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Inn Season Cafe

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 29 reviews )
Contact 248-547-7916
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500 E 4th St, Royal Oak, Michigan, USA, 48067

Long-time operating vegetarian restaurant, since 1981. Emphasizes farm-to-table cuisine, and many items can be ordered vegan upon request. Has vegan desserts. Sunday is brunch menu. Open Tue-Thu 11:30am-9:00pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-9:30pm, Sun 11:00am-3:00pm.

Category: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, American, Pizza, International, Organic, Mexican, Kosher

Reviews (29)

First Review by lauriesny

Not accommodating - Edit

We arrived at 2:59 PM. By the time the hostess arrived, it was 3, closing time. We were turned away by a very rude and unfriendly hostess who did nothing to try and help, giving us no options or alternatives, even after we explained that we had come from very far.

Cons: Rude staff, bad location


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YES, GET THE CARROT CAKE - Edit

The food is outstanding. I never even liked carrot cake before I went vegan, but theirs was to die for. There were a lot of gluten-free options. The staff wasn't the friendliest, but the DELICIOUS food more than made up for it. I'd go again for sure. Maybe they will be nicer next time.

Pros: CARROT CAKE

Cons: Staff was borderline rude


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GET THE CARROT CAKE - Edit

I never even liked carrot cake before I went vegan, but theirs was to die for. There were a lot of gluten-free options. The staff wasn't the friendliest, but the food more than made up for it. I'd go again for sure. Maybe they will be nicer next time.

Pros: AMAZING FOOD, Gluten-free optins

Cons: Staff was borderline rude, On the pricey side


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Great Food - Edit

I went to this quaint little restaurant with my omnivorous friend and vegetarian mother. I'm a vegan and expected to have to be very specific about what I did and did not want on my food. I didn't. With each menu item there was a way to make it vegan (Daiya Cheese instead of dairy cheese). I loved this. The food is delicious too.

Four stars only because of how much time it took for us to get our food. Then how long it took for us to get the check. The only reason I didn't complain is because I believe they only had one server that day, so this might not be a regular occurrence.

Will definitely be eating here again the next time I'm in the area.

Pros: vegan options, vegan dessert menu in addition to vegetarian desse, friendly staff

Cons: long wait for food/check


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My New Favorite Restaurant - Edit

I just recently went vegan, and it has been a bit of a bumpy transition, but I'm proud of it! My boyfriend and I went to the Inn Season Cafe the other night and we absolutely loved it! The food is delicious, the prices are good, and I loved how everything is either automatically vegan or clearly labeled vegetarian. It is a good place for gluten free people too! I will definitely be going back, and I will continue to recommend it to everyone I know.


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great restaurant - Edit

This was my first time eating here! It is my birthday so we drove 40 minutes to the closest veg restaurant in Michigan. I went with my non-veg parents. Here are our reviews.

Me: The restaurant had a nice atmosphere and clean bathroom. The many is large/there is good variety. Most items are vegan and only veg if denoted. The serving sizes were not small, which I like, and the food was high quality. Lots of gluten-free and soy-free options! I didn't feel sick/overly full after eating, even after having dessert. I wished the server didn't come by so much, but that's ok.

Mom: The restaurant had a nice ambience and fast seating even on a busy week night. The service was nice service and the food was great. I wish they were closer to Clarkston so we could eat there more often.

Dad: Quaint restaurant in downtown Royal Oak with fantastic food/high quality. Not cheap but affordable, and accurate for what you get. Nice variety of dishes and specials. I would definitely go back.

What we ordered:
Appetizer: Red Pepper Hummus with Flatbread (very yummy and good portion but I wish the flatbread was warm and they give way more hummus than pita)

Me: 4th Street Burger with thousand island dressing and no cheese, side of avocado and steamed veg (the burger was on a warm, homemade herbed focaccia bun, and delicious. you could taste all the grains/legumes and healthy ingredients. I enjoyed the fresh romaine, raw tomatoes - which I normally hate - and blue tortilla chips. the dressing was insanely addictive. I don't like coleslaw but this one was better than most - it contained anise or fennel seeds, which is untraditional. the daily vegetable was broccoli - it was blanched instead of steamed and very nice with a squeeze of lemon)

