Carrying on the tradition of his father Labib Hajjar, a restaurateur who opened the original Poco Piatti location on Monroe Street, Elias Hajjar and his wife Joy have created a welcoming new space where locals can experience Mediterranean cuisine. Diners choose from Greek classics including moussaka, Italian-inspired dishes such as prosciutto crepes with basil and homemade sundried-tomato sauce, or Middle Eastern-style kabobs with swordfish or beef tenderloin. The owners have designed the interior to resemble a Spanish villa—the mural above the bar colorfully depicts rolling Mediterranean hills, and a stone oven churns out freshly baked pita bread or lights the miniature Olympic torches of waiters jogging by.
Since 1996, Labib has given back to the community as the co-chairperson of Share our Strength's Taste of the Nation Toledo, an annual food and wine event that, according to The Toledo Blade, raised more than $100,000 to help fight childhood hunger in 2011. Elias also follows in his father's community-minded footsteps by electing to source his ingredients from local suppliers.
Whitehouse Inn's America-themed menu sates appetites for classic domestic fare such as steaks and burgers, and the presidential portraits that line the walls encourage scintillating historical conversations. In honor of the 27th president for which it is named, the mushroom-topped William Taft dish of char-grilled beef is slathered with onions and thick beef gravy to help grease it out of a too-small bathtub ($11.99). Platters of juicy prime rib range from 8-ounce AARP cuts ($11.99) to 36-ounce presidential cuts ($35.99), and all arrive with Secret Service escorts of a salad or soup, dinner rolls, and choice of side. Oval-office burgers such as the hickory burger with barbecue sauce and bacon ($6.99+) resolve international disputes with the help of a neutral mushroom-swiss burger ($6.99+). Pair any dish with a selection of sides, including sweet-potato french fries and waffle fries that emigrated from France on a buoyant waffle iron.
When it comes to the Fratello's heaping portions of lasagna and chicken piccata, you'll want to do some sharing of your own. That's doubly true on Sundays, when the restaurant loads their brunch buffet with custom omelets, belgian waffles, and biscuits with made-from-scratch gravy.
At The Lazy Chameleon, chefs bring out the best in fresh seafood with tropical flourishes: they serve back-fin crab cakes with creole mustard, for instance, and drizzle cilantro-lime sauce over blackened tilapia. The environs are similarly subtropical, with hanging fishnets and verdant plants enlivening the dining room. In keeping with the jovial atmosphere, guests can try out experimental dance moves to the beat of live music four nights a week or feel the adrenaline rush that accompanies winning a card game at euchre night on Tuesday.
For more than 42 years, Gracie See Pastaria's repertoire of cheese-dripping specialty pizzas and rib-sticking pasta platters has satisfied cravings for flavorful Italian fare. Launch a two-person feast rocket with the Clucker—a flock of wings, buffalo wings, chicken tenders, and miniature tacos—or gather four folks and cram for a popper quiz with a 20-piece study guide of deep-fried broccoli and cheese. Marinara-drenched main courses include pasta options such as healthy whole-wheat mostaccioli and the Godfather plate, with its large extended family of italian sausage, homemade meatballs, and mushrooms. Flattened stacks of pepperoni, sausage, and green pepper litter the Sicilian pie, and the spicy Middle Eastern Explosion shakes hands with halal ingredients, onions, and garlic. Meatless munchers might try the cheese ravioli or split the vegetarian pizza. These Roman repasts may be washed down with a glass of wine, soda, or beer, or enjoyed Italian-style with a quart of olive oil.
Overlooking the Detroit River, Sindbads augments its surf 'n' turf menu with a marina-themed décor of nautical bric-a-brac and seaworthy mahogany-inlaid flooring. Toting a cargo of french fries or coleslaw, hefty burgers and sandwiches pull into port, including the Bully Buster, a half-pound Angus beef burger ($6.95) and the Flying Jib, a lightly fried fillet of orange roughy, fresh pickerel, or perch ($9.95). The menu explores farmside fare, such as the Sohar, a USDA Choice 8-ounce filet mignon charbroiled in Sindbads Zip sauce ($28.95), or the Catamaran's two pork chops served with applesauce ($14.95). The Gulf Stream improves on the classic grilled cheese sandwich, adding a layer of bacon or ham ($6.50) like George Lucas's director's cut of breakfast. Every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the restaurant serves a brunch buffet, including a variety of scrambled eggs, vegetables, and fruit. Sinbads also offers free shuttle service to Red Wings, Lions, and Tigers games in Detroit.