Dean Cicala
By Danny Raskin
By Danny Raskin

Among his main determinations in life was to someday own his own Italian restaurant … Another was to have a menu that would contain many dishes of his own creation.

After stays as manager at Gary Tringale’s Joey’s on Jefferson, Geralino’s Pizza and Tringale’s New York Deli … and stints at La Dolce Vita and Benno’s, owner Dean Cicala has finalized those goals with his opening two years ago of Osteria 222 on Michigan Avenue, between Military and Howard in downtown Dearborn, former site of Bistro 222.

This quality dining experience, featuring Italian and Sicilian regional cuisine, is like an exclusive restaurant with dishes seldom or never seen on other Italian menus … Most of the dishes on Osteria 222’s menu are from Dean’s own recipes … Some may have the same name, but Dean’s have a different taste and look and are all homemade … Dishes like Tagliatwelle Bosco, hand-rolled, homemade with sausage, tomato cream sauce and truffle oil … Or best-sellers like the 8-ounce grass-fed filet with Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, eggplant, spinach, mushrooms and a beef sauce … chicken lasagna with handmade pasta, roasted chicken, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, white sauce and pecorino romano … persico croccante, pan-sauteed lake perch with Yukon Gold potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower and lemon cream sauce.

Dean Cicala
Dean Cicala

It is noteworthy that all meat, poultry and fish at Osteria 222 are from local farms in Michigan and Indiana … Dean and his staff make all the soups (corn chowder is prepared with fresh corn on the cob), dressings, stocks and desserts in-house … All pastas are prepared to order.

Osteria 222 is also the favorite of many top brass officials at Ford Motor Company in Dearborn … along with numerous sports stars who can be found there regularly.

Live jazz music is featured every Saturday evening from 7-10 p.m. … Beer, wine and alcoholic drinks are amply available.

Osteria 222 is a six-day operation … Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. lunch … Monday-Saturday, 5-10 p.m. dinner … Seating in the main dining room is for 60 … An office space above the restaurant has been renovated for banquet seating to accommodate 100 guests.

Ethnic restaurants for the most part usually stay among the dishes of their culture … It is unusual when one deviates from the culinary course of its homeland and goes down its own path.

Osteria 222 is the different kind of Italian restaurant that so many may have heard about but never been to … Dean Cicala’s ambition has made it that type of operation, and those who have been there enjoy its diversified styles of Italian dining.

MAIL DEPT. … The outpouring of email keeps coming in following the recent column on Joe Vicari opening a second Joe Muer Seafood on the Northwest Side, like Detroit’s fine eatery at Renaissance Center, Detroit.

“Thanks for telling us about Joe Muer opening a second restaurant closer to home. I cried with joy because it is my favorite restaurant,” Melanie Berman … “Wonderful restaurant. Joe will do great on the Northwest Side,” Mickey Shapiro … “I am excited to hear it will be in the old Northern Lakes location,” Alan Borsen … “Close by for great seafood!” Al Holtz … “Wonderful!” Dr. Michael Salter … “Thanks to Joe Vicari, Dorothy and I will now be able to get to a Joe Muer Seafood restaurant whenever we come to visit the hometown,” Sam Essick, California … “It will be terrific in the suburbs!” Dr. Alan Silverman … “You write that it will be like the one in Detroit? If so, it will also be fantastic!” Russi Arden … “Another Joe Muer Seafood restaurant? Wowee, it has always been my favorite!” Joe Cornell, California … “What a great move! Only a fine restaurateur like Joe Vicari would think of this. His Andiamo restaurants and Joe Muer seafood in Detroit are wonderful!” Jerry Naftaly, author and former Oak Park mayor… “Joe Vicari certainly has a fine string of high-quality restaurants with Andiamo and Joe Muer Seafood places, and Northern Oakland County residents will now love having a second Joe Muer.” Susan Sherbow … “I ate a lot of Joe Muer Seafood to lose 250 pounds and still do to keep it off. After you wrote a column of a second one soon coming to this area, I am even more excited!” Ida Nemzin.

MAKING ROUNDS DEPT. … To Bacco, Southfield, for hand-rolled pasta … To Tom’s Oyster Bar, Royal Oak, for oven-roasted sea bass … To Steve & Rocky’s, Novi, for pan-seared sea scallops.

IF THEY HAD A JEWISH MOTHER Dept. … To Moses, “That’s a good story! Now tell me where you’ve been for the last 40 years!”

2,500 MILES FROM here, but in a small world, a shock of almost 50 years came when Joe Cornell, former local dance master and dance school owner, living in Thousand Oaks, Calif., was sent to a sleep study doctor … When introduced to the doctor as Joseph Coronella and finding that both were from the Southfield/Oak Park area, Joe asked the doc if he had ever heard of Joe Cornell … “Sure, he was emcee at my bar mitzvah. And I worked for him after school in the 12th grade.” … The surprise came when Joe told Dr. Ronald Popper that he was that same Joe Cornell … Yes, 50 years might make quite a difference in one’s looks.

OLDIE BUT GOODIE DEPT. … Sidney wanted desperately to get into the very private synagogue sanctuary on Yom Kippur, but without a ticket he was absolutely not allowed to enter. Sidney pleaded heavily that he wanted to give a message to Morris.

The man at the door politely said, “Sorry, sir, but you must have a ticket.”

Sidney begged, “Please let me in for just one minute. I promise you I will be right out.”

“All right,” says the man at the door, “but I better not catch you praying!”

CONGRATS … To Mark Zarkin on his birthday … To Wendy Flusty on her birthday … To Pam Smith on her birthday … To Marvin Talan on his 90th birthday.

Danny’s email address is