Ciao Italian Bistro

New Italian fine-dining spot worth a visit.

A new restaurant takes over the former location of five previous eateries as it now becomes Ciao Italian Bistro … on Orchard Lake Road, West Bloomfield … the previous sites of Sign of the Beefcarver, Chuck Daly’s Great Northern, West Bloomfield’s Great Northern, Big Daddy’s Parthenon and Huerto.

No. 6 has already attained high grades in serving good Italian fare in the completely remodeled atmosphere with its clean, elegant look of white tablecloths on both tables and upholstered booths … The only sight remaining is the ever-present fireplace, there through all decor changes.

First impressions are almost always a most welcomed key to smiles … and this is readily obtained upon entering and being greeted by the familiar beam of hostess/waitress Senada Suknaj, who many may recall seeing from other dining locales.

Robert Lulgjuraj and Mike Vulaj
Robert Lulgjuraj and Mike Vulaj

And there is Robert Lulgjuraj, on premises at all times, owner/partner with brother Nick Lulgjuraj, brother-in-law chef Mike Vulaj (also making Mike’s own choice desserts like Tiramisu and Crème Brulee) and brother-in-law Tony Vulaj … at their Tallulah’s in Birmingham, Ciao Amici’s in Brighton and Fenton, and Americus in Brighton and Milford … Certainly no slouch operations in desired dining.

Robert was a former 10-year general manager for Joe Vicari at his Andiamo restaurants … and, at one time, no stranger to the new Ciao location, being an easily recognized previous server at the former Big Daddy’s Greek eatery … and before that a busboy and then waiter at Larco’s of Troy … My server at the new Ciao, Rafael Parida, was also a former Big Daddy’s busboy.

The strikingly fresh look is coupled with a good sensible menu of numerous much-wanted Italian selections … including a lamb shank bestseller that easily may be classed among the best to be had … together with a wine selection of more than 1,000 choice vinos … in a most relaxed atmosphere of soft elegance … without the higher cost as might be expected with such fine dining.

Seating in the main dining room is for more than 300 … a striking banquet room of 120 in a relaxed setting, plus long bar with 20 stools … and a 70-seat outdoor patio.

Ciao Italian BistroThe first two weeks Ciao was not open for lunch … However, it has since been added to the hours … Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday, noon to 9 p.m.

The addition of Ciao Italian Bistro brings another welcomed addition to West Bloomfield’s culinary goodness reputation.

THANK-YOU DEPT. … “I want to share an uplifting experience my wife, Sue, and I recently had at 5th Tavern on Telegraph Road, Bloomfield Township.

“We regularly dine there and, recently, with friends Dr. Ed and Laura Cohn, we enjoyed a sumptuous dinner and excellent service.

“Returning home, and over an hour after leaving the restaurant, I realized my wallet was gone. In indescribable distress, a frantic search followed then a desperate phone plea to a hostess. Not 10 minutes later, one of the managers, John Winkworth, called back. Under the table where we were seated, he found the wallet and secured it safely.

“You cannot believe how relieved I was and how elated to find its very important contents 100 percent intact.

“We were thrilled at such goodwill and professionalism and heartily applaud the 5th Tavern restaurant’s wonderful employees, most notably John Winkworth.

“Compliments were mailed to the owners, but I wanted to share my almost disastrous experience” … Joel Seidman, M.D.

MAIL DEPT.from Ernest Borden… “We had a great seafood meal on the way to our cottage Up North. The restaurant was a little spot that didn’t serve many options, but this one sure hit the spot. Wish I would have had it when I owned Ernie’s Chalet, years back. It was covered from top to bottom with scallops, shrimps and mussels in a juicy tomato and dill sauce that was terrific. Our two sons Jeremy and David had two helpings each. My wife, Sarah, and I helped them, of course; there was so much.”

THAT WONDERFUL 14-ounce prime rib super special … $14.95 … Saturdays from 5 p.m. (until they run out) at Georges Family Restaurant on Northwestern, north of 14 Mile, West Bloomfield, includes soup or salad, potato and vegetable.

OLDIE BUT GOODIE … The young couple was engaged in an affectionate embrace when there came the sound of a key in the front door. The young lady broke away at once, eyes wide with alarm and cried, “It’s my husband. Quick, jump out the window.”

The young man, equally alarmed, made a quick step toward the window, then stopped. “I can’t,” he said. “We’re on the 13th floor.”

“For heaven’s sake!” cried the exasperated young lady. “This is no time to be superstitious!”

CONGRATS … To Pamela “Pam” Turner on her birthday … To Mel Seffinger on his 90th birthday.

Danny’s email address is


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