A few weekends ago I was in Michigan visiting family for my little cousins’ prom and graduation (Shoutout to Erika and BJ and the whole class of 2018) and my tour guide was JG Michigan contributor Chris Jones. Before I even got off the plane Chris told me he had everything mapped out for my Midwest mini foodie vacay, our first stop was Royale with Cheese located in Midtown Detroit right next to Wayne State University. Now anyone that has read my reviews in the past knows my process before hitting up a new location…word of mouth from someone I trust, yelp reviews, check out some pictures and examine the menu. The word of mouth element was covered by my cousin Wardell and of course Chris, they had nothing but glowing things to say. Yelp has it at a 4 star rating and the pictures had my stomach doing the dougie. That’s all I needed to see.
Royale with Cheese has been featured by Crains Detroit, Click On Detroit, and Eater Detroit just to name a few. The first thing you’ll notice while doing your homework is that it’s Pulp Fiction inspired aka it’s dope as shit. As soon as I walked in and looked to the right I was greeted by a huge mural of Samuel L Jackson’s spectacular jheri curl. I knew the food was going to be on point after that. Here’s the story behind the theme and restaurant from their website:
We designed our restaurant with the intention of maintaining the character of the original building which was constructed in 1913. The exposed brick walls and Edison-bulb light fixtures give the space a rustic look. In line with this theme, we used 100 year old reclaimed wood from northern Michigan to build our front counter, which bears our hand painted logo. We also made it a point to pay homage to our namesake, including many references to Pulp Fiction. One of our walls features the famous Banksy artwork which depicted Jules and Vincent (Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta’s characters in the movie). The gem of our restaurant’s design is the stunning 11ft by 13ft mural depicting the “Royale with Cheese” scene from the movie. The mural was painted over the course of two weeks by local artist Jeremy Harvey.
Now lets talk about the important stuff, the motherflipping grub. I noticed on yelp that most of the reviews were about “The Royale” and the pictures looked amazing so I knew I was going with that. Chris told me their appetizers were legit also so we decided to split some fried mac and cheese (House-made Mac and Cheese, Cheese Fondue, Royale Sauce) and Nacho cheese ravioli (Handmade deep-fried Doritos Ravioli filled with Jalapeño Nacho Cheese, ‘New World’ Roasted Tomato Sauce). I was taken back how good these were, especially coming from a fast casual restaurant. The quality and the fresh ingredients came through in every bite, they were both extremely good but if I had to rank them I would go Fried Mac and Cheese 1A and the Nacho Cheese Ravioli 1B. I was feeling frisky so I ordered the Cinnamon Toast Crunch milkshake, bruuhhhh so flavorful…it sort of takes you back to your childhood, Saturday morning in front of the TV type of feeling. To sum it up…it was delicious and I’ll go as far as to say…delightful. I digress though, now to the main event.
As I mentioned above I ordered their signature burger with their namesake in the title , “The Royale”. This bad boy consists of smoked brisket, southwest corn relish, caramelized onions, avocado, smoked Gouda cheese fondue, creamy coleslaw, and their royale Sauce. If egg is an option I’m always going to add it to my burgers, even ones made out of brisket, so I told them to throw one of those on there as well. Chris ordered the “Just a Burger” which comes with cheese fondue, artisan romaine, red onions, nablus pickles, seasonal tomatoes, ketchup, and mayonnaise. We went half on each one so I could get the full experience , and within 5 minutes of them clearing our appetizers these mouthwatering beauties came out the kitchen.
I gotta admit I was very skeptical about a brisket “burger” made anywhere besides a BBQ spot but they shut me the hell up after my first bite. I was literally punched in the face by the flavor, I wasn’t expecting that at all. The brisket was cooked perfectly and all the ingredients combined beautifully to make one of the better sandwiches I’ve had in awhile. Warning , it’s a damn big sammich and can get sloppy as hell but that isn’t going to stop any true foodie. After a few bites all decorum and tact was thrown out the window and true savage mode was initiated. I probably looked like I haven’t had a hot meal for about a month the way I went in on this thing, it was truly a sight to behold. After I demolished that, I sat back in my seat…took a sip of my milkshake and tapped back in to taste the “Just a Burger”. Fucking delicious, excuse my french but it was literally the first thing that I thought as I punished this burger as well. Their meat and ingredients for everything I ate was extremely fresh and even the buns were phenomenal which goes with another statement on their website:
All of our menu items are made with the freshest locally sourced ingredients, and each order is prepared with a commitment to high quality. The buns we use for our delicious burgers can’t be found anywhere else.
If you’re in the area and looking for a burger joint to try with a great menu selection, immaculate customer service, dope vibes (and the art of course), and lip-smacking food I would definitely recommend stopping at Royale with Cheese. You won’t be disappointed.
If you enjoyed this, check out more posts from the Just Grubbin team here! Also make sure to listen to The Just Grubbin podcast to hear us go into further detail about this and to hear all of our random irreverent takes on food, drink and whatever else.