Rois Savvides fell in love at first sight in 1985. After meeting Nathalie in the library of Eastern Michigan University, he used every bit of his charm to impress her, but she remained unswayed by his lovelorn advances. Rois had a flash of inspiration on Valentine's Day, though. He spent the evening baking and arrived at her doorstep holding a heart-shaped pizza with pesto, shrimp, and the words "I love you" spelled out in goat cheese. She rewarded him with a kiss and, soon after, a first date at the Tower Inn Cafe. Years later, the now-married couple decided to purchase that restaurant, ensuring that it remains as important to them now as it was when they first met. Given the warm-hearted story behind its owners, Tower Inn's menu of feel-good comfort food is even more fitting. The cooks forge a number of traditional Mediterranean and American recipes, grilling half-pound burger patties, slicing gyro meat, and ladling marinara or bolognese sauce over the four-cheese lasagna. Before sliding pizzas into a stone oven, they load the pies with ingredients from their selection of 13 meats and 19 vegetables, which includes premium toppings of sun-dried tomatoes, fried chicken, and rare baseball cards.
Temptations' accomplished founders and chefs are striving to create the first national Indian food chain in an effort to make fresh, all-natural Indian fare accessible everywhere in the country. The chefs prepare vegan and vegetarian options nightly, such as the bhindi dopiaza's tomato-smattered okra, and clay ovens churn out grilled dishes, such as murg tikka masala or tandoori chicken. Temptations also fills environmentally friendly boxes with portions of its food on college campuses, and the chefs spread their knowledge of Indian cuisine in cooking classes.
Sunlight streaks through large windows in Temptations' dining room as diners scarf down healthy Indian feasts beneath exposed-ductwork ceilings and soft orange lights. Live music fills the air on weekend nights, with sitars, world music, and kazoo symphonies typifying the sounds. Belly dancers have been known to take to the floors as well, captivating patrons with their hypnotizing hip undulations.
"I'm going to put all of my experiences from all my other restaurants into this restaurant," Milan Grill owner Bobby Stamatopoulos told the Milan News-Leader in 2009. Indeed, Milan Grill is the sixth jewel on Bobby's crown of restaurant ventures, and he dishes out a diverse menu of contemporary American dishes with the help of his brother and his two sons. Drawing on many Michigan-based products, head chef John Whedon whips up a dinner menu of pastas, sandwiches, and steak and seafood specialties. A full bar floods goblets with specialty cocktails, six draft beers, and an extensive array of wines, and regular special events draw famished crowds with limitless ribs and crab legs. Dangling lights and flat-screen TVs light the warm-colored walls of the separate dining and bar areas, and a banquet room hosts private parties or classified government limbo tournaments.
While making each dish from scratch, MAIZ Mexican Cantina keeps one goal in mind: creating authentic Mexican flavors. To make that desired taste, they assemble fresh ingredients?many of them local?into classic fajitas and street-style tacos. But the eatery also brings savory flair to more unorthodox dishes, such as roasted, open-faced jalapenos stuffed with cheese and housemade chorizo, chimichangas piled high with grilled peppers and onions, and Oreos fried to a sweet crisp.
The cuisine's comforting warmth is reflected throughout MAIZ's spacious dining room, which welcomes guests with a cozy brick fireplace and a colorful mural by local artist Danielle Murphy. Free salsa lessons precede the nighttime fiestas, dispelling the rumor that students need to bring tomatoes in order to dance.
At NYPD Ypsilanti Pizza, chefs load made-to-order pizzas with more than 30 toppings. After prepping a Sicilian-style crust, deep-dish Chicago-style crust, or aerodynamic Frisbee-style crust, they adorn it with gourmet ingredients such as crumbled blue cheese and grilled eggplant. There's a lot more than just pizza in their ovens, though—shrimp fra diavolo, lasagna, ravioli, turkey-and-swiss subs, cheese calzones, and fruity dessert smoothies bolster the pizza depot's menu.
Satisfying hunger since 1973, The Full House Restaurant grills, fries, and tosses up American culinary classics inside its hallowed kitchen. Golden-brown okra ($5.95) showers diners with crispy kisses of southern charm, and less geographically definable burgers freshen mouths like carnivorous breath mints. Try the half-pound Ace ($6.75) or quarter-pound King ($3.75) piled with lettuce, tomato, mayo, and soft tangles of grilled onions. Diners can sate peg legs with classic fish 'n' chips plates ($9.25) or order from an array of combination sandwich plates padded with soft drinks and fries or salad ($7.75+) before closing meals over the sweet-talking rush of a fudge brownie sundae ($4.25).