Review: Devries & Co

Devries & CoDevries & Company
4 stars


Yelp! Review of the Day

Straight out of the streetcar era when Detroit twinkled at its peak, Devries & Company continues on a family tradition in a storied establishment on the edge of Eastern Market. It used to be R Hirt and Company, and returned to much fanfare in 2012 in this current incarnation. Devries is a European-inspired cheesemonger by way of a modern delicatessen and a general store, an interesting mash up that somehow works with the eclectic atmosphere around the sheds.

Their specialties are cheese, meat, and olive oils. Step up to the scarred wooden counter after reviewing the chalkboard specials and, if you can get your hands on it, the hallowed cheese catalog. The cheese pages are needed to stay within budget, otherwise it’s easy to end up with a $100 bill for a cocktail party. Huge wheels wrapped in wax and cheese-cloth sit behind the counter, sold by the wedge or chunk. Slicing isn’t available. Varieties range from the familiar, like Tillamook and incomparable Black Diamond sharp cheddar, to specialties. On a recent trip, I picked up a delicious 10 year old Irish extra sharp cheddar (aged in port) and smoked Emmentaler.

Best of all, the seasoned employees will provide samples of just about everything in their stock. Trial by tongue is certainly the best way to go! Staff can provide suggestions for wine pairings or cheeses based on your specific preferences or needs.

The baked goods and meats deserve a gander, though prices are on the high side. Homemade scones in delicious flavours like blueberry sour cream, white chocolate raspberry, and cheddar make a nice snack after marching through the vegetable and flower vendors in the sheds. I’m not impressed by the hams and other sliced meats; equal quality for cheaper prices can be had at Western Market or Holiday Market in my area without the crazy parking.

Gourmands will delight in European and Michiganian products. Stop to sample local olive oils or honeys. The lavender and raspberry balsamic vinagrettes are also fantastic. Local vendors are well represented in hot sauces to jams. If you need to stock up on McClure’s pickles or a jar of wild clover honey produced within the city limits, Devries is the place to find it. For a splurge, the Saunders chocolates and caramels are tasty presents.

Products to be had elsewhere cheaper (but maybe not more convenient) include sweets and candies, and the modest sushi/Asian goods section. Whole Foods, the Meijer ethnic aisle, and World Market have Ritter Sport wafers and rice vinegar.

Checkouts are smooth and efficient, staff is extremely friendly, and the whole experience is absolutely essential for any Detroiter (or visitor) to really appreciate what this grand city has to offer.