Mom: Coconut curry bowl (great texture and flavor, enjoyed the addition of pickled daikon radish)

Dad: Szechuan stirfry (nice serving size, very hot in the middle so be careful, not too spicy and good texture)

Dessert: Carrot Cake (not overly sweet, the texture is fantastic, the cashew creme is dangerously delicious, and get the orange sauce on the side)

Pros: Tasty, healthy food, High quality, good variety, Good service


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Great but not Fanstic - Edit

Being a vegan in Michigan is tough, Inn Season is one of only a few places to find a decent prepared meal that is vegan, and even knows what vegans are. The opera cake, is fantastic, and most dishes are decent to really good (pizzas, botana, etc...)

Prices are bit high, but that's the area, and the service is always friendly and great.

Pros: Good selection, Great treats & drinks

Cons: Price


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Always Good - Edit

I love Inn Season because it focuses on whole plant-based foods and they have some amazing desserts. It definitely is the place you can take people who are die-hard meat eaters as well. It's also a little packed but I assume that's because we need more vegan friendly places in the area and I wouldn't want them to expand. That's when places become mass produced and the quality of food drops. It might be little expensive to some but for me to be able to eat almost the entire menu, it's SO worth it. I would recommend a million times over.

Pros: Friendly Staff, Great Food, Good Value


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delicious - Edit

Came in on a Friday night and it was pretty busy. This place is popular and they definitely earned it. Great food and great service. Had a delicious vegan pizza with portabella mushrooms and garlic walnuts and a vegan coconut cream cake for dessert. Very delicious


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Must try! - Edit

For vegans and vegetarians alike, this menu can satisfy. It's fairly small place, which gives it an intimate and cozy vibe. I imagine it gets packed quickly though! Prices are a little high, but the portions are large, and the food is fresh and delicious. Definitely coming back!
Updated from previous review on Thursday August 30, 2012
Updated from previous review on Thursday August 30, 2012

Pros: yummy, menu variety, cozy

Cons: a bit pricey


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Outstanding! - Edit

I have never had a bad meal at Inn Season. My favorites are the tofu-chickpea omelette and the mushroom soup. I disagree with the reviewers who say the service is bad or slow: This is simply not the kind of restaurant you go to if you want to be in and out in 35 minutes.

Also, while I cannot speak to the accuracy of the claim that Inn Season offers few vegan and gluten free options at the time that review was posted, I can say that that is not the case now. This is one of the most Veg- and Celiac-friendly restaurants I have ever visited, with lots of choices for any dietary preference, except for perhaps someone who eats exclusively meat (lol.) I have to call BOGUS on the assertion that it is pointless to state that something is wheat free if it isn't gluten free: you can have a wheat allergy without being gluten intolerant, and more restaurants should strive to disclose common allergens to the degree that Inn Season does.

Pros: variety, freshness, specials

Cons: BUSY for Sun brunch (but worth wait!)


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Simply one of the best Veg restaurants in the U.S. - Edit

It really doesn't get any better than Inn Season. Healthy, tasty, lots of bang for your buck, and a helpful, happy staff and owner who immediately make you feel like a member of their family, as if you've been going there for years. This place gets it. They know how to make healthy food taste interesting, even the salads and dressings/sauces were memorable. I was so torn as to what to get, we summoned the owner over to our table and he was a great help. I chose the special, which may only pop up once in a lifetime, so grab them specials! And save room...the desserts...oh my, the desserts are HUGE and aMAZING!

Pros: Tasty & Healthy, Service & Selection, Desserts!

Cons: Wish they'd open earlier for breakfast, Too far from my home!


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A Go-To For Detroit Area Vegetarians - Edit

If I lived in the Detroit area, this place would be a staple choice for me. Mostly vegan and everything I've had here has been delicious. I really like the pizzas (available with the amazing Daiya cheese, of course!). I particularly like the Bistro pizza and the Portabella. They make good sandwiches and salads too.

Pros: Many vegan options, Good service, Pizza

Cons: --, --, --


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Fabulous Food - Edit

We were introduced to Inn Season Cafe's food at a Wellness Seminar. Not only did the food all look fresh and appetizing, but everything we tried was absolutely delicious. We finally made it over to the restaurant and found the food to be just as wonderful. Thank you for giving us a wonderful place to snack and dine !!!

