Lovers Only in Detroit’s Capitol Park is far from a swinger’s club. Capitol Park is on the heat map for Detroit’s growing restaurant scene. The establishment opened in spring 2018 by Eli Boyer, who is quickly becoming a household name. His restaurant operations are places you’ve got to go (and go again and again).
Coming back from working in the restaurant scene in Chicago, Voyager was Eli’s first restaurant when moving back to Metro Detroit.
Voyager is a bistro-style restaurant specializing in sustainable seafood and oysters, plus cocktails and wine, in coastal-chic digs. Many mazel tovs as Voyager in Ferndale celebrated its one-year anniversary March 16 and was recently recognized by Food & Wine magazine as a 2018 Restaurant of the Year. It is a one-of-a-kind place that is uber unique to the Metro Detroit food scene. While Voyager is a happy-hour-into-the-evening establishment, Lovers Only (Boyer’s second concept) is open from lunchtime until just before midnight.
Lovers Only is an easy spot to make as your next Detroit dining destinations. Imagine the gorgeous stained glass on the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue. Now envision yourself standing at the front door, looking across the street, and you will see Lovers Only. It’s on the first floor of the new 28Grand micro loft apartments on Griswold and Grand River Avenue.
Odds are if you are driving from the suburbs you’re questioning the parking situation. You are in luck! There is a parking deck directly across the street on Griswold, a surface lot adjacent to the building and street parking available.
You’ll enjoy big hospitality the moment you walk in the door and are greeted with warm smiles and an introduction to the menu. It’s an elevated quick-service restaurant, where after ordering at the counter you help yourself to a variety of seating options from booths, high tops with bar stools or regular table dining.
A staff member will assist you at the table, answering any requests, refilling your drinks and servicing the table.
The quirky interior is inviting, including the cow-themed wallpaper and windows throughout.
For the full nosh experience, I brought along my trusted team of eaters to justify ordering most of the menu. The tight and focused menu is split into four categories: Hamburgers, Sandwiches, Sides and Salads.
Classic salads include “the Wedge” and “the Maurice,” which I believe must be a homage to Eli’s Detroit heritage. Simple sides such as hand-cut fries and onion rings complement the hamburgers made with 100 percent pasture-raised Michigan beef.
Ahh, the “Bodega” sandwich is a far upgraded version of my elementary school bologna sandwich days; it consists of Sy Ginsberg bologna, white cheddar, farm fried egg, mustard and mayo. You’ll find yourself saying “mmmmm” with the first bite.
Vegan friends — do not worry — there is something for you, too. The “Green Street” hamburger is made with the plant-based Impossible Burger and lettuce on an English muffin, but you’ll have to sub out the white cheddar cheese and parsley/shallot yogurt.
The menu will be expanding in the future and some items should rotate with the seasons. It has a full liquor license; don’t miss out on the on-tap Negroni and other draft cocktails.
I highly recommend you ask for a side of the Alabama White BBQ Sauce — it’s a Southern thing, which is a tangy mayo-based sauce providing that perfect combination of acidity and creaminess to a fried item. Co-Chef Jen Jackson is from Athens, Ga., and you’ll find sprinklings of her Southern flare in the menu.
The nostalgic atmosphere, warm hospitality and casual yummy food at an approachable price will keep you coming back.
34 Grand River Ave.,Detroit