Pepino's Food

Pepino’s still pleases as it celebrates 36 years.

Although he was very highly thought of as the former executive chef for Henry Ford II and Lee Iacocca, Joe Bernardi and his wife, Helma, wanted to have their own restaurant.

After taking a small, run-down location in Walled Lake, little did they realize it would one day be named on a State of Michigan best restaurants list … as Pepino’s Restaurant hits birthday No. 36.

It was the beginning of a wonderful bevy of words for Pepino’s, then in Walled Lake … The place was completely renovated and enlarged … with people trying the new restaurant … and walking away asking each other if they were sure to make a reservation to come back.
Joe and Helma had taken the name his mother had given him when calling Joe their “little pepino” … thus its title.

Carol Carson, Kathy Morley and Dr. Chris Hutchinson photo
Carol Carson, Kathy Morley and Dr. Chris Hutchinson

Following the passing of Joe and Helma, their gracious daughters, Kathy Kwiecinski (now Morley) and Carol Carson, plus Judy Bernardi, married to their son, David Bernardi, took over running the wonderful and today’s famous Pepino’s, while grandson Rick Sinkevics would take time serving during the off seasons of his landscape business.

The next impression was the servers bringing over delicious marinated white beans and a basket of garlic toast, brown soda bread with raisins (a taste like honey cake) white bread and sticks.

Seldom has a restaurant made such an impact into the dining scene! … Pepino’s had become a rightful dollar value sensation that so many called their own culinary discovery.

Pepino’s became a dining favorite from the day it first opened its doors … a true
family-operated restaurant … where one or more family members were always on the premises … and Kathy’s husband then, Ray Kwiecinski, was always behind the bar … assisted on Saturday evenings by Judy’s husband, David.

Pepino's Food
Pepino’s Food

Pepino’s has never known many boundaries … The huge favorite pan-fried rainbow trout, petite frog legs, lamb chops, white fish, soft-shelled crabs, pasta, veal, steaks, chicken pot pies, excellent baby-back ribs, swordfish, salmon, char-broiled chicken breast, butterfly shrimp, scallops, Angus prime rib, New York sirloin, pasta, chicken breast, filets, etc., etc., etc.

Then came the devastating fire and move to Orchard Lake Road in Sylvan Lake, next to Keego Harbor … its present location.

Pepino’s today is owned by Kathy Morley, Carol Carson and Dr. Chris Hutchinson … During the present terrible crisis, carry-out only is available but limited to five entrees or family style.

OLDIE BUT GOODIE … Fellow meets his future son-in-law and asks what he does for a living. “I study the Torah,” the boy replies.

“But you are going to marry my daughter. How will you feed and house her?” asks the father.

“No problem,” says the son-in-law-to-be. “I study the Torah and God will provide.”

The father goes home, and his wife asks what their son-in-law-to-be is like … “He is a lovely boy. I just met him, and he already thinks I’m God.”

CONGRATS … To Keri Cohen on her birthday … To Ed Radner on his birthday … To George Lucaj on his birthday.

Danny’s email address is


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