You're probably thinking, "That sounds great, but I've never bought a car or a computer without first reading the Wikipedia definitions for car and computer—I'm not about to buy a Groupon either without a briefing." Well, neither would we, and since this is everyone's first Groupon, allow us to briefly explain how it works.
Since 1968, Vendetti's has dished out Italian subs, salads, pizza, and pasta to a loyal clientele. The eponymous "Spanky" (a homemade sub roll stuffed with mozzarella, pepperoni, and signature red sauce for $5.75), is served fresh daily with a cup of oil and vinegar that it cannot resist dunking its dense, bready head in. Other favorites include meatball, grilled-chicken, and veggie subs and the turkey antipasto brimming with lettuce, turkey, swiss cheese, tomatoes, black olives, and pepper rings ($6.95). Take home a pizza ($6.49–$7.99) or family pasta dinner (serves five to eight people for $24.95) laden with homemade meat sauce and parmesan, plus salad and bread, to feed your family/friends/life-size cardboard cutouts of the 1974 Cincinnati Bengals. Enjoy a low-key meal in Vendetti's dining room, or carry out and dine at home, in the park, or on the roof of your old high school.
At Tokyo Sushi & Grill, chefs spin out plates of authentic Asian eats alongside a sumptuous spread of quality sushi. Fish fans can fill their tuna tanks with mouthwatering morsels of white tuna ($2.25), yellowtail ($2.25), belly tuna ($4.25), or spicy tuna ($6.50), or mix and match any number of specialty sushi items to create a custom conglomeration of fresh fish, sticky rice, and chopped veggies. Complementing the sushi-heavy repertoire, Tokyo Sushi & Grill draws from the deep wells of Japanese and Thai culinary traditions. The shrimp tempura finds deep-fried succulent jumbo shrimp sharing prime plate real estate with battered vegetables and a tangy dipping sauce ($7.95 for lunch; $9.95 for dinner), and the crazy noodles entree earns its name by throwing together egg noodles, onions, carrots, pea pods, and bean sprouts in a mad mash-up, paired with your choice of protein and 17 copies of The Catcher in the Rye ($7.95–$10.95).
Rivulets of chocolate syrup mark the frothy peaks of whipped cream that top Idle Awhile Coffee's signature coffee drink, the Whipaccino. At this coffee shop, no one will blame you if you forgo a traditional latte or cappuccino for this frosty treat. They also wouldn't blame you if you used the free Wi-Fi, not for work, but to simply pass some time. In fact, nothing makes husband-and-wife owners Pat and Sandra Ball more pleased than when their customers stop in for a little downtime, daydreaming as they sip their coffee drinks, nibble on a baked good, and admire the local art hung on the walls and on the underside of each table.
But despite the laid back vibe, this shop takes its craft seriously. The coffee is sourced from Saugatuck's Uncommon Grounds, a company that purchases beans from small farms and roasts them in small batches. The baked goods, meanwhile, are all made in house by staffer Amy Soffran, who is known as much for her joyful laugh as her delicious lemon bars and scones. And Pat and Sandra have also put a lot of thought into the way their cafe looks, decorating the space with creature comforts such as over-stuffed armchairs, and decking the outdoor patio with swings.
In June of 1998, the first Bellacino’s threw open its doors and released oven-baked grinders into the world—and the world couldn't get enough. The Lake Orion location, now under new ownership, proves that the tradition continues, claiming three titles in The Lake Orion Review's Best of the Best issue in 2012. Locally owned and operated Bellacino’s restaurants have sprung up like wild pepperonis across the United States, outfitting tables with made-from-scratch italian sandwiches and thin, gooey pizzas dotted with classic toppings. Crusty italian bread insulates Cajun-seasoned chicken and turkey and creative stuffers, such as crab or taco meat. Pasta favorites such as spaghetti and fettuccine alfredo curl around forks, and crisp salads keep meals lighter than a bird on an all-helium diet.
What look like kaleidoscope cross-sections on the walls of Rangoli Indian Cuisine are actually examples of a generations-old folk art. Rangoli is an Indian tradition, and consists of decorating courtyards, houses, and places of worship with these flowering patterns. The Rangoli paintings here are by famed Indian artist Dr. Dinesh Sharma, and they showcase several types of intricate designs.
The artwork is a perfect complement to the food, which is just as authentic and detailed. The lengthy menu features signature entrees such as mint- and papaya-rubbed racks of lamb, and clay oven-roasted butter chicken. At the full-service Auburn Hills location, diners can also take advantage of a lunch buffet every day of the week. Aspiring chefs can even turn to Rangoli for cooking classes, instead of staying home and testing their dishes on mannequin focus groups.