I’ll go ahead and open up with what’s not a commonly-voiced opinion: I love Detroit. I actually do. While it has done quite a few things in its history to earn its stereotype of a post-industrial pit of squalor, with drug dealers, bad neighborhoods, crumbling buildings, and a lousy NFL. However, I’ve always found that when I’ve taken the time to actually know Detroit, it’s actually a city with a lot of heart. It has some stunningly great architecture. Great museums. Beautiful parks. And while many people have left, a lot of the ones still there are fiercely loyal to their city and not yet ready to give up. It’s really a city that has a lot to offer, and is much, much better than its general reputation (although the Lions do indeed suck).
It also has quite a few good places to eat and drink.
When we had mentioned we were going downtown on our last visit to the Metro area, Carol’s sister told us “Oh, you like burgers, right? There’s a bar we really like going to for Burger, Greenwich Time. It’s right on Cadillac Square”. Well, after our three hour walking tour of downtown Detroit (from the wonderful folks over at Preservation Wayne), we decided that it was about time we had some beers and some burgers. For the former, we ended up going to Foran’s Brewpub, a.k.a. Grand Trunk Pub, which is a nice little brewpub on Woodward just south of Campus Martius, in a nice little storefront that used to be the Grand Trunk Railroad ticket office. We had a nice selection of locally brewed beers, and decided that we needed a bite to eat. Since we were really craving burgers, so we decided to follow Carol’s sister’s advice and head on over and check out Greenwich Time.
Located in an older brick building right off of Cadillac Square, Greenwich Time is right out of the 60s, with a cozy little bar with plenty of wood trim and formica. And true to it’s name, the wall behind the bar is festooned with several clocks showing the time at different locations, like TV news rooms used to have. Although unlike those, only the Detroit one actually seems to be set to an actual time, the other clocks were randomly set, or not functioning (I’m sure there’s a joke to be made there, but it’s eluding me). Settling in at the bar, the bartender immediately came over and chatted us up, telling how his family has owned the joint since the 50s. So this little pub has been there through a lot, being opened back in Detroit’s prime, riding out Detroit’s fall and bottoming out, and being a part of its slow rebirth (Detroit’s motto is “Speramus Meliora; Resurget Cineribus”, or “We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes”. Never has a city had a more appropriate motto).
Beer-wise… Greenwich Times is basically a Bud and Miller bar, so nothing there to excite me, but some rummaging about in the cooler yielded some Killian’s. A bit of a shame, actually, since Detroit is actually becoming a pretty good brewpub city (Motor City Brewing, Atwater, Detroit Brewing… the list goes one).
Asking about the burgers, the bartender immediately lit up, however, and did excitedly proclaim that “Yes, Greenwich Time does indeed have Detroit’s best burger… For the price!” Despite a little apprehension at the disclaimer, we both decided to order up cheeseburgers (which were relatively cheap at $4) and fries.
The burgers came out a little bit later, and it was a decent burger. Cooked properly, on a decent bun, and some fresh toppings. Was it a great burger? Well, I’ve had better, I’d call this a good burger more than a great one. But as the bartender said, for the price it was indeed good (I’ve paid a lot more money for worse burgers, that’s for sure). The staff was very friendly, the bar itself pleasant and inviting. While the beer selection also could use an upgrade as well, I did enjoy my late lunch at Greenwich Time, and I’m glad it’s there. While I do think that Greenwich Time could easily step their game up a notch, it’s the sort of place I’d like having around to stop by after a day of work, or before a ball game. And it seems to fit the neighborhood well.