga.net

3rd Born Yoga, Birmingham

bornyogastudio.com


The Ultimate Team Player

It’s year four of Matthew Stafford’s Best of Detroit winning streak, and the Lions QB proves voters right on and off the field

By Ashley Winn

matt stafford best of detroit 2020
Photograph of Matthew Stafford by Christine M.J. Hathaway

Rumors of an impending trade haven’t hampered Detroiters’ reverence for quarterback Matthew Stafford.

They voted him Best Detroit Lions Player for the fourth year in a row. There’s a reason he’s so well-loved — a reason that’s never been clearer than it is right now.

Sure, Stafford had the sixth-highest total quarterback rating of the 2019 season, and he was only the fourth QB in NFL history to throw for more than 5,000 yards in a single season.

Many analysts regard the former No. 1 overall draft pick as one of the NFL’s best, and for those who still go to Ford Field despite the team’s long-running doldrums, Stafford is a singular beacon of hope. That’s certainly enough to gain him a sizable fan base on its own. But the enduring nature of that adoration finds its origin beyond Stafford’s on-field prowess.

He and his wife, Kelly, have been active in local charity work since he signed with the Lions in 2009. Each holiday season, for example, they select a few families facing hard times to surprise with a personal visit and an abundance of gifts.

Stafford also works with local charities, including sportswriter Mitch Albom’s SAY Detroit, and occasionally donates game tickets to local first responders.

The COVID-19 crisis in Detroit prompted the Staffords to go further. The couple sent free meals to local hospitals for essential workers and gave $100,000 to local organizations dedicated to combating hunger.

Those donations were split between Forgotten Harvest, which delivers food to local charities, and Detroit Public Schools Community District, which is providing meals to students not at school for their free lunches.

Stafford, who is notoriously reticent about discussing his good deeds, declined to be interviewed for this issue. But that discomfort with bragging about altruism may well be yet another reason Detroiters admire him.

We love people of talent, honor, modesty, and generosity, and Matthew Stafford is all that and more. Thus, his best-of streak comes as no surprise. The public clearly views him as the embodiment of exactly what it means to be the Best of Detroit.


Arts & Entertainment

Art fair

1st Ann Arbor Art Fair, Ann Arbor

theannarborartfair.com

2nd Art in the Park, Plymouth

artinthepark.com

3rd Wyandotte Street Art Fair, Wyandotte

wyandotte.net

Art gallery

1st Jacqueline Drake Gallery, Franklin

jacquelinedrakegallery.com

2nd (tied) Library Street Collective, Detroit

lscgallery.com

2nd (tied) Park West Gallery, Southfield

parkwestgallery.com

3rd David Klein Gallery, Birmingham

dkgallery.com

Author (local)

1st Geoffrey D. Calhoun

2nd Kristy Robinett

kristyrobinett.com

3rd Mitch Albom

mitchalbom.com

Band (local)

1st George Aneed                             

facebook.com/georgeaneedofficial

2nd Killer Flamingos

killerflamingos.com

3rd (tied) Bars of Gold

equalvision.com/artists/bars-of-gold

3rd (tied) Collision Six

c6band.com

Club for live music

1st El Club, Detroit

elclubdetroit.com

2nd Marble Bar, Detroit

facebook.com/marblebardetroit

3rd The Morrie, Birmingham, Royal Oak

themorrie.com

Comedy club

1st Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle, Royal Oak

comedycastle.com

2nd Go! Comedy Improv Theater, Ferndale

gocomedy.net

3rd One Night Stans Comedy Club, Waterford

onenightstanscomedyclub.com

Concert venue

1st DTE Energy Music Theatre, Village of Clarkston

313presents.com

2nd The Fillmore Detroit, Detroit

thefillmoredetroit.com

3rd Fox Theatre, Detroit

313presents.com

Jazz club

1st Cliff Bell’s, Detroit

cliffbells.com

2nd Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, Detroit

theofficialbakerskeyboardlounge.com

3rd Dirty Dog Jazz Café, Grosse Pointe Farms

dirtydogjazz.com

Museum (arts)

