Locally inspired, made from scratch cooking with a little bit of Detroit history sums up the menu at Parks & Rec Diner. An oasis on Grand River Avenue, Parks & Rec Diner is one of two restaurants in the restored G.A.R. building. Originally built for Civil War veterans in 1899, the G.A.R. building was also used as the city’s park and recreation center for over 40 years.
Parks & Rec Diner is a small but mighty breakfast and lunch spot. You can build your own hash with Detroit grown spinach and onions all topped with house cured bacon and Leelanau Cheese. Or, eat a childhood bologna sandwich staple all grown up with pub cheese and house brined pickle. Our shared appetizer of figgy goat cheese served with an arugula salad and toasts could have easily been lunch all on its own.
Detroit is at the heart of Park & Rec’s décor and food. During the buildings restoration, preservation of structure and repurposed period items was core. The owner, David, was proud to share how the original glass park and recreation door panel was saved and is now framed and hung on the wall. Supporting Detroit’s emerging food scene, the best local growers and vendors are procured for menu items. Rising Pheasant Farms, Keep Growing Detroit and Recovery Park Farms are just a few growers providing fresh food.
Save room for dessert and be prepared to share. A giant cinnamon roll baked to order in a cast iron skillet smothered with chevre honey icing—decadent and delicious.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention the great staff at Parks & Rec Diner. Super knowledgeable about the menu and the history of the building, our new friend Paul spent a great deal of time sharing his passion for the food.
Locally inspired food celebrating the city’s history is more than just a trend. Parks & Rec Diner is the new Detroit eating experience. —Pam Aughe, R.D.