Browndog in Farmington and Northville feature decadent grilled cheese, “boozy” milkshakes and creative diner fare.
Photography by Stefani Chudnow
A couple years back, my best friend and I were exploring downtown Northville on the night before New Year’s Eve. We needed a place to stop in for dinner, and the moment we came across Browndog, which is self-described as “Michigan’s 1st Barlor & Restaurant,” we knew it was perfect for us. We ate ooey-gooey macaroni and cheese, margherita sliders, a squash salad and two huge scoops of handmade ice cream. It was one of the most memorable meals of my life — simply based on the variety of flavors we got to sample that night.
I recently wanted to revisit Browndog, so I decided to visit the Farmington location. This time, I ended up going during their weekend brunch, so there were fewer meal options to choose from. My grandfather and I decided to go with a “cookie monster” milkshake, the waffle cone chicken with regular fries, the grilled cheese and the signature “Browndog” fries.
Of all these, my grandfather and I agreed that our favorite items were the grilled cheese and the milkshake. There was something about the grilled cheese that made it more special than just any grilled cheese you could make at home.
The sourdough bread was perfectly crispy, and the combination of several different melted cheeses wasn’t too oily. That said, it was easy to tell that Browndog uses high-quality ingredients in their dishes as opposed to grocery store bread and plastic-wrapped American cheese.
At Browndog, you have the option to get not only regular milkshakes, but also “boozy ice cream drinks.” If it wasn’t already obvious, that’s the “Barlor” part of their establishment.
While we didn’t opt for the alcoholic milkshake, our “cookie monster” shake was, nevertheless, scrumptious and satisfying in all the ways milkshakes should be scrumptious and satisfying. You really get the most out of your money when you get a Browndog milkshake, which is accompanied by hot fudge and all the whipped cream you could want.
I’d drink one every day if I could.
If you order the Browndog fries, be prepared for an odd mix of flavors to tickle your taste buds. These fries come topped with chocolate shavings, cayenne, parmesan and truffle salt. While I wasn’t a fan because of the truffle flavoring, my grandfather seemed to enjoy them. I’d say that if you’re a fan of the taste of truffles and of trying new things, give these fries a chance.
The last item we ordered was the waffle cone chicken. For the past year, it has been on my bucket list to eat chicken and waffles. This Browndog dish was essentially chicken and waffles, but a classy, eclectic take on the Southern dish. Inside of a waffle cone came cornflake-battered white meat chicken, strawberries and whiskey-maple mustard.
These are foods you wouldn’t think work well together, but they somehow do. If you decide to go for the waffle cone chicken, I suggest asking for extra sauce on the side. This part of our meal was indeed flavorful, but it would’ve been even better with more sauce.
For a night out on the town, Browndog makes the perfect spot to stop for dinner before a movie at the Farmington Civic, and then a great place for a drink or a milkshake dessert after the movie.
To recommend a full meal at Browndog, I would say you’re going to be most satisfied with grilled cheese and regular fries. While it’s probably the simplest meal you could get, it’s one you already know you’re going to enjoy.
However, if you’re looking for something that adds a bit of intrigue, go for their Ritz-cracker topped mac ‘n cheese or the waffle cone chicken. Whatever you pick, however, expect to have a tasty experience that rivals classic diner fare.
33314 Grand River Ave., Farmington
Opens 4 p.m.