1st Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit

dia.org

2nd Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit

mocadetroit.org

3rd Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills

cranbrookartmuseum.org

Museum (other)

1st The Henry Ford, Dearborn

thehenryford.org

2nd Detroit Historical Museum, Detroit

detroithistorical.org

3rd Motown Museum, Detroit

motownmuseum.org

Theater/musicals venue

1st Fox Theatre, Detroit

313presents.com

2nd Fisher Theatre, Detroit

broadwayindetroit.com

3rd Detroit Opera House, Detroit

michiganopera.org

Visual artist

1st Alexandria Bishop

facebook.com/aalexandriabishop/

2nd Janna Coumoundouros

lilacpopstudio.com

3rd Kim Fujiwara

kfgallery.com


Detroit’s most missed

The winning attractions and venues that we can’t wait to visit

// By Emma Klug 

Detroit Institute of Arts
photograph of Detroit Institue of Arts courtesy of IStock

Fox Theatre

From music with the Blue Man Group to reality-TV gold with The Bachelor Live on Stage, the Fox Theatre was to showcase a wide array of programming this spring. Then, the pandemic hit. Events were postponed and ticket holders disappointed.  When this theater opens, it’ll be the hottest ticket in town. After months of binge-watching TV, it’s clear that nothing beats the real deal. 313presents.com

Comerica park

Questions that may arise on Opening Day: Will it rain — or even snow? Can you nab a ticket or will you have to party outside the park? And will you be brave enough to try one of the stadium’s crazy new food options — Coney Dog Egg Rolls, anyone? The event was to be held March 30, but the coronavirus changed that. Now, we’re sorely missing Comerica — and we wouldn’t mind an order of egg rolls. mlb.com

Detroit Institute of Arts

The DIA won renewal of its tax millage on March 10. That night, the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Michigan. In moments of crisis, many find solace in the arts. Whether that’s through lectures, film screenings, or the DIA’s 65,000-plus works, this is a spot we need now more than ever. dia.org


Media Personalities

Detroit ambassador

1st Detroit Bruce

detroitbruce.com

2nd Eric Thomas

etinspires.com

Local politician

1st Mike Duggan, Detroit Mayor

detroitmi.gov

2nd Elissa Slotkin, 8th District Representative

slotkin.house.gov

3rd (tied) Sen. Debbie Stabenow, United States Senator

stabenow.senate.gov

3rd (tied) Haley Stevens, 11th District Representative

stevens.house.gov

Meteorologist (local)

1st Dave Rexroth, Channel 7 WXYZ

wxyz.com

2nd Brandon Roux, WDIV Local 4

clickondetroit.com

3rd (tied) Andrew Humphrey, WDIV Local 4

clickondetroit.com

3rd (tied) Ben Bailey, WDIV Local 4

clickondetroit.com

Newspaper (local)

