Posts Tagged ‘Foodie’

Royal Oak’s O.W.L. — A Must-Try

Last month, I mentioned the opening of O.W.L. — a new 24-hour diner in the long-vacant Onion Roll Deli space in Royal Oak (27302 Woodward Ave.). This month, I implore you to visit and promise you’ll be impressed. The revamped facade is simple and modern. The old sign stuck around, but it’s been painted black…

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Republica

We strive to be a food and beverage operation that caters to the immediate area, a neighborhood place where families and young couples can come and enjoy themselves,” said Petro Drakopoulos, co-owner with restaurateur Keith Omand of Republica — Food and Drink Revolution in Berkley.

Since opening in September, I’m happy to report that Republica rocks.

The story goes that Drakopoulos, most recently the general manager of Texas de Brazil in Downtown Detroit, moved from Chicago in 2011 to marry Omand’s daughter, Alexis. Drakopoulos previously held corporate management posts with Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches and Marriott Renaissance Hotel.

The partners sought “a great location for a restaurant in an underserved area” and believe they’ve found it in Berkley. Republica is across Coolidge Highway from Huntington Woods and a couple blocks north of Oak Park’s 11 Mile Road border.

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Moo Cluck Moo

Moo Cluck Moo (such a cute name!) is attracting media attention for being a “different” kind of fast-food operation. Located in Dearborn Heights, it offers much-higher-than-average wages for employees along with healthier food and beverage options.
Because I’m interested in these things, I naturally had to see this place for myself. It was an easy drive from Oakland County to the tiny storefront on the east side of Telegraph, just past Joy Road. Moo Cluck Moo, shorthand for “beef, poultry and dairy” — the brief menu’s specialties — is neighbors with a muffler shop and a tattoo parlor.

No, wait! It gets better.

Compared to most fast-food workers — including an estimated 53,000 in Metro Detroit — Moo Cluck Moo employees are contented cows and chickens. (Or bulls and roosters? They were at work in the open kitchen.) Their counterparts in 60 cities across the U.S. have participated lately in strikes to protest being paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, or a little beyond that. By contrast, Moo Cluck Moo founders Brian Parker and Harry Moorhouse will be improving their staff pay to $15 hourly, the so-called “living wage,” on Oct. 1. This is up from the current $12.

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Mike Larco’s A La Carte

Immigrant Ernesto Larco’s authentic Italian recipes and traditions made him an outstanding restaurateur in New England. In 1952, sons Pete, Nick and Mike Larco in Detroit parlayed the family legacy to success at Larco’s Inn on West McNichols, west of Livernois.

Other eateries with the Larco name came and went during the following years, but since October 2012, the next delicious chapter for the family is written six nights a week at Mike Larco’s A La Carte in Sylvan Lake.

The down-to-earth Mike Larco learned the business working alongside his father, Pete, and uncles. Mike also spent several years cooking at Lelli’s, another landmark Detroit restaurant, founded by his Uncle Nerio and Aunt Irene (formerly Larco) Lelli. That’s a heritage!

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Breakfast At Recipes

Don’t let the white tablecloths and fresh flowers fool you. Recipes restaurant in Farmington Hills looks upscale, but it’s a reasonably priced family restaurant offering very good food and attentive service. Open for breakfast through dinner, Recipes is in a strip shopping center on the southeast corner of Grand River at Haggerty in Farmington Hills.

Duc Vu has been a partner in Recipes, co-managing with his wife, Michelle, since they opened in 2009. He used his architectural training to design a soothing space with clean lines.

Trung Huynh, a friend of Vu’s from the Vietnamese community, got him going at this second Recipes outpost. Huynh and a former business partner started the original and still successful Recipes in Troy in 2003. It’s at 2919 Crooks Road, south of Big Beaver (16 Mile). Vu said he doesn’t foresee any more locations.

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Upscale Kosher

Welcome, Jerusalem Bistro & Cafe!

Brian Jacobs, president of Jerusalem Pizza, listened to customers at his kosher pizzeria inside the West Bloomfield Jewish Community Center by giving them the something more than they’d been asking for — a full-service, sit-down restaurant with additional kosher dining options. Jacobs and managing partner Paul Engel made sure the food would be tasty, too.

The menu for Jerusalem Bistro & Cafe was quietly rolled out toward the end of February, delighting guests with its vegetable, dairy and fish choices. They run the gamut from appetizers, soups and salads to wrap sandwiches, entrees and pasta choices. Children’s meals are also available.

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Maccabees at Midtown

Fans of Gateway Deli, the 17-year mainstay of the Harvard Row Shopping Center in Southfield, might want to take a look at restaurateur Peter Berishaj’s newest and most impressive venture: Maccabees at Midtown.

Berishaj officially opened his restaurant-bar just after New Year’s Day inside an Albert Kahn-designed, 1927 building on Woodward Avenue at Warren in Detroit. The Gothic Revival-style skyscraper is on the National Register of Historic Places and close to the Detroit Institute of Arts.

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Mezza Mediterranean Grille

Baba ghannouj, an appetizer I sampled recently at the new (since March) Mezza Mediterranean Grille in Southfield, completely lived up to the restaurant group’s descriptive bywords: “Healthy. Fresh. Delicious.”

I’ve never enjoyed a better rendition of the smoky chargrilled eggplant dip made with tahini, lemon juice and garlic. It’s available a la carte or as part of the Mezza Starter, a trio of appetizers I recommend that includes wonderfully creamy hummus, a blend of chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and hint of garlic, and tabbouli, a mixture of fresh parsley, tomatoes, scallions and cracked wheat tossed with a house-made olive oil and herb dressing.

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China Ruby

You’re hungry, perhaps on a date, and don’t have loads of money to spend on a meal. My best recommendation is to visit China Ruby, a Chinese restaurant in downtown Ferndale.

In a storefront that once housed an American-style diner, China Ruby is noted for its delicious and inexpensive Szechuan, Hunan and Cantonese cuisine. For starters, try the tangy hot-and-sour soup with its generous slices of white meat chicken. How often do you get chicken in this kind of soup — and for as little as $1.85?

Everything prepared or served at China Ruby is given the attention typical of a small family-owned restaurant. The owners, Tina Co and Cuong Luu, are Chinese and originally from Vietnam. They met in the Ypsilanti-Ann Arbor area. Co, with some assistance, handles the front of the house, where she quickly learns the names of regular diners. Luu is a self-taught chef, who works his magic behind the scenes.

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Gastronomy

You’ll check your winter woes at the door entering tranquil Gastronomy, A Modern American Bistro, on the ground floor of Southfield’s 17-story Baker Tilly Building. Yes, finding the place is a little tricky, even with the high-rise’s name clearly marked on top. I took 11 Mile Road and turned on Corporate Drive, east of Lahser. Others drive through the sprawling Towne Center complex off Evergreen. Just keep looking up!

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