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.
Sean Thongsiri learned to cook alongside his mother and grandmother in Vientiane, Laos, but it was a lot of trial and error. Getting the best food for his dishes was easy, though. He frequented the town's market, where he culled relationships with local farmers and fisherman to ensure the best possible product. This is a practice he still clings to as head chef of Ele Fine Fusion restaurant, where his modern fusion style is alive in the food, as well as the decor. There, in the glow of handsome blond sconces and colorful landscape prints, guests sit on banquettes and enjoy sushi rolls, crispy duck, and steaming curry dishes, many fashioned with fresh organic vegetables.
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.
Whipping up hearty, generous portions for more than 35 years, Hickory Pit Too offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner for patrons in need of tummy TLC. Noontime and moontime noshers can opt for hearty comfort fare such as cheeseburgers ($3.99), grilled cheese sandwiches ($2.49), fried chicken ($6.99+), and lip-smacking barbecue platters ($8.99+), while earlier risers can fill bellies with omelettes ($3.99+), pancakes ($3.29+), and homemade biscuits with sausage gravy ($3.49) from the morning menu.