Smita Ahluwalia didn't set out to become a chef—she's a doctor by profession—but when the lifelong foodie found the spice blends available in American supermarkets drab, she had to intervene. In 2007, she founded Peacock Spice Company, which distributes flavorful Indian spice blends across the country. In the process of growing her first company, Smita realized that the international foods market in India wasn't very developed and decided to bring one of her favorite foods overseas with Oye Crepes.
Today, the quick-serve restaurant has three locations—two in India and one in Detroit—that serve a mix of sweet and savory crepes. A plain crepe has just 1.5 grams of fat and can make a nutritious meal filled with fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs. But Oye also has decadent crepes such as the french kiss, which is filled with strawberries, nutella, vanilla ice cream, and chocolate sauce, then brought to the table by Gérard Depardieu.
The staff at Hoffman's Deco Deli & Caf? don?t just pile meats and cheeses onto sandwiches. They attentively make their bread from scratch, baking loaves of sourdough, marble rye, and multigrain for dozens of signature sandwiches. These handheld meals include the signature HDD, an amalgamation of ham, turkey, roast beef, provolone and cheddar cheese, and dill-mayo spread. Other sandwiches, which range from standard deli offerings to unique creations, provide bites as diverse as green apples, garlic-pepper seasoning, bacon, and coleslaw.
Bread isn?t the only thing coming out of the ovens. Hoffman's also bakes sheets of giant cookies, including peanut-butter espresso and cherry white-chocolate oatmeal. Customers can complete meals with a cappuccino?just one of several gourmet coffee selections made with Michigan-roasted beans?or fresh fruit smoothies with extra blasts of protein or flax.
“Cooking runs in the family,” says head chef Vito Cangemi of Olio’s Bistro & Cuisine. He’s referring to a childhood spent watching his aunt, also a chef, work her culinary magic in his hometown of Palermo, Italy. As a result, Vito relies on family recipes that he states are “straight from Sicily." The menu proves as much with its mottle of pasta, chicken, seafood, steak, and subs. Vito whips up everything from scratch, including his signature dish, penne alla Vito—chicken, shrimp, spinach, and cherry tomatoes in a light sauce. Of course, no Italian meal would be complete without a pour from the wine list and a hand-puppet rendition of the Aeneid.
The chefs at Taboon Middle Eastern Cuisine grill flame-kissed meats, fry crispy falafel patties, and puree vats of creamy hummus to give diners an authentic taste of faraway lands. Meals might start with an order of grape leaves stuffed with lamb and rice or a shareable sample platter, and then move on to an entree of beef shish kebabs or skewered shrimp. The restaurant's full bar stocks wines, beers, and well drinks, while a selection of fruit juices comes fresh squeezed from the juice tree.
For more than 35 years, Latina Restaurant & Pizzeria has filled its memorabilia-clad dining room with hearty Italian and American dishes. Cheese melts atop house-made Goofy Bread, which heralds entrees such as Tuscan-style chicken ravioli filled with roasted chicken, onion, celery, and parsley. Specialty pizzas shake up traditional pie paradigms with unorthodox offerings such as the Cajun, topped with italian sausage, smoked gouda, and Cajun spices. Guests can tuck into Angus burgers or breaded ravioli poppers in Latina Restaurant & Pizzeria’s newly remodeled dining room, or root for their favorite sports team or spectator in the adjacent sports bar area.
Vics shares the same owners and brick-and-mortar space with the Italian eatery Ruggero?s, and if they were brothers, Vics would be the laid-back one. Vintage lampposts illuminate the long, wooden bar adorned with decals of beer bottles. Fisherman ropes wind around posts that run across the entire interior. In the back, weathered wood panels cover the wall, and a flat screen TV hangs above bistro tables and a cozy booth. The menu consists of beer and pizzas crafted from dough made fresh daily. Vics? chefs top crusts with such ingredients as broccoli, banana peppers, Italian sausage, pepperoni, and mushrooms.