Alfocinno's Chicken Picatta
Alfocinno's Chicken Picatta

Immigrant Success Story

By Danny Raskin

There is a special place in the hearts of many in reading “Coming-to-America” success stories … So many who have warm sentimental feelings for the people who arrive and achieve coveted success.

Sunny Palaj was only 15 years old when coming here from Montenegro, near Italy … and working as a busboy in New York … and on to stints as a waiter and manager … always dreaming … never losing sight of someday owning his own eatery.

This past Oct. 3, the fine Alfoccino Italian restaurant of today on North Opdyke Road, corner of Opdyke and Walton, celebrated its 15th anniversary … purchased by Sunny in 2003 from his previous partners, Frank and Tony Shustari, who have closed their former Alfoccino in Farmington Hills … He had worked for them as a busboy in 1992 … After 10 years, Sunny was able to purchase 25 percent of the restaurant.

Alfoccino in Auburn Hills is a beautiful restaurant … with a culinary reputation that also includes a family togetherness … Sunny’s wife, Sue, is the many times happy face customers see as a banquet personage, hostess, waitress, etc. … A nephew, Mondi Bejotic, is a server … a cousin, Sam Eneli, is a bartender and server… Among the fine waitpersons is one known by many, head waitress Sandy Golich, 10 years at the now-closed Farmington Hills Alfoccino and a dining stalwart for more than 34 years.

Also, Sunny has added heavily wanted dining assortments to the menu like a Seafood Portobello for two, Shrimp Scampi, Mussels Diablo, Calamari Fritti, Polo di Milanese, Florentine, Polo di Gamberi … to go with many more selections that have made Alfoccino a big standout … These selections, plus bestsellers Chicken Piccata, Polo Tortolini, Chicken Marsala and the Italian Platter of Lasagna, Chicken Parmesan and Fettucini Alfredo, have brought many smiles of contentment.

A fresh lettuce wedge smothered with oodles of crumpled Roquefort cheese was an impressive treat … along with a fresh delicately broiled white fish … The freshness of both was most apparent.

Alfoccino does its own baking of bread and garlic rolls, etc., along with homemade sauces … And its homemade tiramisu and cannoli are choice dessert selections.

Seating is for 200, including 16 stools at a well-stocked bar … with seven-day hours, Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday, 3-11 p.m., Sunday, 4-9 p.m.

Sunny Palaj’s dream of having his own Italian restaurant has resulted in an Alfoccino of contented dining happiness.

MAIL DEPT.From Max “The Handyman” Reichstein … “I was eating one of those big mile-high corned beef sandwiches and delicious homemade potato salad at Stage Deli and have not found them as good anywhere. No scrapings like you hate. Solid meat. I get the Jewish News every week and will never forget your giving me the slogan of “You Name It – I’ll Do It,” which I have used in my ad every week in the Jewish News for over 35 years. The corned beef sandwich I had was great. The potato salad, too.”

DANDY DINING DEAL … Lake Superior white fish, 10-12 oz. … Includes soup or salad, potatoes and vegetable … Good seven days, Thursday, Jan. 17, to Wednesday, Jan. 23 … $8.50 … Village Palace. Orchard Lake Road, near Pontiac Trail, Orchard Village.

WISH I KNEW TOO DEPT. … Sylvia Samson joins the many who ask if Dave Goldfine ever gave his secret recipe for the wonderful peanut butter dressing atop the lobster at his one-time Clam Shop on East Grand Boulevard.

WHAT READERS TALK ABOUT … Large tender veal chops at Sposita’s Ristorante, West Bloomfield … Stuffed flounder at Joe Muer Seafood, Bloomfield Hills …  Truly homemade gnocchi at Café Cortina, Farmington Hills … The Sunday Brunch at Station Square, Troy … A bona fide heart doctor heading the health-only style of dining at GreenSpace Café, Ferndale.

OLDIE BUT GOODIE QUICKIES … “Nobody goes to that restaurant. It’s too crowded!” (Yogi Berra) … “My wife covered her face with mud before going to sleep.” “How did she look in the morning? “Great! The mud didn’t come off!” (Henny Youngman)

CONGRATS … To Maurice Davidson on his 90th birthday … To Jerry Light on his 90th birthday.  To Dr. Udi Kapen on his 50th birthday.

E-mail Danny at dannyraskin2132@gmail.com

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