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 Caesar's location, a then-unheard-of carryout-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 pie designed for instant pick-up, 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 its own charitable programs.
Armed with just a single, generations-old cookie recipe, Great American Cookies opened its first store in 1977, and the rest is history. Today, the franchise boasts locations in malls across the country and nabbed a coveted spot on Entrepreneur magazine?s 2012 Top 500 Franchises in the baked-goods category. As the shop?s reputation grew, so did its menu as chefs churned out a mouthwatering roster of gourmet-cookie recipes, each created and carefully tested in Atlanta. The tempting options now include snickerdoodle, peanut butter with M&Ms, and chewy pecan supreme, as well as freshly baked fudge and cheesecake brownies, and cookie sandwiches stuffed with frosting. The real show-stoppers, however, are the giant chocolate-chip cookie cakes, which can be customized with sweet, celebratory messages or shopping lists penned in colorful icing.
A haven of hospitality, Rock Bottom treats sports fans and their fun-loving friends to warm meals, spirit-lifting spirits, and a spiriting stint of darts, pool, and video games. The inviting atmosphere is upstaged only by the tempting menu of burgers ($6.95+), wings ($7.95+), and steaks ($8.95+). Touches of Southern flare can also be found in dishes such as southern fried pickles ($7.75), cajun chicken alfredo ($13.95), and yankee fries ($8.25). Beyond its bounty of tongue-tickling eats, Rock Bottom offers outdoor patio seating, live music on Friday and Saturday nights, and free casual yet confident chest-bumps daily.
Los Amigos treats diners to authentic Mexican fare made from quality ingredients in a lively, family-friendly setting. With different specials gracing the menu each day, Los Amigos’ wide variety of burritos, tacos, fajitas, and more promises tongue-pleasing taste explosions for the whole family. Kids eat for free during tyke-centric events such as Los Amigos’ character dinners when fictional celebs along the lines of SpongeBob, Pocahontas, and Dora the Explorer schmooze with miniature adults, affording parents the chance to sip tangy margaritas and hoppy beers without having to tie someone’s shoe or explain the electoral college.
What sets the Hungry Howie’s menu apart from other pizza parlors, other than its complete lack of profanity, is the eight flavored-crust options that inject life into the formerly discarded pizza part. If you’re allergic to life, inject butter, onion, butter cheese, ranch, Cajun spices, garlic herb, or sesame instead. Keep thinking outside the pizza box by loading your flavorful crust with specialty pizza innards, such as the Howie Maui, packed with ham, smoked bacon, and pineapple ($13.85 for medium), and the Meat Eaters, with pepperoni, ground beef, Italian sausage, and ham ($13.85 for medium). DIY diners, on the other hand, can opt for a medium 12-inch pizza for $9.45 and add their own toppings for an additional $1.25 each. Howie's also serves up tasty wings (10 for $6.99), salads (try a small Greek for $5.99), calzone-style subs ($7.35), and Howie bread, which comes in buttered garlic ($3.99/large) and three cheese ($5.29/large).
Located in the historic Cloverdale Village, Roux recently opened its modern, art-filled space to serve traditional Southern comfort dishes and New Orleans–inspired seafood for lunch, dinner, and brunch. Prince Edward Island mussels ($19.50) crowned with Pernod sauce rub crustacean elbows with roasted new potatoes and braised leeks with saffron and fresh thyme. The Gulf shrimp po boy ($10) smuggles cornmeal-crusted gulf shrimp between french bread pieces under the cover of homemade coleslaw and a rémoulade sauce, and the Prime Roux burger ($12) combines grilled Meyer ranch beef with smoked onion jam, house-cured bacon, and a choice of cheeses without the use of nuclear fusion. Sunday brunch pleases with eggs benedict ($10.50) dressed up in an avocado purée and hollandaise sauce accompanied by smoked bacon. Cap a feast with a bite of bananas foster ($5.50) or sweet-potato-pecan pie ($5.50).