by Katie Sutton
DETROIT’S HISTORIC EASTERN Market is known for its huge pavilions chuck full of local produce, greenery, and snacks, but the real treat of this extraordinary farmer’s market is in the businesses that surround it. The Russell Street Deli is no exception.
Standing guard over Eastern Market at 2465 Russell Street, this cozy yet boisterous breakfast and lunch spot is the place to be on the Market’s always-popular Saturdays.
The deli is a wolf in sheep’s clothing with its unassuming exterior that appears as though it was pulled from a Norman Rockwell painting. Expect a line on any given Saturday, but also expect the wait to be worth it.
If you’re feeling torn between breakfast and lunch while at Russell Street – good luck – both courses are equally fantastic, and the deli is known for both.
On the breakfast side, the daily made quiche is a little slice of heaven, with ingredients ranging from tomatoes, leeks, ham, and bacon – or anything else they see fit for the day. The corn beef hash is some of the best the city has to offer, and there are enough vegetarian (and vegan!) choices to satisfy everyone.
The freshly prepared soups are something to write home about as well: they offer the classic New England clam chowder (white), the semi-classic Manhattan clam chowder (red), and the unconventional Rhode Island clam chowder – a mixture of the two. If clam chowder isn’t your style, don’t fret; the deli has an ever-evolving roster of soups.
The lunch menu is a deli-lover’s dream, with all of the quintessential sandwiches choices – corned beef, chicken salad, pastrami – and then some.
All of the sandwiches come piled high on fresh bread, with the optional upgrade of an onion or Kaiser roll, all of which are under $10.
An added novelty to the experience at the Russell Street Deli is its community-style seating. The kitchen and checkout counter line the left side of the wall, with six-person tables lining the right side. If you have two people in your party, you sit where you fit. That may seem daunting to some, but that’s part of the fun at this charming place.
The staff is very fun and friendly, and they get people in and out – a perk for those chili mornings, since the line must form outside.
A Yelp.com Reviewer Says…
YES, IT’S NOISY. Yes, it’s crowded. Yes, you will sit next to strangers and it is impossible to get a group in there. But there’s a reason for that. And that is that the food is great. If you want to try it out, here’s a tip: go alone and/or go early or in the afternoon, after 1:30 p.m. If you go alone, you’ll get seated quickly! You’re a grown adult, you can do this. Bring a book or a fully-charged cell phone. Otherwise you will wait out front in line. The breakfast options are great.
- Orange Juice – is fresh and great.
- The Breakfast Sandwich is moderately priced, but tastes like something you could make at home
- The House Jams — unique and flavorful, but a touch pricey (as they are extra to get with your toast)
- The Quiche — I have been to RSD a half dozen times and the quiche was sold out all but once. They switch it up, so be sure to peep the specials board to see if it’s your cup of tea.
- The Potatoes—not hashbrowns, they’re like a smashed home fry situation. Not too salty, cooked to make the outside crispy and brown but warm and fresh tasting inside. Never burned.