New garden center offers plethora of magnificent Mother’s Day gifts

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In Michigan, the anticipated warmth and beauty of spring’s arrival can sometimes be anticlimactic. March 20 was the first day of spring this year, but we still experienced cool weather, cloudy skies and even some snow in late April.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith Mother’s Day coming up this Sunday, now is the perfect time to shake off the chill and look toward the sunny skies of May. That’s right – it’s time for bright-colored annuals, hanging baskets and even vegetables.

The newest garden center to open in Macomb County is Drew’s Garden, and it’s the perfect place to find gifts for mom. You can’t go wrong with a birdhouse, wind chime, patio pot, 10-inch hanging basket (for only $12.99!), colorful watering can filled with flowers, butterfly bush or hummingbird plant.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADrew’s Garden is located in what was formerly Semrau Garden Center in Eastpointe. Opened in 1916, Semrau was in operation for 99 years, with four generations of Semraus working there. For me and many others, it was a staple of spring and summer, and I was heartbroken when I saw the “for sale” sign go up. However, after some time to process and a visit to the new garden center, much like spring, my spirits have been renewed.

Opening just this past March, Drew’s Garden has already made a large investment in the community. The store was completely gutted and freshly painted in vibrant colors, the bathrooms were remodeled and there is a ton of new merchandise including houseplants, gardening tools and supplies, exotic tropicals such as palms and pineapple plants, seeds, bird feeders and fairy garden landscapes.

Renovations have been occurring outside as well. A new electronic sign, a 48-by-44-foot wooden pergola and a 60-foot flower box (soon to be a wall of flowers) have all gone up. The pergola is stocked full of hanging baskets and their outdoor merchandise includes shrubs, roses, vegetables, herbs, annuals and 279 varieties of perennials. You will also see familiar faces as many of the Semrau employees have stayed on staff.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPatrick Kouza is the proud new owner, but this isn’t his first time running a business. He also owns Penny Lake Market in Walled Lake where he added a flower market in the parking lot. His love for flowers has led him to buy this nursery, which he named after one of his children. In addition to renovations, Pat has also lengthened the store’s hours and season. In August, he plans to have a farmers market, offering Amish-grown plants.

Exciting new things are happening at 23751 Gratiot, and now is the perfect time to check it out – and don’t forget to pick up something great for mom!

 

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23751 Gratiot Avenue, Eastpointe, MI 48021 (586) 775-3770

 

Hours
Monday – Saturday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Warren business serving up locally-sourced Latin American cuisine

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Pilar’s Tamales in Warren is offering something really unique in Macomb County – gluten-free Salvadoran food with dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan options. It’s made with many all-natural, free-range and organic ingredients from local Michigan farms.

You may have had a tamale the last time you dined at your favorite Mexican restaurant (see A look into Plaza Mexico), but when was the last time you had a pupusa with fried yuca root and tamarind?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI hadn’t even heard of these savory dishes until I tried them at Pilar’s. A pupusa is a grilled handmade tortilla made from stone-ground corn masa filled with your choice of chicken, pork or black beans and cheese. Fried yuca root is derived from the root of a shrubby plant with large, starchy roots. Fried and coated with a spicy seasoning, it is essentially a tropical French fry. Tamarind is a Latin American drink made from the fruit of an Asian evergreen tree. Pilar’s peels their own pods to make this tart and fruity drink.

And of course, there are tamales. Handmade with stone-ground corn masa, these tamales are filled with all-natural chicken, chicken and cheese, all-natural pork, spicy pork with ghost chili peppers, chorizo (pork sausage), jalapeno and cheese, black beans and cheese, vegan black beans or tempeh (soybeans). Then they are rolled, steamed and served with a delicious homemade sauce and a side of curtido (cabbage slaw). In fact, all of their stocks, salsa, sauces and salads are made in house. I recommend the perfect pair special because you get to try both a tamale and a pupusa.

