Cousins Elias Hajjar and Nicholas Aubrey take yearly trips back to Lebanon to visit their family, but they can eat authentic Lebanese cuisine without leaving the confines of their own restaurant. With Gemmayze, which is named after a bohemian neighborhood in Beirut, they "wanted to create not only a menu that exemplified what's happening in Beirut and Lebanon right now, but we wanted to re-create the atmosphere,” Hajjar said in a Detroit Metromix article. “So the colors on the walls and ceiling are light and very clean and refreshing, and the menu reflects that as well.”
Inside the multi-level dining room, dangling lights twist like a strand of DNA above tables topped with shareable plates of hummus, grape leaves, and kibbe nayee—minced raw meat with bulgur and spices. Each dish is made from scratch using recipes that date back generations. Nearby, decorative palm tree appliqués cling to windows and a large brushed metal frame displays a variety of vintage forks, which can only be wielded by the rightful ruler of England. After dinner, patrons can move into the lounge and perch atop comfy ottomans and banquettes swaddled in rich fabrics while sipping wine or a cocktail.
Every morning at Tom’s Oyster Bar, chefs scrawl the day’s battered and grilled seafood specials on chalkboard menus suspended from the ceiling. In addition to that list of freshly caught fish, the chefs tout their commitment to fresh seafood by stocking their raw bar with oysters that are shucked to order and then gently scolded for hording pearls.
In the wood-accented dining room, companions can sip from dozens of draft and bottled brews and bask in the glow of flat-screen TVs, or retreat to the outdoor patio and take in views of downtown Royal Oak.
With a stage sturdy enough to bear the weight of standup comedy giants such as Jon Stewart, Jerry Seinfeld, and Ellen DeGeneres, Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle continues to cultivate talent to fill up its schedule. In the same way that it has operated since 1979, the venue employs a three-tier format for its shows: two locals, one up-and-coming and one seasoned, followed by a nationally recognized comic. This approach exposes audiences to new voices while comforting them with the promise of a recognizable face at evening’s end.
Shakespeare in the Park in Royal Oak bills itself as Michigan's only professional outdoor Shakespeare event, and for two remaining weekends this summer, the professional players will take to the open-air stage in a re-imagined version of the Bard's classic comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona. The 1960s-styled production features a cast of actors that bring the 16th-century play to life through vibrant, sleek, Mod-motifs. The lawn-style seating of the outdoor theater allows visitors to bring blankets or lawn-chairs to enjoy the arts in casual, summer style, with free parking nearby. Water Works is offering a special August 6 performance of the production, specifically designed for the hearing-impaired, in which costumed members of TerpTheatre's shadow actors interpret the lines onstage while the action plays out.
Fifth Avenue delights rabid sports fans and neutral noshers alike with a late-night menu of classic pub fare, brews, and entertainment. Thirty-five flat-screen televisions stimulate optic and otic synapses with a lively stream of sport spectatorship, while hardworking cooks toss, toast, and top house specialty V.I.Pizzas ($10–$13) and assemble 3-D edibles into the wee hour of 2 a.m. Pique appetites under the tutelage of cheese-gilded nacho platters ($7), or pit dueling bread stix and cheese stix ($6 each) against each other in oral arenas. Competitive canines sink luxuriously into cheeseburgers ($7) or caesar salads ($5), while New York–style cheesecake ($5) and globes of vanilla-flecked ice cream ($2.50) tuck sweet teeth into sugar-kissed slumbers.