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Outside Sweet Potato Sensations

The Hungry Black Man team has been all over the beautiful City of Detroit and returned yet again, to highlight another amazing eatery.  This Miami Boy just can’t get enough! Our team journeyed to Sweet Potato Sensations at 17337 Lahser Rd, Detroit, MI 48219. Located in a quaint standalone storefront with amazing art work, painting, awnings, and clear windows, this is definitely the most unique eatery in all the land! In addition to its eclectic appearance, EVERYTHING in this delicious establishment is made from sweet potatoes in some fashion.

To honor the legacy of George Washington Carver, Mrs. Cassandra Thomas , owner and matriarch of this family owned business said, “I baked sweet potato cookies to sell at the neighborhood mall and completely sold out.  People would begin calling me for the cookies, and it grew into different items that were in demand, so we opened our doors in 1987 and have been going strong ever since.”

Her husband and partner Mr. Jeffery Thomas pooled the family’s resources and expanded their restaurant into a neighborhood staple that’s been featured on several networks, including the Food Network.

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The Hungry Black Man and Owner Mrs. Cassandra Thomas

My first order was the Daddy-O ($8.95) which consisted of 3 Large Sweet Potato Pancakes with House Spiced Turkey Sausage Patties!  Lord have mercy! The turkey patties were created in house from scratch inside their massive kitchen. The pancakes were so scrumptious, once again, my knees buckled and I was literally about to collapse, however; Cameraman Joe’s tripod stopped my fall.

Cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, butter, and of course sweet potato flour created one of the best pancakes you’ll find not just in Michigan, but in the entire U.S. Each bite was so moist on the inside with just enough crisp on the outside to create a perfect balance of softness and crunch and of course, I smothered mine with syrup.  Honestly, the pancakes were my favorite cooked bread on the menu.  The pancakes are honestly one of those dishes that you make a drive for.  I guarantee you.  I’m sure your thinking, “They don’t look all that to me”, well please don’t let the simplicity deceive you.  The Daddy-O is a MUST HAVE!

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Daddy O

Following the pancakes, I ordered a coup of Black Eye Pea and Collard Green Soup served with Sweet Potato Cornbread ($3.99).  THE LORD HAS BEEN GOOD TO ME because this food is nothing short of divine. I’m struggling to convey my true culinary happiness  as I describe the food and the feeling of family and community while dining in this 30 year-old establishment.

The soup was absolutely delicious with its meshing of the black eye peas and perfectly  seasoned collards. It created a balance of lite greens with the heartiness of legumes that caused me to shout for joy when I dipped the cornbread in it. I didn’t care who was looking at me; this soup deserved public praise. Sweet Potato Sensation is in no way done with my ass because there were more blessings in store.

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Black Eye Pea and Collard Green Soup

I then ordered their Wednesday Special, J.T.’S SPECIAL ($9.95), Belgian Sweet Potato Waffle with 3 Whole Amish Chicken Wings.  Just as the pancakes, the waffle had a beautiful texture and the sweet potato gives these waffles such a delightful and grandmotherly taste. It was like eating a good memory. If I could eat the memory of Christmas at my grandparents when i was 5 years old, this is what it would taste like.

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J.T.’s Special

Cassandra’s daughter, Espy Thomas, serves as manager and brought our dishes to us. Dressed in beautiful clothing and completely swagged out, she explained, “This restaurant is so much more to the community that just great food. We are the blood and lifeline of this neighborhood and when you’re here, you are family.”

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Espy Thomas, Manager Sweet Potato Sensations

People say that s$#% all the time, but Espy really meant it. As I sat there, a stranger, I really felt as if she was my cousin and her mom was my auntie. Like for real. The way they speak to you and check on your happiness is like no other. The way they interacted with their clientele and employees was making me a bit emotional.  To see a family by blood accept family by bond whether employee or patron was to be noted and acknowledged.

In addition to their family atmosphere, Espy works with local Detroit businesses. She has made the restaurant a small business incubator that includes a natural juice bar as well as items for sale from local and Black owned companies, including some delicious sweet tea. (I forgot the name, but if you visit, ask for the sweet tea from a brother out of Detroit, they will know what you’re talking about.)