1st Detroit Free Press

freep.com

2nd The Detroit News

detroitnews.com

3rd Macomb Daily

macombdaily.com

Opinion columnist

1st Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press

mitchalbom.com

2nd (tied) Brian Dickerson, Detroit Free Press

freep.com

2nd (tied) Frank Beckmann, The Detroit News

detroitnews.com

2nd (tied) Nancy Kaffer, Detroit Free Press

freep.com

Podcast

1st The Drew and Mike Show

drewandmikepodcast.com

2nd (tied) The Homance Chronicles

homancechronicles.libsyn.com

2nd (tied) The Robinett’s Nest with Chuck and Kristy

anchor.fm/therobinettsnest

2nd (tied) Before the Big Day

thedirecther.com/before-the-big-day

Radio DJ

1st Mojo in the Morning, Channel 95.5

channel955.iheart.com

2nd Jay Towers in the Morning, 100.3 WNIC

wnic.iheart.com

3rd Dave & Chuck the Freak, 101.1 WRIF

wrif.com

Radio news reporter

1st (tied) Paul Smith, WJR

wjr.com

1st (tied) Frank Beckmann, WJR

wjr.com

1st (tied) Ken Rogulski, WJR

wjr.com

Sportscaster

1st Bernie Smilovitz, WDIV Local 4

berniesmilovitz.com

2nd Brad Galli, Channel 7 WXYZ

wxyz.com

3rd Jamie Edmonds, WDIV Local 4

clickondetroit.com

Sports columnist/blogger

1st Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press

mitchalbom.com

2nd (tied) Brendan Quinn, The Athletic

theathletic.com

2nd (tied) Eric Schlitt, Lions Wire

lionswire.usatoday.com

Sports reporter

1st (tied) Brad Galli, Channel 7 WXYZ

wxyz.com

1st (tied) Justin Rose, Channel 7 WXYZ

wxyz.com

Sports play-by-play

1st (tied) Ken Kal, Detroit Red Wings

1st (tied) Neal Ruhl, Oakland University Golden Grizzlies

Traffic reporter

1st Kim DeGiulio, WDIV Local 4

clickondetroit.com

2nd Ann Marie LaFlamme, formerly with Channel 7 WXYZ

wxyz.com

3rd Dayna Clark, WJR

wjr.com

TV news reporter

1st (tied) Bill Proctor, Channel 7 WXYZ

wxyz.com

1st (tied) Paula Tutman, WDIV Local 4

clickondetroit.com

1st (tied) Roop Raj, Fox 2 Detroit

fox2detroit.com

1st (tied) Taryn Asher, Fox 2 Detroit

fox2detroit.com

TV news anchor

1st (tied) Devin Scillian, WDIV Local 4

clickondetroit.com

1st (tied) Glenda Lewis, Channel 7 WXYZ

wxyz.com

1st (tied) Rhonda Walker, WDIV Local 4

clickondetroit.com

2nd (tied) Ameera David, Channel 7 WXYZ

wxyz.com

2nd (tied) Huel Perkins, Fox 2 Detroit

fox2detroit.com

2nd (tied) Karen Drew, WDIV Local 4

clickondetroit.com

2nd (tied) Maurielle Lue, Fox 2 Detroit

fox2detroit.com


An All-Star Lineup 

These multi-award winners must be doing something right

// By Rachael Thomas 

best of detroit 2020 born yoga
Photograph of Born Yoga courtesy of Born Yoga

Vince & Joe’s Gourmet Market 

This family-owned business, a winner in nine categories this year, is metro Detroit’s gourmet foods mecca. Try the top-quality meats and cheeses at its full-service delis or sample one (or more) of the 35 scrumptious flavors at the Dolce Gelato Café. Vince & Joe’s also caters, offering everything from breakfast a la carte to Mediterranean dinner buffets. vinceandjoes.com

Prime + Proper

Housed in Detroit’s historic Capitol Park Lofts building, Prime + Proper redefines the traditional American steakhouse through both fare and décor, making this 2019 Restaurant of the Year winner a multi-category Best of Detroit winner as well. Enjoy chops dry-aged in-house, seafood specialties from the raw bar, and decadent desserts. The restaurant’s butcher shop offers USDA Prime beef, lamb, duck, and Japanese Wagyu to savor while dining in or at home. primeandproperdetroit.com

Evening Bar

Situated in Shinola Hotel, the intimate bar offers seasonal cocktails with an emphasis on organic fruit and vegetable extracts, and tasty small plates curated by award-winning chef and owner Andrew Carmellini. You can find Best Bartender winner Chas Williams slinging stellar cocktails here as well. eveningbar.com

Born Yoga

This Birmingham-based yoga studio believes it’s never too early to introduce your child to the practice, providing classes specifically for toddlers, kids, and tweens to boost their confidence and teach them healthy ways to cope with stress. The studio has other fun offerings that continue to make it a great children’s fitness destination, including aerial yoga birthday party packages and mini yoga summer camps with Disney princess and superhero themes. bornyogastudio.com

