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Articles, thoughts, and op-eds written by Eric Hergenreder on historic buildings, all things photography, the art scene, and stories you won't find on the larger news outlets.

The Best Local Burgers, Sliders, & More Within Detroit’s City Limits

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Detroit might not be known as a culinary epicenter to most, but we have our fair share of delectable eats. Let me preface this list by saying that I am by no means a ‘foodie.’ My culinary appetite has a long and storied history of coney islands, greasy dive bars, and Mexican joints, but if there’s one thing I know a lot about, its a good burger. These are my personal favorite local burger joints in Detroit.

 
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1. Cutter’s Bar & Grill

2638 Orleans St, Detroit, MI 48207

Cutter’s has been serving the patrons of Eastern Market for almost 15 years. Charles Knolen opened the joint amidst tough times in Detroit with the idea that simplicity is everything. They get their beef straight from Saad Wholesale Meats just down the road, which has been specializing in quality Halal meats for over 40 years. My favorite burger is a 16oz bacon cheeseburger with the works, season fries, and a Faygo Cola. Cutter's has every variation of Faygo stocked, so pick your poison.

CARDS ACCEPTED. MON-THURS: 10am-10pm FRI-SAT: 10am-2am SUN: closed

 
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2. Elmer’s Hamburgers

8515 W Chicago, Detroit, MI 48204

At the corner of W. Chicago and Oakman on Detroit’s west side you will find a family-owned 50’s themed burger joint called Elmer’s. Not only is the restaurant unique, resembling a 1950’s diner clad with bulletproof glass, it also has some of the best and fairly priced sliders in the Motor City. The burgers come standard, non-seasoned with onions, cheese, mustard, ketchup, and pickles. Feeling hungry? You can get 6 burgers for just over $6. I also highly recommend getting a side of fries or a grilled cheese, as they’re also very cheap and prepared fresh behind the bulletproof glass.

CARDS ACCEPTED. MON-THURS: 6am-10pm FRI 6am-2am SAT 8am-2am SUN 10am-6pm

 

3. Motz’s Burgers

7208 W Fort St, Detroit, MI 48209

Motz has been serving up Detroit style sliders in Delray since 1929. This greasy joint opened just before the onset of the great depression, but it weathered the storm, remaining open for almost 90 years and counting. At Motz's they pride themselves on their fresh, never frozen, 100% beef sliders. The meat is laced with sweet onions, giving the sliders a unique taste that will take you back to a simpler time, when Detroiters would roll up on bicycles for a burger and an unforgettable chocolate milkshake. Be sure to try one of their big burgers too—they’re just as good if not better than one of their famous sliders. 

CASH ONLY! MON-FRI: 10am-4pm SAT-SUN: closed

 
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4. Mercury Burger Bar

2163 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48216

This is probably the only stop on the list I would call a craft-burger restaurant. David Stiekne and Dennis Fulton fired up their grills six years ago in the former home of Mercury Bar, an establishment named after the first regularly scheduled passenger train in Detroit, the Mercury. Mercury Bar closed in the 80s, but the owners were able to find the old sign and refurbish it. The grill here serves up a number of different craft burgers, served with fries, poutine, tater-tots, and delicious shakes. I highly recommend the Southwest Detroit Burger & Bacon Cheddar Burger, but you honestly can’t go wrong with anything on their diverse menu.

CARD ACCEPTED. 

SUN-THURS: 11am-12am FRI-SAT: 11am-1am

 
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5. Telway Hamburgers

6820 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48210

Have you ever been hungry for a hamburger at 5am? I sure as hell have been. This cash-only join has been serving up sliders late-night for decades. The first Telway opened in the mid-1940s, moving to its current location on Michigan Avenue sometime later. Earl Owens began working at Telway in his 20s after serving in the military, eventually taking the helm of the Detroit location until his death last June. Telway was founded on the idea that fresh ingredients were key to a good burger, and although their tactics of grilling may seem old-fashioned in this day and age, they still make for a damn good slider. 

CASH ONLY! open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

 

Honorable Mention: Duly’s Place

5458 Vernor Hwy, Detroit, MI 48209

Although Duly’s is far from a burger joint, I can’t help but include it on this list. Their standard cheeseburger is pretty spectacular in my opinion, and if you're really looking for something special get their loose burger, it's to die for. If you happen to find yourself there late at night, be sure to ask Noah to play the Çifteli for you. It’ll be worth it, I promise. 

CASH ONLY! open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

 

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Eric Hergenreder