Our History

In 1949, brothers-in-law “Buster” Blancke and “Van” VanHollebecke, in a ramshakle building at the Detroit River (previously the site of a prohibition-era speakeasy, and also once owned by the sister of a Detroit mayor) opened Sindbad’s. Named for, arguably, the best known sailor in history, the spot became the Detroit River Racing Association’s gathering spot and quickly gained popularity as a place offering good food and wet goods, a convivial atmosphere and good prices. That hasn’t changed.

As you can see from some of the pictures, through the years, Sindbads has bumped out some walls, added a room or two and, basically, grown.  In 1984, we lost Buster, and the following year Van retired.  Marc, Brian and Denise Blancke stepped in and have run the operation since then. In 1989, The Sohar Room was added as a spot with year ’round availability for meetings and other functions, and it also serves as a  popular entertainment hub during the summer, with live bands appearing in June, July and August.

In 1998, in preparation for our 50th anniversary, the entire main floor and bar were remodeled, with larger tables and new chairs installed.  Over 3,000 feet of mahogany inlay was used and, keeping the nautical affiliation intact, marine hardware was utilized on the new cabinetry; that’s also a thrifty, Belgian touch in that the hardware will last longer and works better.  If it has been a while since you’ve been by, stop in and see the changes. Everything else is pretty much the same: we still hand-crumble the Blue Cheese, the chowder and chili are still terrific.  While we continually look for ways to improve our offerings and service, we hold pretty close to our basic ways: we meet and greet our customers like the good friends they are. We serve good, basic food in generous quantity and constantly strive to improve our quality and value.