Why You Should Eat at the International Mini-Café

1:30 already?! I’ll never make it time…*sigh*.

The International Mini-Café is one of Detroit’s best-kept secrets.   The Café only serves lunch (it’s open from M-F, 11:30 am – 2:00 pm), has some of the best samosas in all of Southeast Michigan, and is housed in the International Institute of  Metropolitan Detroit.   Because of their short hours, I’ve often had to lunch somewhere else in town if a client meeting or other commitment runs late.

When this happens, I’ll groan quietly to myself as the “brief chat” spins out for hours.  I’ll then spend days in similar meetings, pretending to take notes while all I want is to I get away from (insert Terribly Important Thing here) in time to make it to Kirby Street.

It will get so bad that I’ll have to make a conscious decision to forget about the Café.  This is necessary so I can sit through yet another discussion about how all of the sponsorship links should be on the home page, right under the header – and they should blink, and trumpets should sound when visitors mouse over…yeah! – without giving my client one good shake, tossing some coffee money on the table, and running out of the room to a happier, tastier destination.

This self-inflicted amnesia keeps me from fostering any festering resentments, but also prevents my heading over to the Café on those rare days when I do have that lovely time from 11a-2p free.   I’ll have forgotten all about the Café only to find myself – yay! – luckily driving past it at the Golden Hour of 1:00 pm a month or so later and discovering its sheer awesomeness all over again.

Awesomeness that I will now share with you.

Reasons to eat there:

1) They welcome you.

This is 100% true.  On my most recent visit to the Cafe, the man who took my order recognized me from a previous visit (which was over 3 months prior).  The chef is friendly, often coming out in person to check that the food is to your liking, and the staff are efficient and cheerful.

2) They offer ‘A World of Flavor’.

Also 100% true.  Unlike so many restaurants which feature traditional dishes from India, Italy, Greece, the United States and more, the International Mini-Cafe gets their food right every time.  Their ingredients are fresh and their portions are generous.  Everyone sit in the Lotus position…deep breath…and on the exhale: noooommmmmmmmmm.

3) They’re in the International Institute.

Okay:  I mentioned this already.  But the Institute is a treat in itself, and you’ve probably never been.  So you’re probably missing out on an amazing local attraction.  They’ve offered Detroit-area residents a wide range of services including immigration assistance, literacy courses, citizenship classes, cultural presentations (including the popular World Market Day), and one of the city’s best small cultural museums – the Hall of Nations – since 1919.  If you’re someone who’s always intended to visit the International Institute but has been sidetracked by 0ne of the other great attractions in the Museum District, don’t forget you can always break for lunch and a quick tour at the Institute.

4) Catering is available.

Which is a beautiful thing, because they really do have the best samosas in town.

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