Pilar’s opened their first location in Ann Arbor in 2000. A family of refugees fleeing from the Salvadoran Civil War, they began their business with a tamale cart, selling to University of Michigan students. The business expanded as they became vendors at several farmers markets, offering cold tamales that can be easily frozen and reheated. In early 2014, after looking for a satellite kitchen to be closer to Eastern Market, the Royal Oak Farmers Market and the Birmingham Farmers Market, Juan Carlos Nolasco and his wife Sandra Naimou found an affordable spot in Warren and opened a second Pilar’s Tamales kitchen and restaurant. Juan Carlos’ sisters and mother still manage the Ann Arbor location.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALocating on Mound between Chicago and 14 Mile Road has proven to be a good business decision. In addition to their proximity to nearby farmers markets, Pilar’s is also seconds away from the popular Warren Community Center and pool and two of the largest employers in the area: the GM Technical Center and TACOM Life Cycle Management Command. GM has even invited Pilar’s to participate in a rotating lunch program they offer to their employees.

Juan Carlos was surprised by how much support they have received from the community. “The people here really care about what they are eating; they care about their health,” he said. His favorite part of running Pilar’s is meeting people who are open to new foods and to trying something different.

The recipes are not necessarily traditional Salvadoran because the concept of healthy food was incorporated from the very beginning. While authentic Latin American recipes often contain some not-so-healthy ingredients (think lard), Pilar’s has created their own delicious and healthy versions while still remaining true to their Salvadoran roots. They have devised more varieties of tamales and have included healthier meats raised without antibiotics, hormones or artificial growth stimulants. Kale, squash and other seasonal produce are locally grown at Vanhoutte Farms in Armada. Since everything is free of gluten, it is the ideal dining destination for patrons with celiac disease or food allergies.

I could go on and on about the different sides, drinks, desserts and specials available (casamiento made with organic black beans and organic white rice; fried plantains (like a fried banana); and gluten-free, vegan, soy-free and nut-free chocolate chip bliss bars), but you should really explore this restaurant for yourself. Keep an open mind, and remember, this is Salvadoran food and might not be exactly what you expect at first – but I promise it will grow on you!

This tiny restaurant offers carry out and minimal dining in. Open Tuesday through Saturday, hours are limited, so be sure plan your visit accordingly. And don’t forget their cold tamales, perfect for freezing and reheating for a great meal at home or an office lunch.

 

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32247 Mound Road, Warren, MI 48092 (586) 838-5608

 Pilar’s Tamales Menu

Hours
Tuesday – Thursday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday – 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Saturday – 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Closed Sunday and Monday

Cloverleaf: Experience Detroit-style pizza at its best

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Cloverleaf Bar & Restaurant is an iconic staple in Macomb County. Founded by the father of the Detroit square pizza, Gus Guerra, it has been in business since 1953. Still using the original recipe, Cloverleaf offers one seriously tasty deep-dish pizza in addition to other favorites like crunchy sweet bread, whipped cheesecake and cold drinks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABeing from the area, you might take Detroit-style pizza for granted and not even know what it is. It is defined as a square, deep-dish pizza with sauce on top and a crispy crust. Guerra and his wife Anna first introduced this style of pizza in 1946 as the original founders of Buddy’s Rendezvous in Detroit. They sold Buddy’s and the recipe in 1953 and purchased Cloverleaf in East Detroit. Today, Cloverleaf still sits at 24443 Gratiot Avenue in Eastpointe and is run by the Guerras’ children Jack Guerra and Marie Guerra Easterby.

Cloverleaf offers a large eight-piece or a small four-piece pizza with a variety of toppings from which to choose. The specialty gourmet pies include bruschetta, Hawaiian, barbeque chicken, supreme and BLT. Each pizza is made fresh when you order it. Loaded with cheese, sauce and toppings, the pieces are substantial. Also newly available is gluten-free pizza, which is a really great-tasting option for those looking for gluten-free alternatives.

crunchy breadWhile you wait for your pizza to bake, try one of their delicious antipasto salads. This comes with fresh bread with rosemary baked into the crust and crunchy sweet bread. The latter is buttery, parmesan cheesy and at the same time sugary and sweet. If you decide to forego the salad, I highly recommend you ask your server for a bread basket so you can discover this crunchy sweet goodness for yourself.

