By Alan Madeleine
The Review Special Writer
Hamtramck, you keep on surprising us.
Once hailed as a rising star of a town by music reporting giant Rolling Stone, Hamtramck’s hot star seemed to fade after that, or at least, the din grew a little quieter.
Or did it?
Not according to website RewardExpert’s new article, “2017’s Best American Foodie Towns.”
RewardExpert bills itself as a website that primarily tries to help frequent fliers get the most out of their rewards. That focus has clearly broadened into other areas of concern to the traveler.
One of those is, naturally, food: the feeding of one’s self. And it is here, says the website, that Hamtown shines among its Midwestern competition in the smaller dining markets.
Here’s how RewardExpert did it: Operating under the assumption that major cities would always have at least some good eateries, they turned their focus to cities with populations under 100,000.
Then, they considered nine key measurable factors (although they didn’t delve into these) to come up with their selections. Hamtramck placed second in the broadly cast Midwest region, behind only fellow Michigan metropolis Traverse City.
It was the Polish cuisine that stood out most for them, and the Polish Village Café and Polonia got individual mention.
Seventeen cities were pitted against one another in the region, and while it wasn’t a large sample size, it was a wide-ranging one, with places from Wisconsin to Missouri to a portion of North Carolina analyzed.
Overall, of the 102 total number of towns ranked, Hamtramck came in at 36. Traverse City was 16th. The top three were Asheville, North Carolina; Burlington, Vermont; and Chapel Hill, North Carolina (somewhat confusingly, these two NC locales were in the “South Atlantic” region, whereas three other places in the same state ended up in the Midwest).
The top 10 was rounded out by cities in California, New Mexico, Hawaii, Florida, Maine and Massachusetts.
“Food travel has become increasingly popular,” notes Reward Experts co-founder and current CEO Roman Shteyn. “Many travelers go to far-flung and big, urban destinations to experience culinary delights. But travelers don’t really have to go very far to try something new.”
It was said in the article that the Polish Village Café is to be the focus of an upcoming episode of the Travel Channel’s show Food Paradise, which airs on Sundays at 8 p.m., as well as other days and times. The air date of the episode wasn’t readily discerned from their homepage, and may not even yet be scheduled, but Polish Village Café’s website teases that the episode will be “about kielbasa.”
Polish Village Cafe has also previously been featured on The Food Network’s show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (let’s presume they fell into the first category!), and Polonia’s menu mentions a prior visit by noted chef and critic Anthony Bourdain several years back, in conjunction with his own Travel Channel show at the time.
It seems that, no matter which way you slice it, Hamtramck still stacks up.