Midwest Living Review
For the past 15 years, Russell Street Deli has authored locavorism in Detroit. Located on a side street on the edge of massive Eastern Market, smack in the middle of downtown Detroit, it's next to butchers, seafood vendors, and shed after shed filled with farmers. That's where the deli gets many of its ingredients. If you don't mind dining with your neighbors on top of you, and you love soup and sandwiches, you'll love this place. The signature Reuben, oozing with corned beef, freshly made sauerkraut and local Swiss, for starters, is the stuff of dreams. Ditto their soups, especially the three varieties of clam chowder, stuffed with plump, briny clams. Vegetarians and vegans get a shout out, too, noshing on tomato-basil-tofu omelets and grilled vegetable and pesto sandwiches on local artisan bread. Breakfasts are a specialty here: Waffles come with Michigan maple syrup, and the drippy egg salad sandwich is a great substitute for an omelet. The look is very diner, with exposed brick walls, butcher-block tables, paper napkins and a chalkboard menu. The look is also chock-full-of-people. Tight communal tables are jammed -- literally -- into the gritty, narrow diner, so it helps to be flexible both physically and emotionally. In the summer, lines snake out the door and down the street. In the winter, everyone just crams inside. You might end up next to a doctor, a student or a tired toddler. It's also remarkably understaffed, so come prepared with patience. The fresh ingredients, though, tend to improve everyone's mood. Russell Street Deli is open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Prices are reasonable: $3.95 for a giant bowl of soup, served with bread, or $5.95 for a sandwich.