Not in the mood for pizza? Cloverleaf also offers classic Italian dishes, pasta, ribs, lake perch, burgers and sandwiches. If you still have room for dessert, try the homemade whipped cheesecake with cherries or strawberries or the whipped Oreo cheesecake – both made in house and exceedingly good.

Also popular is the lunch buffet, offered from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday. The Eastpointe location offers carryout and so do its franchise locations in Macomb Township, Sterling Heights and coming soon to 13 Mile in Roseville.

pintsThere is a fully-stocked bar with an assortment of beer on draft, bottled domestics and imports, wine and spirits to complement your meal, and if you time it right, there are happy hour specials. Cloverleaf has also been adding a growing number of craft beers to their selection. The bartenders are friendly, and in addition to bar seating, there are also high-top tables where you can watch sports or play Club Keno.

Throughout the rest of the restaurant, there is ample table and booth seating able to accommodate large groups. The enclosed patio is a great space to reserve for events like birthdays, showers or rehearsal dinners (this is where I had mine!). With a family-friendly atmosphere, I often see couples out on “date night,” families enjoying dinner out together and coworkers deconstructing their day over beers. Cloverleaf is also community-oriented, often hosting fundraisers for nonprofit and charity organizations.

Paint Nite logoSomething new being offered is Paint Nite, where an artist instructor guides you step by step to create your own beautiful painting. The registration fee includes the lesson, paint and canvas, making this a fun and easy night out with the girls or with your significant other. Most painters arrive early to grab a bite to eat, and of course, you must enjoy a glass of wine to get the creative juices flowing while you paint! Paint Nite takes place at 7 p.m. every other Wednesday in the enclosed patio. Go to www.paintnite.com to register (discounts are often available through Groupon, Living Social and the Paint Nite Detroit Facebook page).

If you’re looking for a really good pizza or simply a fun place to hang out, give Cloverleaf a try. Check out their Facebook page for current specials and upcoming events. You can also find them on Instagram under Cloverleaf Restaurant.

Cloverleaf entrance

24443 Gratiot Avenue, Eastpointe, MI 48021 (586) 777-5391

  Cloverleaf Menu

Hours
Monday – Wednesday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Sunday noon to 9 p.m.

This article was also posted at MakeMacombYourHome.com on March 18, 2015.

The gift of reading

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs an expecting mother-to-be, some aspects of my baby shower were easier to figure out than others. Venue: Fishbone’s – check. Cake: Giuseppe’s Bakery – check. Favors: Midwest Suds Soap Co. products made by my sisters and me – check. But when it came to registering, that was a different story.

There are thousands of items with limitless variations to sort through. The aisles of bedding, toys, car seats, diapers, nursery pieces, strollers, bath essentials, clothes, bottles and safety gear were a little overwhelming. However, armed with a scanner gun, my husband and I were determined to find everything the baby will need.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter fruitlessly wandering the store for a while, we naturally gravitated over to the book area. Paging through our old favorites from when we were young, the scanner gun quickly snapped into action. We scanned every Dr. Seuss book we saw as well as “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and other Eric Carle books, “The Monster at the End of this Book,” “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” and more.

As I examined the familiar covers, I remembered my parents and grandparents reading to me, and I look forward to reading to my child. And as he or she grows, I can’t wait to share with them “The Giving Tree,” “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and “The Secret Garden.”

We didn’t register for very many things on our first try. We weren’t sure how many footie pajamas we would need or what brand of diapers to choose, but we did know our baby will need books.

caterpillarMarch is National Reading Month, and it’s a great time to remember the huge impact reading has on our lives. Literacy is not something to be taken for granted. It needs to be initiated, nurtured, developed and maintained. The fundamental reading skills we acquire in our youth translate into academic and career assets in the future.

Illiteracy is not something that only affects children. Reading Works is an organization that helps metro Detroit adults learn to read or raise their literacy level. Find out more on their website readingworksdetroit.org.

This month is the perfect time to read to your toddler, take a child to the library or set aside time to discover a new book for yourself.

A version of this article was also posted at MakeMacombYourHome.com on March 13, 2015.

