Roma Caf? started out as a one-woman operation way back in 1888. The Marazza family ran a boarding house for Eastern Market farmers, and Mrs. Marazza would always serve a hot meal to anyone who stayed. Word of her cooking skills spread quickly throughout the Eastern Market area, and her various fans convinced her to open an official restaurant. In February of 1890, Roma Caf? was born.
Its continuing commitment to classic recipes is apparent from one glance at the menu, where housemade pastas share space with veal scaloppine and broiled lobster tails. Adventurous eaters will be drawn to dishes such as the sauteed sweetbreads and frog legs, and wine enthusiasts can browse an extensive list of reds, whites, and specials.
Although the baked lasagna and chicken parmigiana are certainly Old World staples, Roma Caf? hasn't become mired in tradition. Its third-generation owner, Janet Sossi Belcoure, takes regular trips to Italy that keep her up-to-date on culinary trends and the latest gossip on who's dating Michelangelo's David. The restaurant also offers an all-you-can-eat buffet on Monday nights, complete with appetizers, pasta dishes, and cannoli. If you stop by on the night of a Red Wings game, there's even a shuttle that will take you to the arena.
The Noto family, starting their culinary career by selling candy and hot dogs at its video arcade in 1979, have since evolved into a full-service Italian restaurant. Intent on recreating homey, rustic cuisine that could have come from a family kitchen, the chefs rely on a seasonally rotating selection of ingredients, which they both source from local farmers and import from Italy. In order to make meatballs, italian sausage, and mozzarella in-house, they rely on generations-old family recipes that were passed down, much like the family's formula for creating critically acclaimed Mad Libs.
Although the dining room surrounds guests with olive-hued walls, sturdy columns, and a collection of framed landscapes, the downstairs wine cellar tempts parties with a smattering of tables amid the space's intimately lit brick archways. This room also shelters the restaurant's 10,000-bottle-strong wine list, which includes more than 1,100 Italian wines and garnered yet another Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator in 2014.
The dough wizards at Papa John's hand toss circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.
Strings of colored lights twinkle from the rafters of Gator Jake's Bar Grill Patio, where walls of retro neon and pressed-metal signs lend the dining room a vivacious vibe. The menu brings creole and southwestern perspectives to the table, providing etouffees, steak-fajita subs, and barbecue chicken monterey to complement a glass of Beringer wine, a specialty cocktail, or a beer called Guinness, Killian's, or Corona. Wall-mounted flat-screen televisions broadcast major sporting events as the sounds of clacking pool balls, whirring darts, and songs from the jukebox and periodic live entertainment fill the air. Open until 2 a.m., Gator Jake's—which took third place in the 2011 Detroit A-List's race for Best Sports Bar—welcomes patrons to stay for a late-night birthday party or celebrate the opening of a foreign stock exchange far, far away.
The R-Club cultivates a Cheers-esque atmosphere, in which friends and beloved regulars can kick back, sip a drink, and munch on the menu of comforting and classic American fare. Cooks assemble sandwiches including the philly focaccia all day long, and after 4 p.m., they serve dinners such as crusted Alaskan halibut. Patrons perch at the bar to quaff drinks from draft beers to cocktails or slide into a booth with a few friends beneath bricks emblazoned with names and a string of Christmas lights. The packed schedule of live local bands injects a lively soundtrack into the air, catering to eardrums on Friday and Saturday evenings. In balmy weather, the outdoor patio flavors fare with fresh air as patrons enjoy refreshing breezes and staring contests with the sun.
Domino’s has been decorating dough canvases with flavorful sauces, an assortment of cheeses, and high-quality toppings that range from classic to unconventional since 1960. Domino’s dough is tossed daily and stretched by human hands, not by clumsy catapults and model airplanes flying in opposite directions. Treat friends to a tasteful feast by checking the online menu and crafting a custom masterpizza with Domino's wide range of ingredients. Famished diners too starved to choose their own toppings can select from Domino’s American Legends, featuring signature flavors from throughout the land. Pizzas such as the Pacific Veggie, Honolulu Hawaiian, or Wisconsin 6 Cheese impart all the delicious diversity of a road trip without the hassle of decoding an atlas. Nonpizza fare includes pastas, sandwiches, and breadsticks.