By: Mimi Anagli
The act and process of eating food is undoubtedly an art. It’s not just a means to provide your body with energy, it is an experience. The experience and culture tied to eating is so paramount to our everyday lives that there is an entire field of study dedicated to it called gastronomy. As you may be able to tell, I am quite passionate about my food, so when I find a restaurant that I feel has perfected the art of eating, sparks begin to fly.
The three main points I need a restaurant to hit for me to deem that eating experience unforgettable are: good ambience/atmosphere, intriguing menu, and something that sets them apart and makes them unique. With that being said, there have only ever been four restaurants in my entire life that have met all of these requirements, one of them being the Michigan local, Traffic Jam & Snug 1. Located in Midtown Detroit, Traffic Jam & Snug (commonly referred to as Traffic Jam) is a brew-pub that is known for their in-house bakery, microbrewery, and eclectic menu and dining areas.
Established in 1965, Traffic Jam calls themselves one of Detroit’s hidden treasures, and I couldn’t agree more. Traffic Jam’s age and history is something they carry with pride. In the dining area, there is an old-timey western atmosphere that is portrayed with their dimmed lighting and rustic wood surroundings. This decor is what won me over the second I stepped foot in the restaurant, but not because of its vintage and western ambience, but because of its uncanny resemblance to The Three Broomsticks, a fictional restaurant depicted in the Harry Potter film series. Entering Traffic Jam is like being transported into the wizarding world, which basically ensures that each customer’s eating experience will be nothing less than magical.
My obsession with Harry Potter may create some bias when it comes to my love for this restaurant, but the menu at Traffic Jam will win anyone’s heart over, Harry Potter fan or not. Traffic Jam’s menu is far from basic. I personally love how they often pair ingredients that aren’t regarded as traditional food pairings. For instance, their homemade pineapple basil or honey lavender ice cream. Composed of eclectic dishes made with fresh ingredients they make themselves, their seasonal menus are something that truly can not be replicated anywhere else. They make their own bread, dairy products, and grow their own herbs, fruits, and vegetables in their rooftop garden, which leads me to my next point.
Traffic Jam’s rooftop garden/greenhouse is what checks off my final requirement: something that sets a restaurant apart and makes them unique. In a short bio on their rooftop garden/greenhouse, they explain how they have created a small ecosystem where instead of using synthetic chemical pesticides and fertilizers, they grow organically and employ permaculture design principles like companion crop planting to harness the synergy of plants and attract beneficial insects like bees, butterflies, ladybugs, praying mantises and lacewings. In an industry like the food industry, where efficiency has overshadowed quality, in terms of food production, it is refreshing to see a company who actively goes against the grain and advocates for innovative ways to promote plant growth while not harming the environment.
With their magical ambience, delicious menu, and rooftop garden, Traffic Jam & Snug provides its customers with an unforgettable experience. It is truly the whole package.
1. [ If you were wondering what the other three restaurants are, they are: The Floridian in St. Augustine, FL; Bistro 1245 in Gainesville, FL; and De Zeeduif in De Haan, Belgium]↩