Get to Green Dot

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Green Dot Stables is one of my favorite burger restaurants in the area. They offer a really unique selection of sliders and keep things fun by offering a mystery meat and drink. You can ask your server what the mystery is, or simply take a chance and order. My last mystery meat slider was rabbit wrapped in bacon. Seriously, a rabbit slider? This place is special.

An island among a concrete wasteland, Green Dot is right in the middle of nothing. Located in a mostly industrial part of northern Corktown, the restaurant is on West Lafayette and 14th Street, a block from West Fort Street. A first timer not familiar with the area may be wary to give this place a try, but there is ample parking, and each time I go, I see an increasing number of young families and baby boomers — it’s a welcoming environment for everyone.

Green Dot is not a large restaurant, but it can accommodate larger groups by pushing tables together. There always seems to be a line, and your whole party must be there to even get on the wait list, whether there are two of you or ten. So, arrive with the rest of your group, because the clock doesn’t start ticking until you all get there. However, if you must wait, there is usually room at the bar, and there is a waiting area in the back.

The theme of the restaurant is, well, stables. There is jockey and horse racing memorabilia throughout. The dim lighting, exposed brick interior and shingled overhang above the bar give it a retro VFW hall vibe, but the place is definitely trendy and made for foodies.

Now the food. We usually order in rounds. I would say start off with three burgers, allow some time for that to settle, and then see what else you still have room for. Some of my favorites are the tempeh (marinated tempeh with wasabi mayo and wakame salad), the black bean (tomato slice, avocado and sour cream) and the bacon cheeseburger, the last probably being my favorite. Never underestimate a regular old cheeseburger. My husband Brandon’s favorites are the BBQ bacon (beef patty, sweet potato and homemade BBQ sauce), the fried chicken (panko and sage maple syrup) and the PB&J (peanut butter with chipotle raspberry jam) ordered with bacon. We always try the mystery meat and have yet to be disappointed. Green Dot also has lamb, corned beef, quinoa, catfish and a lot more.

I recommend truffle & herb or Cajun fries to share with the table. They have bottled beer and a few Michigan brews on draft, and the classic cocktails should not be overlooked. Brandon is a big fan of the Zug Island iced tea (scotch, triple sec, raspberry tea, lemonade and bay leaf) and Moscow mule (ginger beer, lime and vodka). Each item you order is only two or three dollars, but you might be surprised how quickly it adds up, so be forewarned.

If you are looking for a laid back environment, cheap beer and high-quality specialty sliders, then I would recommend you get to Green Dot.

 

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2200 West Lafayette, Detroit, MI 48216 (313) 962-5588

Green Dot Stables menu

Hours
Monday – Wednesday 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Thursday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Sunday 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Champagne Chocolates: A decadent delight

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Before you find yourself in the drug store on your lunch break on Feb. 14 frantically searching for your Valentine’s Day gifts (we’ve all been there), do yourself and your loved ones a favor and make a stop at Champagne Chocolates in Mount Clemens.

Champagne Chocolates has everything you need for Valentine’s Day: boxed chocolates, toffees, barks and turtles – and they are all hand-crafted on-site daily.

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These candies are made with the freshest ingredients – and I’m not just saying that. While most chain stores started stocking Valentine’s Day candy right after Christmas, Champagne Chocolates has just begun to make theirs. The candy is preservative-free, ensuring freshness and optimal quality.

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Thursdays are Raspberry Delight Day, which means Owner Debbie Heuchert goes out in the morning to buy fresh raspberries that will sit atop chocolate cups filled with dark chocolate ganache. Debbie also regularly heads to the Peanut Peddler to handpick hazelnuts for the candies.

“We take pride in our ingredients,” said Debbie. “When you start with good ingredients, you end up with good products.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA lot has changed since Debbie started making candies in her basement 25 years ago, but she still uses her own original recipes. Her husband John also plays a valuable part in the business, building machinery to improve consistency, accommodate larger molds and increase productivity.

