AS PROUD METROPOLITAN DETROITERS, IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO REVITALIZE THE ATTITUDES OF OUR CITIZENS, THE POLITICAL, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL ATMOSPHERE OF OUR STATE, AND THE PERCEPTIONS OF OUTSIDERS.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

LE PETIT ZINC

As the entrepreneur who opened popular eateries such as Chez Oskar, and Cafe Lafayette, in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, Charles Sorel knows how to create a successful cafe. Now, as Sorel moves forward with newly opened French bistro, Le Petit Zinc, in Detroit city, the question becomes whether his past success can be replicated here. If the plan is to continue serving simple and delicious French fare, from a quaint building on the corner of Trumbull and Howard, in hipsterish Corktown, I can't think of a reason why not. (The previous sentence could be misconstrued as sarcastic, and subconsciously maybe I meant it to be, but i'm telling you right now, it's not sarcastic...well, at least I don't think it is).

Le Petit Zinc's owner, Charles Sorel, was raised in Paris, and subsequently moved to New York City, when after September 11th, he, his wife, and three children moved to Brazil. They lived in Brazil for the better part of this decade until they chose to move back to the states, specifically to Detroit, which Sorel believes is the greatest city on earth.

Actually, I just made that up that last part. Sorel didn't say that. In truth, Detroit is the hometown of Sorel's wife Karima, and presumably she lured him back to her old stomping grounds in an act of defiance of which only we as Detroiters have the chutzpuh to even attempt to pull off. (I can relate).

From there, Le Petit Zinc was born. Small and cozy, the restaurant only seats 25 inside. The interior is painted with an array of colors ranging from yellow, to turquoise, and to green. Outside, the garden patio is an ideal spot to sip espresso and enjoy a crepe during the summer months. This is exactly what I did on an unusually warm day in March, as did Sorel, who sat next to me at an outdoor table and spoke in French to an acquaintance through a new model Macbook. In case you were not yet aware, yes, it's that kindof place.

Le Petit Zinc's menu ranges from light breakfast offerings to hot drinks, lunch, dinner and dessert. The simple breakfast at Le Petit Zinc might remind you of your time spent abroad, when a delicious toasted baguette and cup of espresso was the perfect start to the day. The espresso is excellent, and as one patron proclaimed, it helps heal the wounds left by the cheered opening and unexpectedly swift closing of Mercury Coffee Bar on Michigan Ave. earlier this year.

Lunch options at Le Petit Zinc include salads, sandwiches, and classic fare, all created with French influence. Seeing that I have a problem describing French fare with any semblance of eloquence, it's become readily apparent that reading Le Petit Zinc's online menu just makes more sense.

I can tell you that I was tempted to try almost every crepe on the menu. Possibly tapping into Detroit's French roots, crepes have now apparently hit it big in the Metro, with options such as Josephine Creperie in Ferndale, Crepes Cafe on Evergreen Rd. in Southfield, and Good Girls Go To Paris, a crepe stand across from the Metropolitan Building on John R near Woodward, which is already expanding with a new location in "Midtown," and another somewhere in the Pointes of Grosse.

At Le Petit Zinc, crepe options span both sweet and savory. I chose one filled with goat cheese, pine nuts, and spinach, which was extremely refreshing and not overly cheesed. In most cases, a bold decision such as using only a "normal human being" portion of cheese wouldn't be an act destined for praise, but in this setting, I found it spot on.

Meanwhile, while I've overly pandered to Charles Sorel throughout this post in light of his ambitious foray into the world of Detroit dining, in reality, all of us at Detroit Army get the feeling that he isn't too pleased with what the process of opening a restaurant in Detroit entailed. One could interpret Sorel's statements as evidence that if Detroit wasn't wifey's hometown, opening a restaurant here probably wouldn't be a top priority. This has nothing to do with the city itself, which Sorel genuinely believes has similar attributes to the home of his former New York City bistros, the Fort Greene neighborhood in Brooklyn, which emerged within the past few decades as a desirable locale after previously being left for naught.

