Molly Abraham

Inducted 2024

Molly Abraham

restaurant critic, Detroit Free Press

For generations of readers in southeast Michigan and beyond, the name Molly Abraham was synonymous with just one thing: restaurant reviews. In an illustrious career that spanned seven decades, Molly’s stylish, detailed, unpretentious dining critiques graced nearly every publication in Metro Detroit at one time or another. In fact, she surely was the only journalist in Michigan history to have written for the long-defunct Detroit Times, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News (twice), Oakland Press, the newspaper-strike-inspired Detroit Sunday Journal and HOUR Detroit magazine.

Over thousands of reviews, in a medium that rarely creates household-name celebrities, Molly Abraham was a legitimate Detroit icon — even though her photo byline covered half her face with a giant menu. The Free Press, upon stealing her away from the rival News in 1981, hailed her as “one of this city’s best-known newspaper personalities.”

Readers trusted her; chefs and restaurant owners feared her, yet respected the fact that, unlike many writers who take the word “critic” to heart, Molly was consistently fair, thorough and complimentary whenever possible. “To be featured in a Molly column meant you had made it…and in some cases, wished you could crawl underneath a rock,” recalls former Detroit celebrity chef Keith Famie. “Molly is as much responsible for Detroit’s unique culinary heritage as any of us chefs.”

A Detroit native and University of Detroit graduate, Molly understood the unique cultural mix of its people and their dining choices. She was just as likely to review the swankiest upscale eatery as a neighborhood’s favorite greasy spoon. As she once explained, “I want people to tell, from what I’ve written, if the spot is a place they might want to go to themselves, or one they’re pretty sure they want to skip. I run interference for them.”

Beyond that, Molly was a shining light wherever she worked and a friend and mentor to countless fellow journalists. She helped lead the organizing drive that unionized the News editorial department for the first time in history and walked out with her fellow union members in the newspaper strike of 1995. For a writer whose career began in an era where women were relegated to the “society page” to become one of Detroit’s most popular and respected journalists is nothing short of remarkable. That was Molly Abraham. She died of natural causes in 2023, but her impact may never be forgotten.