Ten years ago, she opened up shop in downtown Mount Clemens. This past July, she moved to a new location at 65 Macomb Place, suite E (around the corner from Max & Ollie’s Vintage Boutique and across from Bath City Bistro). Still in Mount Clemens, the new building is larger, allowing for more efficient manufacturing. The more prominent location has also lead to increased sales.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“We love being in the heart of Macomb County,” explained Debbie. “The downtown area has a big town feel, but you know everybody. The businesses here support each other.” She also appreciates all of the hard work done by the Downtown Development Authority (DDA). The recent Mount Clemens Ice Carving Show the DDA hosted brought a lot of fun – and new customers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADebbie loves to indulge in the creative side of the business, especially when it comes to developing chocolate recipes. Champagne Chocolates carries a few items you might not expect, like chocolate-dipped bacon and Rustic Bars made partially with organic ingredients.

They also offer chocolate parties where you and a group of friends can make your own truffles and learn some interesting facts about chocolate – did you know all of their chocolate nibs come from the same farm in Ecuador? If you bring along a bottle of wine, staff will also help you pair it with the perfect chocolate.

Be kind to your valentine, and treat them to a box of chocolates or toffees from a great local business. You won’t regret it!

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65 Macomb Place, suite E, Mount Clemens, MI 48043 (586) 468-1170

Truffles with a Twist and Chocolate Party information

Hours
Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Closed Sunday

This article was also posted at MakeMacombYourHome.com on Feb. 6, 2015.

Stuff your stocking with specialty coffee

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Looking for the perfect stocking stuffer this holiday season? Coffee Break in Eastpointe sells one-pound packages of small-batch roasted coffee beans from countries around the world.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhole bean selections come from Brazil, Costa Rica, Columbia, Mexico, Honduras, Peru, Congo, Indonesia, Sumatra, Ethiopia and Kenya – and the list continues to grow. Priced at just $11.99 a bag, compared to $14.95 at Starbucks, not only are you acquiring a unique gift, but a great deal too.

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, charming bistro tables and free Wi-Fi 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 blazing fireplace.

While you’re there, take a break from your Christmas shopping and relax with a hot cup of coffee, latte, cappuccino or espresso – my favorite is the marshmallow latte. They also serve a wide variety of bag and loose-leaf tea with festive flavors including hot cinnamon spice, ginger and licorice, cranberry autumn, spiced plum, chocolate mint and organic peppermint. Coffee Break also has a limited menu consisting of sandwiches, baklava, handmade shortbread, pastries and more.

Conveniently located on 10 Mile between Kelly Road and I-94 (just a mile from where I-696 meets I-94), Coffee Break has been operating in Eastpointe for 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 any coffee enthusiast’s whim, whether you are looking for a meeting spot to catch up with old friends, to explore a new taste from across the world or to simply obtain your caffeine fix. Coffee Break coffee is sure to delight whoever receives it this holiday season!

Coffee Break photo

19156 E. 10 Mile Road, Eastpointe 48021 (586) 362-8683

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

This article was also posted at MakeMacombYourHome.com on Dec. 22, 2014.

Find made-in-Michigan and vintage gifts at Iron Ivy

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen looking for holiday gifts this year, Iron Ivy is the perfect place to shop. This local business is full of antique and vintage items ranging from feathered hats and sequined purses, dinnerware and china, toolboxes and crates with classic logos to furniture and lamps. They also carry a great selection of made-in-Michigan products handcrafted by 20 metro Detroit artists.

The owners of Iron Ivy are Jim and Donna Jalosky. Married for 39 years, they have always collected antiques. Jim knew how to weld from working in a collision shop, and when he taught Donna, these skills soon translated into art.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom bugs a few inches tall to giant 6-foot birds, Jim and Donna produce sculptures made from upcycled metal. This means that they turn anything and everything into art. Shovel heads are crafted into faces, dogs are constructed from tool boxes and watering cans and ostrich-type birds have buckets for bodies. Each is a one-of-a-kind, whimsical piece.

