To craft Sir Pizza’s trademark borderless pizzas, dough-disguising chefs pile savory meats, cheeses, and veggies toppings atop toasty crusts from edge to edge. Gourmet favorites ($8.10 for small) include a genre-crossing taco pizza, as well as the royal feast, which invites patrons to crown their tongues or tablemate's head with a treasure trove of pepperoni, sausage, onions, mushrooms, green peppers, and a blend of two cheeses. Appease single-flavor cravings with a one-item pan pizza ($8.99 for a large) or a 10-piece order of jumbo Sir Schwings ($8) spun in hot or mild sauce. Even baked spuds ($5.65) don stately duds at Sir Pizza, with cloaks ranging from the classic bacon and cheddar combination to the extraordinarily elegant mix of mushrooms and brown gravy.
Since its founding in 1967, Village Inn Pizza Parlor has changed quite a bit. Today, the servers dress in trendy black slacks instead of old-fashioned skirts, aprons, or the barrels made fashionable by the Depression. The honky-tonk piano players have been replaced with top DJs and live rock bands. Massive flat-screen televisions beam down on the newly renovated dining room, broadcasting games in HD clarity. Even the beer selection has been expanded to include a sweeping array of craft drafts from brewers such as Founders and Bell's.
But there are a few things that have remained the same over the years—friends still gather over pints of frosty draft beers to watch the game, and chefs still whip up crispy thin-crust pizzas topped with pure mozzarella cheese, housemade sauce, and fresh ingredients. They’ve added a variety of new items to the menu as well, including specialty pizzas with gluten-free crusts, grilled chicken paninis on artisan ciabatta bread, and Mexican-inspired specialties such as tender steak fajitas and cheesy enchiladas.
The ale devotees at Bad Bear Brewery concoct small batches of unfiltered, handcrafted beers and locally made wines. The brewery's pumpkin beer infuses palates with hints of brown sugar, while the Michigan pale ale teems with more hops than a dunking competition featuring Peter Rabbit. Chefs also prepare hand-tossed artisan pizzas and 5-ounce beer-braised reubens. Membership in the Bad Bear Mug Club outfits beer advocates with a custom mug crafted by local potter Mary Humphrey as well as discounts on pub grub and suds.
Yotsuba’s skilled sushi chefs sprinkle fresh fish and organic seaweed with low-sodium soy sauce brewed in-house. Tempura and teriyaki dishes steam atop low tables in the West Bloomfield location’s tatami room, where cushy legless seats host floor-level dining in traditional Japanese style. High-backed booths and bar seating at both locations raise patrons off the ground for views of chopstick-wielding chefs tapping out the drum solo from "Wipeout" behind the sushi bar.
Though inspired by the northern California cafés of the early 1980s, Espresso Royale fits right in with Michigan’s modern coffee drinkers—in 2012 readers of The Michigan Daily voted it Best Coffee Shop for the third year in a row. Their coffees include a house blend developed in 1987, which has since been joined by a seasonally appropriate autumn spice blend and a southern Italian-style espresso called Napoli. Royale's customers also clamor to the counter for favorites such as raspberry mochas, mint hot chocolates, and ginger dragon, a tea layered with fresh lemon and steeped ginger root that can be served iced or heated by a dragon named Ginger.