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Fashion items for sale inside Sweet Potato Sensations
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Local artist created Afro themed mirrors for sale

It’s time for the pies!  I’ve had some good pies in my day, but the LEMON CHESS SWEETIE PIE HAD ME WEEPING! I’m dead ass serious.  You can’t get more basic than a Lemon Chess Pie. Remarkable in its simplicity, timeless in appeal, this pie is the ultimate Southern dessert item!  IT IS A MUST HAVE! Thinking about the goodness of this pie, I literally shed a tear because I thought of the thousands of people who would never know the bliss of this sweet treat. I think a prayer is in order before we continue.

Lord you know my heart! You created such an amazing world and now Sweet Potato Sensations has created a pie that can heal the world. This pie can cause family members to speak to one another when they haven’t spoken in years. It can heal the hurt from a coworker eating the lunch of another or being revealed as the office snitch! Bless this business so that others outside of the City of Detroit can experience its amazing power, including bringing it here to me in Miami. I thank you for your abundant and everlasting blessings for those reading this during Thanksgiving and thereafter. Amen.

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Mini Lemon Chess Pies
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The Hungry Black Man and deliciousness at Sweet Potato Sensations

Lastly, I had the sweet potato pie. SHOW STOPPER! Patti Labelle has NOTHING on these pies. This family makes one of the best sweet potato pies I’ve ever had with homemade crust that creates a delicious buttery taste that is both flaky and moist. Think of whoever you believe makes an amazing sweet potato pie and these pies are either equal or better!  Yes, I said it and I stand by that statement even though it might upset some people because sweet potato pies are sacred in our communities, right up there with collard greens. My God, these pies are the s$%@.  Just in time for Thanksgiving, my mouth is watering with the anticipation of buying a couple just for myself.

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Sweet Potato Sensation Products

Everything at Sweet Potato Sensations is HOMEMADE and you can taste it. The sweet potatoes are peeled in the back, slow baked, and mixed with their special and secret ingredients by Jennifer Thomas, the kitchen manager and Ms. Cassandra Thomas’s other daughter.If you plan on ordering sweet potato pies or any of their other delicious treats, make sure you call ahead of time, it gets CRAZY with demand around the holidays, as you can imagine.

Sweet Potato Sensations is a hidden gem within the Detroit area where you get treated like family and receive great service. You can even purchase amazing art, all while taking home delectable pies and other baked goods to share with your family or give as a gift. I will most definitely be flying there to get my pie for Thanksgiving and a little extra for me to eat at my leisure.

You can reach them at (313) 532-7996 or visit their website at http://sweetpotatosensations.com/.  This place receives a 10 out of 10 and of course, The Hungry Black Man’s approval!

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Written by thehungryblackman

Starex Smith is an accomplished and experienced public administrator, fundraiser, foodie, and culinary business developer who has committed himself to maximizing the Black experience in the United States! He currently serves as Vice President of Strategy and Development for Black Tech Week with over twelve (12) years of experience in managing public/private partnerships, large scale events, and nonprofits. He has successfully raised over 20 million dollars in funding for various governmental entities, food companies, and individuals. Starex has assisted countless food industry businesses successfully obtain funding, taking mom and pop storefronts to scalable businesses. His success in working with restaurants sparked a passion for food and entrepreneurship which led to the launching of Sothern Bytes, a teaching platform food business dedicated to an ever evolving food industry with a focus on technology, culture and innovation. Having constantly run into stereotyping negatively affecting his dining and vacationing experiences, Starex decided to curate great destinations, restaurants, and discuss issues surrounding being a hungry Black man. Starex completed both his Bachelor’s and Master’s coursework in Public Administration at Florida International University where he served as president of the Black Student Union and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated, Lambda Tau Chapter

2 comments

  1. Why are you the food critic GAWD to me??

    Thank you so much for showing so much AUTHENTICITY to our wonderful business in our beautiful community!

    I say “our”cuz that is literally how the Thomas family treats all customers.

    On behalf of Mama n Papa Sweet Potato, Jen and Espy, i wanna personally thank you.

    This is AWESOME.

    Crown

    Like

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