Rivage Day Spa 

Relax and refresh with the luxurious offerings at this multi-category-winning spa. Try a hot stone massage with aromatherapy scalp treatment, or a Vitamin C facial intended to restore your skin’s elasticity and firmness. Rivage also provides nail services; hair removal treatments through its medical spa; as well as men’s massages, facials, and scalp treatments. rivagedayspa.com


Services

Auto detailing/car wash

1st Jax Kar Wash, multiple locations

jaxkarwash.com

2nd Matick Auto Wash, Redford

matickautowash.com

3rd Mr. C’s Car Wash, multiple locations

mrcscarwash.com

Caterer

1st Vince & Joe’s Gourmet Market, Shelby Twp., Clinton Twp.

vinceandjoes.com

2nd Forte Belanger, Troy,

fortebelanger.com

3rd Two Unique Catering, Royal Oak, Detroit

twounique.com

Cosmetic surgeon

1st Dr. Charles Boyd, multiple locations

boyddetroit.com

2nd Dr. Daniel Sherbert, West Bloomfield Twp.

dsherbertmd.com

3rd Dr. Mune Gowda, Troy, Detroit

gowdamd.com

Day spa

1st Rivage Day Spa, Birmingham

rivagedayspa.com

2nd Margot European Spa, Birmingham

margots.com

3rd Face Skincare Medical Wellness, Bingham Farms

facebeautyscience.com

Divorce attorney

1st Jeffrey Lance Abood, Birmingham, East Lansing

aboodlaw.com

2nd David Findling, Royal Oak

findlinglaw.com

Engagement/wedding ring design

1st Tapper’s, multiple locations

tappers.com

2nd Miner’s Den Jewelers, Royal Oak

minersden.com

3rd Radiant Fine Jewelry, Plymouth

radiant-fine-jewlery.business.site

Financial planner

1st Hantz Group, multiple locations

hantzgroup.com

2nd Rising Sun Investments LLC, Troy, Monroe

rsinv.com

3rd The Loupee Graziani Group, Farmington Hills

ubs.com

Hair salon

1st 6 Salon, multiple locations

sixsalon.com

2nd Colors by Kim Hair Salon and Day Spa, Trenton

colorsbykim.com

3rd Antonino Salon & Spa, Birmingham

antoninosalon.com

Landscape designer

1st Mosher & Associates, Royal Oak

mosherandassociates.com

2nd English Gardens, multiple locations

englishgardens.com

3rd (tied) Four Seasons Garden Center & Custom Landscape Services, Oak Park

fourseasonsgardencenter.com

3rd (tied) Great Lakes Landscaping, Chesterfield

greatlakeslandscaping.com

3rd (tied) Zaremba & Co., Pontiac

zarembaandco.com

Marijuana dispensary (medical)

1st Liv Ferndale, Ferndale

livferndale.com

2nd Utopia Gardens, Detroit

utopiagardens.com

3rd House of Dank, Detroit

shophod.com

Massage

1st Rivage Day Spa, Birmingham

rivagedayspa.com

2nd Margot European Spa, Birmingham

margots.com

3rd Meta Physica Wellness Center, Detroit

metaphysicamassage.com

Men’s grooming

1st Detroit Barbers, Detroit, Ferndale

detroitbarbers.com

2nd Berkley Chop Shop, Berkley

berkleychopshop.com

3rd 6 Salon, multiple locations

sixsalon.com

Pet groomer

1st Bark-a-Bout, Shelby Twp.

