Have you had your Coffee Break?

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Did you know you can buy coffee from Congo in Eastpointe? Tucked away in a strip mall, Coffee Break is a cozy and chic coffee house that offers big-chain quality with small business appeal. Dim pendant lights, custom-laid floor tiles and charming bistro tables create a comfortable environment for any coffee lover. The rear alcove also features a sleek leather couch facing a flat screen TV mounted above a functioning fireplace. Additionally, in warm weather, the wide walkway out front accommodates outdoor seating. Free Wi-Fi is another amenity available year-round. Coffee Break is the ideal location to collect your thoughts, catch up with friends or network with colleagues over a freshly brewed cup of coffee.

Specializing in beans from around the world, Coffee Break boasts an impressive array of in-house-roasted coffee grounds. They sell one-pound packages of whole beans (which they will grind for you upon purchase) from countries including Brazil, Costa Rica, Columbia, Mexico, Honduras, Peru, Congo, Indonesia, Sumatra, Ethiopia and Kenya – and the list continues to grow. Drinks are moderately priced and cover all of the coffee aficionado’s favorites and then some—my favorite is the marshmallow latte. Cappuccino, espresso, latte and coffee flavors, sizes and prices are fetchingly scrawled on an oversized chalkboard behind the counter. Coffee Break also serves tea and a limited menu consisting of sandwiches, baklava, handmade shortbread, pastries, ice cream and more.

Conveniently located on Ten Mile between Kelly Road and I-94 (just a mile from where I-696 meets I-94), Coffee Break is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. This established business has been operating in Eastpointe for almost four years. Just a stone’s throw away from Sugarbush Tavern, a prominent sidewalk promotes walkability among other neighboring businesses including Mario’s Meats, Little Italy Pizzeria and Fairway Drugs.

Vastly versatile, Coffee Break can accommodate just about any coffee enthusiast’s whim, whether looking for a meeting spot, to refill your coffee supply at home, to explore a new taste from across the world, to work on your laptop, to catch the game, to perfect your tan or to simply obtain your caffeine fix.

Coffee Break photo

19156 E. Ten Mile Road, Eastpointe, MI 48021 (586) 362-8683

Hours
Monday – Saturday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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You Wanna Pizza Me?

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One of the newest businesses in Eastpointe is Pizza Me. Though only three months old, this pizza place is starting to grow its clientele and already has quite a few regulars. Whether you are looking for a quick slice on the go, a classic cheese and pepperoni or a unique specialty pizza, this place has you covered.

Pizza Me is owned and operated by veteran and first-time business owner Will Francis. He served in the army for seven years and spent a year and a half in Iraq as an airborne infantryman—yes, that means jumping out of airplanes. He always dreamed of owning his own business, and when he was able to save enough money while deployed overseas, he came home and made his dream a reality.

While searching for a space, Francis realized Eastpointe offered a competitive affordability that made financial sense for his new business venture. He eventually settled on a storefront located on the south side of Nine Mile Road, between Gratiot and Kelly.

When asked what he enjoys most about running his own business, Francis says it is the flexibility. From following orders to calling all the shots, this veteran is certainly having fun along the way. He designed the logo for Pizza Me by turning an image of a friend’s face into a cartoon pizza. Francis has also customized his own menu and hours and makes pizza the way he thinks it ought to be made.

The dough is made from scratch daily, and all of the cheese is hand grated from blocks. Only the freshest ingredients are used. In this tiny shop, the kitchen is open, and if so inclined, you can watch your pizza being handcrafted.

The specialty pizzas are anything but ordinary. The Taco Pizza (ground beef, onion, cheddar, taco sauce, lettuce and tomato with a drizzle of sour cream) and the Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza (cheddar, bacon, ground beef, fries, pickles, onions, pizza sauce, and drizzled with ranch) are two of Pizza Me’s most popular pies. Not quite ready for French fries and pickles on your pizza? They also offer regular pizzas with flavored crusts, cheese bread, subs, salads, pasta, and wings.

With high quality ingredients, innovative combinations, hard work and a great attitude, Pizza Me is off to a great start. So the next time you are debating between tacos or pizza, why not pick both and see what Pizza Me has to offer?

Pizza Me front-1

16936 E. Nine Mile Road, Eastpointe, MI 48021 586-541-8675

Pizza Me Menu

Hours
Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Sunday noon to 10 p.m.

A Look into Plaza Mexico

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Plaza Mexico opened on Nine Mile Road in 2001. It is a small restaurant that has cultivated a faithful following and has attracted customers from all over Southeast Michigan. It offers excellent Mexican cuisine with generous portions at a great price.

If dining in, you can seat yourself in a booth or at a table by the window. Depending on when you come, there may be only one waitress for the whole restaurant, but she is efficient and friendly. A large mural of a hacienda adorns one wall and the sounds of Spanish and pots and pans drift out from the kitchen.

It is a family restaurant owned by Ana and Felipe Hernandez. Ana is the main chef and has created all of the recipes. She does not speak English, so I had the opportunity to speak with her youngest daughter Melisa, a waitress, about the family business.

Ana and Felipe are from a small town called San Ignacio in Jalisco, Mexico. The family still vacations there a few months out of the year. They moved to a neighborhood in Southwest Detroit, and Ana worked for many years as a cook at Loco’s Bar and Grill. Cooking is her passion, and she was inspired to start her own Mexican restaurant.

Plaza Mexico started with four owners, but over time, Ana and Felipe bought out the other partners. With their daughters on staff, this is truly a work of love. Recently, the success of the restaurant has enabled them to move to a home in nearby St. Clair Shores, a short drive from Plaza.

When they bought the building, it was previously a Chinese restaurant, and had been many other businesses before that. With quality food and hard work, the Hernandez’s have achieved staying power. Fajitas are one of their most popular dishes, as well as the #1 Combo (beef enchilada, chicken burrito and hard beef taco) and the California Burrito (flour tortilla topped with ranchero and cheese, filled with beans, lettuce, pico, spicy salsa verde and grilled chicken or steak). Their large menu has it all, including quesadillas, tamales, enchiladas, chimichangas, nachos, fried ice cream and more.

When asked about the future of Plaza Mexico, Melisa says the family hopes to open a second location, a larger restaurant with a bar. The small size of the current restaurant makes a bar impractical. Melisa studies business at Wayne State and hopes to one day manage her own Plaza. And what would become of this Eastpointe location? Melisa responds, “We would keep it. This place is like our baby, what got us started. We try to make people feel like they’re at home here.”

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18322 E. 9 Mile Road, Eastpointe, MI 48021 586-777-8144

 Plaza Mexico Menu

Hours
Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

This article was also posted at MakeMacombYourHome.com on Oct. 8, 2014.