A bright neon sign greets diners as they enter Elite Pizzeria, where pizzas rise within brick ovens and sandwiches swell with certified Saad Halal meats. Chefs adorn burgers with hearty toppings of grilled mushrooms, bacon, and eggs, while whipping up a menu of traditional Mediterranean gyros and shawarma. Upon request, the dexterous bakers can sculpt their brick-oven pizzas into the shape of a heart, the silhouette of a kitty cat, or the profile of Susan B. Anthony.
Further cultivating Elite's fun, whimsical reputation, the restaurant's burger challenge has enticed nearly 150 intrepid contestants with a lofty tower of beef patties, mushrooms, bacon, onion rings, and sauerkraut. This surfeit of merriment all occurs within the warm embrace of red walls that shine down onto the restaurant's casual, WiFi-saturated dining area and tabletops that bask beneath the sun on an outdoor patio.
Joined by her husband and close friends, founder Denise Mehl sought to create a space where parents could enjoy a good cup of coffee while watching their children play in a safe and soft environment. The result is Jungle Java, where tykes traipse through a well-padded multilevel maze of forest huts and treehouses. Toddlers can take time away from the fray in a separate safari area equipped with soft tunnels, slides, and age-appropriate cryptograms. As children romp, parents plunk themselves in the soft folds of a leather couch or power through some work on the free WiFi network. Jungle Java's café carries a menu of coffee drinks, smoothies, and snacks that include all-beef hot dogs and turkey and avocado sandwiches on eight-grain bread.
Fiamma Grille elevates the local dining scene with elegant takes on a steak house's bill of fare. Like a slice of bread nibbled into the shape of a mitten, the menu is a testament to state pride, with chefs striving to source each tasting plate of Leelanau cheese, dish of Maple Leaf Farms roasted duck, and platter of handmade pasta from Michigan producers whenever possible. Fiamma Grille's dedication to whipping up consistently pleasing tapas, aged steaks, and seafood earned it a spot on Gayot's Top 10 Steak Houses in Detroit list. In addition, its litany of fine California vinos won an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator.
Cooks toss pizza crusts, the pillowy dough puffing out as it falls back through the air into their hands. To allow those with specific diets to enjoy them, the crew crafts gluten- and dairy-free pies, which arrive to tables along with pastas. Drawing on nearly four decades of culinary experimentation, the family of owners bustles among steaming pots and crowded cutting boards, forging seafood specialties such as broiled lobster tail. The eatery’s sprawling banquet room seats 70 people for special occasions or announcements that 61 people are cut from the softball team.
Peals of laughter rise from families around the granite tabletops at which hibachi chefs crack jokes and flip shrimp over the grill. At Ichiban Steakhouse, expert grillers don black chef suits and show off their skill at slicing and searing chicken, steak, and seafood. Flanked by dark wood walls, nearby sushi chefs slice fresh fish to wrap tightly in specialty rolls. Five tatami rooms provide semiprivate spaces for business meals, romantic outings, or discreet transformations into a werewolf.