barkabout.net

2nd Canine to Five, Detroit, Ferndale

caninetofive.com

3rd (tied) Scrubbers, multiple locations

scrubbersdogwash.com

3rd (tied) Catherine’s Pet Parlor, Royal Oak

catherinespetparlor.com

Photographer

1st Athornsphoto, Detroit

athornsphoto.com

2nd Molly Grunewald Photography, Detroit

mollygrunewald.com

3rd Erika Mae Photography, Lake Orion

erickamae.com

Realtor

1st Nicole McAvoy, Birmingham

facebook.com/nicolemcavoyluxehomes

2nd Lucine Tarman, Birmingham

facebook.com/lucinetarmanrealtor

3rd Billy Johair, Dearborn

facebook.com/billy.johair

Salon for a blowout

1st 6 Salon, multiple locations

sixsalon.com

2nd Antonino Salon & Spa, Birmingham

antoniosalon.com

3rd Colors by Kim Hair Salon and Day Spa, Trenton

colorsbykim.com

Salon or spa for a facial

1st Face Skincare Medical Wellness, Bingham Farms

facebeautyscience.com

2nd Rivage Day Spa, Birmingham

rivagedayspa.com

3rd 6 Salon, multiple locations

sixsalon.com

Salon or spa for a mani-pedi

1st Rivage Day Spa, Birmingham

rivagedayspa.com

2nd 6 Salon, multiple locations

sixsalon.com

3rd Polished by Halley, Bloomfield Twp.

Special-occasion venue

1st Infinity & Ovation Yacht Charters, Lake St. Clair, Detroit River

infinityandovation.com

2nd Shinola Hotel, Detroit

shinolahotel.com

3rd Great Lakes Culinary Center, Southfield

glculinarycenter.com

Travel agency

1st Amaze Travel, Northville

amazetravel.com

2nd (tied) Corporate Travel, Northville

ctscentral.net

2nd (tied) Cadillac Travel Group, Southfield

cadillactravel.com

2nd (tied) Bee Kalt Travel, Royal Oak

beekalt.com

2nd (tied) Just Cruises & Vacations, Clinton Twp.

justcruises.com

Wedding planner

1st Ajune Event, West Bloomfield Twp.

ajuneevent.com

2nd Events by Raj Singh, Detroit

instagram.com/eventsbyrajsingh

3rd Emerald City Designs, Farmington Hills

emeraldcitydesigns.com


The Write Thing

Mitch Albom’s serialized story, Human Touch, focuses on fear and hope amid the pandemic, and will also support local relief efforts

// By Rachael Thomas

best of detroit 2020 mitch albom
Photography of Mitch Albom by Glenn Triest/Triest Photographic

Best Of Detroit-winning columnist Mitch Albom’s latest fictional work not only gives readers something to resonate with during these unprecedented times but will help fund pandemic relief efforts across metro Detroit as well.

Human Touch follows four families — living on the same corner in a small Michigan town — whose Saturday gatherings are upended by the onset of the coronavirus crisis. Panic, fear, and prejudice pervade as the characters either become closer or drift apart.

The delivery of the eight-chapter story, released one per week on Fridays through May 29 at humantouchstory.com and on Audible, presented Albom with a new creative challenge. “You’re not thinking about all the business parts of being a novelist; that’s all out the window,” he says. “You’re just trying to get as many people to read it and make donations as possible.”

At the core of this story is hope, embodied by Little Moses, a perceptive 8-year-old born with an unexplainable power that will guide everyone through the pandemic. Albom says Little Moses is inspired by Knox, an 8-year-old from Albom’s Have Faith Haiti Mission & Orphanage who is staying with him. Knox comes to the U.S. for therapy for injuries to his arm and leg suffered in an accident; when COVID-19 hit, he couldn’t return home.

“He has been the absolute biggest blessing in this whole crisis,” Albom says of Knox, who voices Little Moses for the audiobook. “He sings in the bathroom. He runs around the house like he’s Sonic the Hedgehog, and he can’t wait to get up in the morning. When I sat down to write the book, I said, ‘I don’t know where it’s going to go, but I know an 8-year-old is going to save the day.’”

Proceeds from readers’ donations benefit local pandemic-related relief efforts organized by Albom’s nonprofit, SAY Detroit. The group opened a free  COVID-19 testing site in Highland Park in April that’s open three days a week without a physician referral. For more information, visit saydetroit.org.

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