As a hobby, Jim and Donna started welding out of their garage in 1998. When they outgrew their space, they moved into a workshop on 9 Mile. In 2011, they landed in their present location on Gratiot near 10 Mile in Eastpointe. They live in Warren and really enjoy working close to home. They would like to see the area grow into a strip of specialty shops, making it an artistic destination on the eastside.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey worked for three years to renovate the current facility, adding artistic touches wherever possible. A tile mosaic stream cuts a serpentine path along a portion of the floor. It incorporates tumbling stones found in a decaying rural building and features fish comprised of broken pottery from a vendor at Eastern Market. They also added large windows facing Gratiot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIron Ivy artwork is sprinkled throughout Eastpointe. The public art can be found in the median in front of the store (Gratiot and 10 Mile), in the garden in front of Andary’s Family Grill and adorning the walls inside (Gratiot and Semrau Avenue), at the entrance of the Urban Seed Community Garden (9 Mile and Pleasant Avenue) and in the city manager’s office in city hall (Gratiot and Aurora Avenue).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn addition to Jim and Donna’s metal creations, also interspersed throughout the store are handmade items by other local artists including jewelry, fused-glass pieces, photography and pottery from two local potters with 30 years of experience. There are items made out of license plates, framed word art made from photographs and collages.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne artist recovers discarded bricks from Detroit onto which he transposes photographs. Another artist sews pieces of fabric from old jackets into purses and transforms the comfort and warmth of sweaters into stylish gloves.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIron Ivy offers a wide array of trinkets, accessories, home goods and art. Just in time for the holiday, they are also stocking their shelves with vintage Christmas items, including ornaments. Shop local this year and walk away with some truly special gifts.

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24935 Gratiot Avenue, Eastpointe, MI 48021 (586) 381-2119

Hours
Tuesday – Thursday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed Monday and Friday

This article was also posted at MakeMacombYourHome.com on Dec. 12, 2014.

A cut above the rest

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Mr. Paul’s Chophouse is a place you want to know. It oozes old-school charm. Tucked away in a primarily industrial area in Roseville, it might be easy to miss. However, when you walk through the door, the dim lighting draws you into the elegant, intimate world that is Mr. Paul’s Chophouse, set apart from the rush hour traffic whizzing down Groesbeck.

With a rich background in the food industry, brothers Paul and Peter Gogo founded Mr. Paul’s Chophouse in 1968. It is now run by three of Paul’s sons, Paul Jr., Chris and Peter. I had the opportunity to go on a tour (where I even ended up in the walk-in refrigerator!) and speak with Paul Jr. about the family business.

Paul Jr. has been with the restaurant from the very beginning, learning every aspect of the business.  He always knew he would follow in his father’s footsteps, and the part he enjoys most about his job is his guests, many of whom he knows by name.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen you first enter the restaurant, you pass through a small waiting room where the ambiance is set by a trickling fountain.  There are two dining areas, one with an inviting bar with mirrored panels and glistening bottles and glasses lining the shelves, the other with an elegant baby grand piano. There are cozy booths, chic tables layered in linens and exposed brick walls adorned by paintings.

In the kitchen, I saw carts stocked with all the ingredients needed to make fresh Caesar salads (even the dressing is made from scratch) ready to be rolled out to the awaiting diners and prepared on the spot. A chief was chopping romaine lettuce and lemons and another was preparing the famous Chateaubriand. This romantic meal for two is served on one platter within a flaming ring.

Don’t get me wrong, the food is excellent, but the special touches and unique presentation make dining in an experience to remember. “It really is a lost art, the tableside cooking,” co-owner Peter Gogo told the Macomb Daily in 2002. “It allows us to be acquainted with the customer on a more personal level.”

I celebrated my five-year anniversary here. My husband and I got dolled up for the evening and were seated at a cozy booth near the piano where the player took requests. I enjoyed a glass of merlot; steamed mussels with white wine, garlic and lemon; the classic Caesar salad made tableside; and charbroiled filet mignon – and savored every bite.

Mr. Paul’s Chophouse is the definition of fine dining in Macomb County and has played an integral part in the community for years as a destination for family celebrations, business meetings and special occasions. Many engagements have occurred here throughout the years, cementing it as a memorable place in many couples’ hearts.

But it is also a place full of “the regulars.” You don’t need to be celebrating a birthday or on your first date in order to enjoy a nice pork chop or their popular sautéed lake perch. Whether you want to get on a first name basis with the bartender or treat yourself to an item on the surprisingly affordable lunch menu, there’s a spot waiting for you.

