More than 50 years go, Mike Ilitch was poised for major-league glory. An up-and-coming shortstop for the Detroit Tigers, his baseball finesse was blossoming when an injury derailed his sports career. But although the wound stunted his athletic aspirations, it steered him toward a new path, and on May 8, 1959, he and his wife opened the first Little Caesars location, a then-unheard-of carry-out-only joint. The career shift and novel technique eventually proved triumphant. Today, the pizzeria's iconic, toga-clad mascot adorns storefronts on five continents. In each shop, staffers forge the signature Hot-N-Ready pizza, a freshly baked pizza designed for instant pickup, and warm, garlicky Crazy bread. With a storied half century under their belt, Mike Ilitch and his family strive to give back, supporting local organizations and creating their own charitable programs.
At Gattitown, a vast buffet quells the hungers caused by romping through up to 10,000 square feet of violence-free arcade games, bumper cars, and mini bowling. Before meals, kids scurry between more than 150 exciting games, including virtual-reality racing and tax-filing simulations. In the bumper-car arena, wee ones determine driving dominance by crashing and cruising around a spacious floor. Players then hone their underhand tosses with mini bowling and skee-ball, shooting for tickets to spend on doodads, gadgets, and teddy-bear ransoms inside the Gatti goods store.
Keg and Barrel’s grub gurus sizzle up a selection of hearty pub fare, and its tap masters furnish chalices with sudsy selections from onsite Southern Prohibition Brewery and from hop-houses around the country, earning the drink haven a spot as one of Draft Magazine ’s top beer bars in America for 2010 and 2011. While perusing the list brimming with 55 on-tap beers and more than 40 bottled brews, nosh on an order of fried green tomatoes ($7) or chips and homemade salsa ($5). Then move on to more substantial spreads, such as the traditional fish ‘n’ chips ($8) or a selection from the bevy of burgers, seafood, and salads. John Neal’s chicken and waffles, much like a Pop Tart–flavored Hot Pocket, fuses the tastes of breakfast and dinner for a distinctive dining experience ($7), and the Sweet and Smokey sandwich lassos together turkey breast, provolone, and granny-smith apples between cinnamon-raisin bread for a highly inventive take on a traditional deli staple ($8). The knowledgeable staffers provide suggestions for beer pairings, helping patrons to find the perfect complement for any meal, from the wasabi-crusted tuna ($15) to a bag of smuggled-in fruit snacks.