Pros: delicious, healthy, good value


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The place to go in Detroit - Edit

The best in Detroit and it shows, apparently they've been in business for about 30 years (according to my friend). We both got burgers and they were both very tasty...my friend's meal was better than mine, but mine tasted even better the following day.

So here's the rundown of what we got:

1. Black bean avocado quesadilla (vegan) - I thought it was OK, wouldn't order again
2. Forth Street Burger (vegan) - totally good and even better the following day
3. The Big Baprawski (vegan) - pretty amazing
4. Hot fudge brownie (vegan) - very good and very rich

Overall, if you're vegan this is probably the place to go if you're in Detroit.


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The Standard for All Others in SE Michigan. - Edit

This restaurant has survived all the others of its type in the metro Detroit area, and there's a reason. There's a varied selection of great mostly vegan food. Desserts to die for. Friendly staff.


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Vegan

  Contributions +38

THanks - Edit

absolutely tasty. i had the beggars banquet, chai, and some desserts to go. Everything was so great! and the server was greatly helpful and friendly. I am so happy I found this place.

Pros: great food , decor, friendly staff


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Eureka! I have found it! - Edit

Yes, I have found it, the Holy Grail of vegan food! The food is wonderful and creatively prepared and presented, the cafe cheery and clean and bright, and the staff is friendly and confident and seem to know that they are providing a service to humanity! Which of course they are! I cheered when I found out that they are supplying their incredible vegan baked goods to The Detroit Film Theatre in the Detroit Institute of Arts. Now, when you see a movie at the DIA, go early and enjoy Inn Season's Cardomon Cake or their Opera Cake in the balcony level's Crystal Gallery!

Pros: creative menu , ultra fresh, great staff


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Not fair to claim its been around over 20 years... - Edit

because this place has changed hands, chefs, etc. several times. Inn Season has not always been a vegetarian restaurant, and they seem to change whether or not they serve fish, etc. every couple years. Their standard menu is over priced and nothing special, but the current chef does create some wonderful specials. I always call ahead and listen to the recorded message listing their specials before deciding to go. Inn Season doesn't hold a candle to other vegetarian restaurants in Chicago, NYC, etc. in either their menu selections or value, but it is the best we have in the Detroit area. The brunch menu, however, offered on Sunday morns only, is my favorite thing about Inn Season. Both the regular menu items and specials for brunch are consistently yummy, but the service is sometimes horrid. I officially gave up on eating in for brunch after MULTIPLE Sunday mornings of watching the very young staff spend time sitting down at tables with their friends, ignore the tables they are supposed to be waiting on, and just all-around act clueless; fortunately for Inn Season I love their brunch enough to order it for take out instead. In sharp contrast, I have usually had great service when eating in for dinner. If the waitress with the long blond curly hair still works there (sorry I forget her name!) try to request her because she is the most knowledgeable, hardworking, and has worked there for a long time. Also, note they (pointlessly) list several items as wheat free, they are NOT gluten-free at all, if you have a co-diner with concerns about that. And yes, the opera cake (and other desserts) are the best! Order some dessert to go, you'll love it!

Pros: vegan friendly, smoke free, great desserts

Cons: no gluten-free options, tend to run out of the specials, horrible waitstaff on day shift

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innseasoncafe "Not fair to claim its been around over 20 years..." because this place has changed hands, chefs, etc. several times. Inn Season has not always been a vegetarian restaurant, and they seem to change whether or not they serve fish, etc. every couple years."

The Inn Season Cafe was started in 1981, the chef at that time was George Vutetakis, who purchased it 4 years later. The current head chef, Thomas Lasher, has been there over two decades, working under Chef Vutetakis and then becoming head chef in 2002. This reviewers comments lack merit when it is considered that only TWO head chefs have been at the helm over a 28 year period.

In addition, the Inn Season Cafe was began as a macrobotic and vegetarian restaurant, and in the case of macrobotics, some fish are permitted in the diet. The Inn Season has not served fish in over a decade, and all the menu items save for ceaser salad dressing and a couple desserts are entirely VEGAN, although cheese may be added.

