Randa Marar-Mueller grew up in the restaurant business and always knew she wanted to open her own place. When she returned from Michigan to raise her two kids in her hometown, she found Bacio Café & Lounge up for sale and figured it was time to take the plunge. She called in her mother, renowned chef Norma Marar, and the two overhauled the menu and aesthetic, opening with a menu of grilled paninis, gourmet pizzas, and French- and Italian-style entrees.
While Norma crafts delicacies in the kitchen, baristas cum mixologists steam up lattes and specialty teas or mix a selection of gourmet martinis for after-hours drinks. Gelato—made fresh in-house daily—sweetens palates with flavours such pistachio and mango, and baked goods resting under cake domes and in oversized martini glasses conclude meals more sweetly than a hug from a grandmother.
The chefs at The RyeGate accompany premium cuts of tender steaks with an eclectic array of sushi, stone-oven-baked thin-crust pizzas, and hearty pasta dishes. Patrons converse amid the dining room?s warm ambience as servers ferry plates of tenderloin fettuccini and chef?s specialty Atlantic salmon to expectant diners. The eatery?s wine selection brims with varietals from Ontario, Italy, and California, handpicked to complement menu offerings or un-complement an adversary?s clean white shirt. Friends sip cocktails in the nearby lounge, or venture to the outdoor patio to get moon tans. Live musicians enliven the venue with pitch-perfect tunes on Friday evenings at 7 p.m.
BluFin Sushi rethinks the concept of a sushi restaurant, fashioning specialty rolls with unconventional ingredients and a menu of entrees that blend aspects of American and Asian cuisine. The innovative spot's chefs serve up tender Kobe beef sliders and entrees that range from fish tacos to Japanese-style fried chicken, pounded flat and battered with panko. Hefty vegetarian rolls with names such as Monster Beast keep vegetarians from going hungry and munching on nearby Chia Pets. BluFin Sushi's kitchen also prepares sushi party platters for any occasion. An outdoor patio beckons patrons outside during warm weather, and diners can wash down bites with cocktails, beer, wine, and sake.
Devoted to eco-friendly dining, Green Zone Pizza dishes out organic and locally sourced fare atop a white counter made from recycled bottles. Built upon organic white or wheat crust, all pizzas can be personalized with classic add-ons such as pepperoni, eco-friendly proteins such as free-range chicken, or olives that spell out love sonnets to a favorite cheese. Several signature pies trade meaty toppings for an all-veggie lineup, and most of the restaurant’s offerings can be ordered gluten-free. And, like Lee Iacocca’s mitten collection, salads stuffed with locally sourced produce radiate Michigan pride.
Extreme Pizza is not your run-of-the-mill, ma-and-pa pizza shop. Here, the cooks pile their house-baked crusts with a slew of uncommon combinations, including the ginger-peanut-sauce-marinated chicken strewn across the Kickin? Chicken pizza, which is also topped with peanuts, green onions, swiss, fontina, mozzarella, and fresh cilantro. The Paia Pie may seem standard with pineapple and Canadian bacon, but the addition of mandarin oranges and its mozzarella-cheddar blend make it more unique than a unicorn with two horns. As an alternative to the pies, freshly baked calzones, creatively loaded salads, monster subs, and chicken wings also populate the menu.
For nearly two decades, owner Mike Muer has made Harvard Grill a home away from home for hungry Gross Point patrons, where servers dish out American fare in a dining room accented with chalkboard specials and big shiny booths. The menu’s endless options range from all-day breakfast to classic entrees such as hearty pot roast, chicken pot pie, and sloppy joes. There's also a roster of specialty sandwiches, ranging from corned beef on rye to the signature Harvard Slim Jim, a hoagie stacked with ham and cheese and slathered with the house special sauce.