pasta with meatballs and parsley with tomato sauce
Vince Passalacqua
Vince Passalacqua

What next?  His fertile mind seems always at work creating steady interest in his restaurant … It’s as if Vince Passalacqua wants to outdo himself in coming up with ideas at his Mario’s Restaurant on Second Avenue, Detroit.

Vince’s major ideas of a number of years ago are still going strong … as Mario’s reaches its 70th birthday in being a stalwart favorite Italian restaurant … Making many changes in Mario’s indoor decor, in food preparations like its eggplant parmesan that is lightly breaded in a lemon caper sauce that has gained much popularity, a newly renovated bar menu that serves Italian nachos, etc.

His discount show and dinner prices and shuttle service to the Fisher Theatre and back to the restaurant are still going strong … and also sometimes to the Fox Theater and other venues in Detroit … Plus Fisher cast parties every Tuesday after the show … most of them off-Broadway productions.

Even the new Little Caesars Arena is now using Mario’s shuttle.

pasta with meatballs and parsley with tomato sauce

Localite favored gent of many David Barr and Vince are longtime close friends and count each other among their favorite people … Dave hosts at the restaurant when needed, seating many customers and enjoys going into the kitchen and making his luscious desserts for many, etc. … Dave also assists Vince every Christmas, serving the senior citizens and underprivileged children of Detroit and their families … Mario’s has been doing this for 25 years, closing to the public and inviting the Detroit Children’s Center and residents of senior facilities to a holiday meal.

The large Mario’s menu includes authentic reasonably priced favorites that are so loved … Like the appetizer of Tomatoes Mario with its thin slices of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh basil in a chilled caper sauce, Mariata soup, a chicken soup with parmesan cheese, egg and fettuccine noodles, delicious linguine with a lobster marinara sauce, 11 chicken dishes, including the big favorite of chicken livers with mushrooms, Cornish hen, Spiedini of chicken, etc., and 11 seafood selections that are huge preferences … Also wonderful veal dishes galore, beef and lamb entrees, filets, steaks and lamb chops, as well as the great medallions of beef flamed with cognac, simmered in a blend of cream and tomato sauce with sherry wine.

During the big 70th anniversary month of August, Mario’s menu will have a bill of fare rolling back prices … including some highly noted items of 1948 at their costs of those days.

Yes, Mario’s of today is something to be mighty proud of … What owner Vince Passalacqua has done within the celebration of 70 years makes it an absolutely true destination restaurant to behold and certainly enjoy … It is what Mario Lelli himself might have wanted … Vince’s late dad, Frank Passalaqua, would have been so proud of his son.

RESTAURANTS OFFERING the combinations that give people a choice of varied cultures seem to go over big in today’s dining world … But years back there was one that would have made large customer appeal in present wants for these gastronomic selections … Timing was poor then with money not so loose for fooling-around spending … Ports of Call had separate rooms for each nation … Polynesian, Chinese, American foods … I don’t recall if its waitpersons were in the garb of each country and the rooms in that nation’s decor … There might have been another room for dining on what today is known as fusion … combinations or selections that could be made from all the Asian cuisines it presented … Like any restaurant, opening is a gamble … But, in the case of Ports of Call, the timing also just wasn’t right.

GRAD TIDINGS … Mumford High class of 1958 60th reunion will be on two times … at Knollwood Country Club, 5050 14 Mile Road, West Bloomfield … Dinner is Saturday, Aug. 25, 7 p.m. … A brunch at Knollwood is Sunday, Aug. 26, 9:30-11:30 a.m. … Reservations needed for either or both. For more information, call Joan Weissman, (305) 965-6484.

OLDIE BUT GOODIE … The wives of two confirmed owners of dogs were talking about their precious pets … One said to her friend, “I got a wonderful and beautiful Golden Retriever for my husband … The other woman sighed and said, “I wish I could make a trade like that.” … And how about the comic saying, “Somebody stole all my credit cards, but I won’t be reporting it. The thief spends less than my wife did.” … Or that Henny Youngman classic: “She was at the beauty shop for two hours. That was only for an estimate. She then got a mudpack and looked great for two days … Then the mud fell off.”

CONGRATS … To Ray Horenstein on his birthday … To Hy Hornentein on his birthday … To Lila Lazarus on her birthday … To Terry T. Brown on his 70th birthday.

Danny’s email address is