While many things have changed since 1968, Mr. Paul’s Chophouse continues to offer the staples that it was founded upon, fresh food and excellent service. By staying true to its form throughout the years, Mr. Paul’s Chophouse has somehow managed to stay as relevant and innovative as ever – a true original.

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29850 Groesbeck Highway, Roseville 48066 (586) 777-7770

 Mr. Paul’s Chophouse Dinner Menu

Hours
Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

This article was also posted at MakeMacombYourHome.com on Dec. 10, 2014.

Get weird in Mount Clemens this weekend

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We have a lot to look forward to over the next few days: spending time with the family on Thanksgiving, getting the latest special releases on Record Store Day Black Friday and buying gifts with local flair on Small Business Saturday.

It’s an especially big weekend for record store and small business Weirdsville Records and Paperback Writer Books in Mount Clemens as they promise to offer great deals and exciting new releases ranging from classics like the Doors and Miles Davis to heavy metal and punk rock like Metallica and the Dead Milkmen and even, oddly enough, “Guardians of the Galaxy” cassettes – which have been making a comeback in the last couple of years.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWeirdsville Records and Paperback Writer Books opened in May 2011. They are two stores under one roof run by husband and wife Dave and Lisa Taylor. Customers can find new and used records, record players, action figures, “oddball” items, used books and new books by local authors.

With giant bookstore chains going out of business and record stores shuttering their doors, what made Dave and Lisa think opening their own shop would be a good idea? There are a slew of reasons ranging from the idealist –they both love music and have been collecting records all their lives, to the sentimental – Dave and Lisa’s first date was at a record store, to the logical – Lisa knows books.

After losing her job of 17 years at Borders, Lisa and Dave thought it was the perfect time to branch out on their own. “We said we would try and see what happens,” Lisa said. They originally carried books and oddities and eventually expanded into records, where they have certainly found their niche, winning Best Independent Record Store in Macomb County from Metro Times in 2013 and 2014.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAcknowledging it might be naïveté, Dave said, “I’d like to think that other record shops didn’t close because they weren’t doing well, but because the owners had been doing it for a long time and were ready to move on to do different things.” No matter the reason, as record stores were closing, the market continued to grow as the next generation discovered vinyl records. Most Weirdsville customers are between 14 and 30 years old.

Founded on New Street, the store recently moved a block over to a new spot on Macomb Place. The move doubled their size, and they enjoy being on a more prominent street. The couple lives in Mount Clemens and values its historical legacy, so they jumped at the chance to remain in their community and obtain a larger space.

Weirdsville Records and Paperback Writer Books offer several community events including B movies (not all bad, but definitely all B) and book signings. They recently had Tom Daldin from Under the Radar Michigan, which featured their shop on the show and mentions them in his book “Under the Radar Michigan: The First 50.” On Friday, Dec. 12, singer, song writer and poet Emily Rose will perform and sign her poetry book “Cemetery Tea Party.”

A member of the local music scene in his own right as a member of the band The Amino Acids, Dave is looking forward to once again offering local band listening parties. Recently on hiatus, look for those to start up again on the last Tuesday of every month. It’s a great opportunity to introduce new fans to local music. Next spring, they also intend to offer board games and magnetic poetry nights.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADon’t miss out on the great deals that are waiting for you all weekend long. The shop will be offering 20 percent off used items storewide. They have lengthened their hours, opening from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and will offer hot coffee to customers to combat the chilly weather. The first five customers through the door on Friday will receive $5 in Weir-dough to be used on anything in the store after next weekend – great to use for Christmas gifts or to treat yourself!

Whether you are looking for the perfect quirky gift, a good read or something you never knew you couldn’t live without, Weirdsville Records and Paperback Writer Books are definitely worth stopping by.

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61 Macomb Place, Mount Clemens, MI 48043 (586) 468-2665

http://www.weirdsvilledetroit.com/
http://www.usedonnewbooks.com/

Hours
Monday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tuesday – Wednesday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Thursday – Friday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday Noon to 4 p.m.

This article was also posted at MakeMacombYourHome.com on Nov. 26, 2014.