Prior to last week I had only been to Hazel Park once to check out Mabel Gray, which was an outstanding experience. I heard a lot about Joebar and wanted to check it out along with Doug’s Delight. Mabel Gray owner James Rigato reopened Doug’s Delight, a former Hazel Park staple, but more on that in a bit.
Let’s start with Joebar. It looks rather unassuming on the outside, but the small, yet welcoming interior with natural light and a gleaming bar is nice. Tables line the wall with high tops in the center of the room, and more seating along the bar. They also have a patio, but I think it would be pretty noisy to sit out there.
Service was swift and friendly. I ordered their special cocktail, a twist on a pisco sour with brandy, housemade sour, and pomegranate syrup. It was a refreshing revelation and by leaving the lime on top of the glass, inhaling the scent every time I drank gave the drink more complexity.
I later had a chartreuse served up and it was a revelation. Having the spirit chilled made it super refreshing and something I will be ordering again very soon.
Onto the food. We ordered nothing fancy, just looking for a good, quick meal, and that’s exactly what we got. Both Mom and I had the burger without a bun. Mom had a double patty while I added an egg to mine. Using local beef from Farm Field Table, the patty was perfectly cooked and had a rich beef flavor. The cheddar did not overpower, but instead complicated like the tomato, onion, lettuce, and in particular the pickles. I was surprised at how welcome the bright punch from the pickles was.
I’m always a fan of putting an egg on food and this one had a bright, runny yolk and the sprinkle of pepper pretty much made me swoon.
We both received fries, but I had asked for sweet potato fries. The mistake was fixed with the sweet potato fries arriving swiftly and piping hot. The regular fries were fine, a bit like a better version of McDonald’s fries, but the sweet potato fries, OMG, those are out of this world, eat them every single day, mind blowingly awesome. Do not go to Joebar without ordering them.
On to Doug’s Delight. Some of the staff had more menu knowledge than the others, and it’s a huge disappointment that a place with backing like James Rigato is using for example Hershey’s caramel, but once we moved past that, it’s easy to see why it’s a hit.
It’s nice to see the renaissance of the area isn’t just in Detroit but expanding to Hazel Park. Rigato has done a nice job with Doug’s, evident in the insanely creamy soft serve in vanilla and strawberry with bright flavors that don’t seem artificial at all.
Forgoing that caramel, I stuck with the house fruit sauce, a blend of berries and Michigan sour cherries that I want on all desserts I eat from here on out. Since it’s clear they are capable of brilliance at Doug’s, I want to see more housemade toppings and perhaps soft serve flavors.
Not only would I recommend both of these places in a heartbeat, but I also hope to revisit them myself!