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.
"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.
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).
The culinary maestros at Stony Creek ease the tension between guests and rabble-rousing stomachs with a menu that pacifies hollering hunger pains with comforting cuisine. Rather than succumb to a rigorous routine of cheek chinups, fit faces can hula-hoop an order of beer-battered onion rings ($2.99) before tongue-tackling the half-pound, linebacker-size Stony bacon cheeseburger ($6.39). Freezer-burned mouth-muscles can warm up with the hot meat loaf sandwich, served with mashed potatoes and gravy ($6.79). Stony Creek's multifarious comestible collection also includes salivation-inducing chilidogs, bountiful salads, and Greek delectables such as spinach pies ($8.39) and moussaka ($8.29). A sliver of cheesecake provides a more modest way to celebrate a triumphant meal than spiking your plate into the floor and doing the mashed potato ($3.49).
A stay-at-home mom founded Chelsea TreeHouse, a 9,000-square-foot indoor “unplugged” play space free of any distracting video games or other electronics. The play area is outfitted with slides, swings, bridges, and a multilevel climbing structure, and basketball hoops allows aspiring players to practice slam dunks within eyesight of parents or guardians lounging in leather seating. During birthday parties, groups of kids can take advantage of amenities such as pizza, balloons, and lemonade. For everyday nourishment, TreeHouse’s full-service cafe replenishes energy with healthy bites such as veggies, yogurt, and cheese while parents enjoy more adult fare, such as sandwiches, salads, soups, and Zingerman’s Coffee.
Mélange's chefs merge European and Asian flavors and presentation techniques to construct a menu of elegant entrees flecked with contemporary American influences. Dishes unite high-quality proteins including Scottish Atlantic salmon and meats marinated with continent-crossing ingredients such as soy, yuzu, and miso, forging a gastronomic alliance as unique as a snowflake-flavored lollipop. A fleet of sushi rolls totes fresh seafood and umami-packed garnishes, and a cellar with more than 1,500 bottles of wine from France, Italy, and California accessorize any mouthful. Mélange's dining area draws inspiration from old Parisian restaurants, with bamboo furnishings bolstering the multicultural ambiance and 10-foot-tall booths fostering intimate conversing and adrenaline-fueled rappelling.