"Inn Season doesn't hold a candle to other vegetarian restaurants in Chicago, NYC, etc. in either their menu selections or value, but it is the best we have in the Detroit area."

In April 2008, Health Magazine named the Inn Season as one of the 6 best independent restaurants in the nation with a healthy menu, along with other notables as Chez Panisse in Califorina, the others in LA, NYC, Chicago, and Atlanta.

With regard to value, there is no other restaurant in Michigan that has the quality of incoming food as the Inn Season Cafe. Over 7 local and organic farmers supply the produce to the restaurant, and all grains, beans, and most other products are organic, far more that any other restaurant in the Midwest. We are also the only restaurant in Michigan that belongs supports Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) by purchasing shares in Maple Creek Farm of Yale, MI, one of the largest organic farms in Michigan.

Can't say enough good things... - Edit

Inn Season is hands down my favorite restaurant in the Metro Detroit area. I have never been disappointed in a meal there, and I'm finally able to enjoy eating brunch again (the oatmeal and dry doesn't cut it!). Order from their Specials menu...the unique flavor combinations are out of this world. They always offer fresh baked vegan desserts, too.

Pros: excellent food, reasonably priced, uses local and organic when possible

Cons: small, so wait can be long


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My All-Time Favorite Vegetarian Restaurant - Edit

Inn Season was the first vegetarian restaurant I ever visited (as a child), and it's still my favorite. I really started to appreciate it when I started visiting other vegetarian restaurants and found out how far behind most of them are in terms of cuisine. The menu is superb, and there are specials that change regularly. Some of the dinner specials can be a little pricey (around $15-$20), but there are inexpensive sandwiches and Mexican options, too. Vegan options are clearly marked on the menu. All meals are served with fresh bread, butter, and honey, and the desserts are out of this world. (I personally recommend the chocolate hazlenut sandwich.) The service is very good overall. There can be a wait- sometimes a long wait - at dinner, but the food is worth it.

Pros: Excellent Menu, Good Service, Amazing Desserts

Cons: Very Busy Fri/Sat night


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Oh to have such restaurants throughout the country - Edit

You know you are in a great restaurant when you don't have to explain your food preferences to servers. The Budapest Mushroom soup is FANTASTIC, ALL of the desserts are to die for, the specials are well.. special!. I only wish this was a franchise. :) I don't care how long the wait is for the food.. it is worth it just to be able to eat EVERYTHING on the menu.

Pros: can have anything off the menu, DESSERTS!, did I mention DESSERTS?

Cons: small & crowded, 2500 miles from my house :), wont ship food out West :(


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Inn Season Cafe ROCKS for Vegan Food - Scrumptious - Edit

Just tell them you are VEGAN and "Don't Worry, Be Happy!" The food is scrumptious, and the service is very personable and accommodating! The variety of salads, dishes, desserts, drinks, etc. is wonderful. The 4th Street Burger is FAB! The atmosphere has a quaint and homey feeling. My hubby is from Royal Oak, but we still only get there occasionally and I got really hungry just reading their menu again! Hope to get back there before too long. Nothing like this near Knoxville, TN or anywhere else we have lived!

Pros: friendly staff, excellent food, healthy cuisine


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good food, great service - Edit

The food at the Inn Season Cafe is unique to its own class. It seems to be very Heavy European Cuisine. The pull off combinations of food that shouldn't go together, yet melt in your mouth.
In addition, the service is wonderful!!

I am always joyful when you walk into a veggie restaurant and have to wait for a table!!

Pros: service, taste of food, the place was packed with customers

Cons: price


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Small But Mighty - Edit

Enjoyed brunch here on Sundays a few times. Creative foods, international flair, attractively prepared, delicious and healthful. Enjoyed enchiladas, prune cake, delicious vegan muffins, fruits in season, potato cakes, and new entrees each month.

Pros: creative, tasty, lots of variety

Cons: crowded, on street parking


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There's a reason it has been around for 20 years! - Edit

This restaurant is always a joy, from the friendly staff, the inventive dishes (try the vegan cheesecake!), to the artwork decore. I have been here many times, but still get excited when someone suggests a meal at this establishment!

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