Instead, its apparent that Sorel's frustration has everything to do with the long, and costly process with which he continues to deal, at the hands of government officials as he attempts to get Le Petit Zinc off and running. As of now, Sorel has been unable to obtain a liquor license for the restaurant, and while he still plans on securing one, he politely, but openly, questions why it will cost him approximately $30,000 dollars in all to receive approval from the city, when the same license costs $1,000 in Brooklyn. In fact, when Sorel spoke with the Detroit Free Press (R.I.P. tangible version 3/30/09 ), he stated that everything about opening a business in the State of Michigan takes longer and costs more than doing so in Brooklyn. Sorel though is quick to share that while the process hasn't been easy, city of Detroit residents deserve credit for their ongoing support, along with Phillip Cooley, most notably of Slow's Bar BQ fame, for helping him navigate the permit process.

All things considered, Sorel's experience is not exactly a ringing endorsement for Michigan business policies. Instead, it's an important message for state, city, and local legislatures, and one of which we as members of the Detroit Army should ensure they are well aware.

Detroit Army is proud that a man like Charles Sorel is willing to take a chance on a niche restaurant here in the midst of uncertain economic times. And yes, he still deserves major credit, even if it's possible that his wife forced his hand in moving to Metro Detroit in the first place. If that is what happened, Mrs. Sorel, Detroit Army can't thank you enough.

Below are photographs from my visit to Le Petit Zinc.

To view the entire Flickr set, click here.





Le Petit Zinc
1055 Trumbull Ave.
Detroit, MI 48216
(313) 963-2805
Le Petit Zinc

Detroit Army

Friday, March 27, 2009

MICHIGAN ACTORS STUDIO OPEN IN FERNDALE

Yet another sign of the impact of tax incentives for films, the new Michigan Actors Studio in Ferndale is holding an open house on April 2 to provide information about upcoming classes and workshops. Next thing you know, people will be telling their friends that they're moving to Michigan to follow their dream of becoming an actor/actress. (sorry, that was overzealous)

Find details here

Detroit Army

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

ARTIST VILLAGE PROJECT PRIMED TO THRIVE

The long awaited Old Redford Artist Village is almost complete, but it still needs a strong push to cross the finish line. Thanks to Motor City Blight Busters, the non-profit group behind the project, the formerly almost vacant strip near Grand River and Lahser already houses a studio, gallery, computer lab, and open mic venue where artists can converge and converse.

Still, John George, founder and director of Blight Busters says that a cafe and central meeting spot is still missing, which is why the group is looking to the public to raise the $50,000 needed to get Motor City Java House off the ground.

Read the article in its entirety here

Learn more about Artist Village Detroit here.

Learn more about Blight Busters and how they are able to accomplish so much here.

Detroit Army

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

LOCAL INVESTMENT FIRM CONSIDERS HOLLYWOOD FILMS

Bits of news continue to trickle out in reaction to Michigan's recent passage of tax incentives for films. Plans for permanent studios and local financing are just two signs that the movie industry could become a nice niche market for Michigan.

Excerpt:

Joel Eisenstein wants to make a hit movie in Michigan.

The Hollywood deal maker is with the All Cities Media Group, a Los Angeles film networking organization that helped finance The Hulk and other summer blockbusters. He's meeting next month with O'Keefe Investment Banking in Bloomfield Hills to consider forming a local partnership.Eisenstein said it will be the first time ACMG set foot outside of Southern California. If the deal works, it could end up paving the way for hundreds of millions of potential investment dollars for the Michigan film industry.

See the article in its entirety here

Detroit Army

Thursday, March 19, 2009

EXTENSIVE IMPROVEMENTS PLANNED FOR EASTERN MARKET

It's like night and day at Eastern Market since non profit group Eastern Market Corporation was given control of operations. The market has always been a great place to buy and sell flowers, meats, and produce on a nice Saturday morning, but the Eastern Market Corporation has worked feverishly over the past couple years to return the market to its prominent place as one of our nation's finest. With extensive updates to multiple sheds and improvements to streetscapes already in place, Eastern Market Corporation is now ready to take the next step and rebuild Metro Detroit's local food system, with Eastern Market acting as the main hub.

As reported by Model D Media, just last week Eastern Market Corporation President Dan Carmody outlined the organization's future plans for the entire Eastern Market district. The goals are both lofty and extensive and include the following:

Shed 4 will be a new two-story market hall built on the lot just north of Shed 3. It will host approximately 14 food processing vendors on the ground floor -- think artisanal cheeses, organic tortillas and pastas -- and a teaching kitchen and classrooms on the second level. Plans call for Shed 4 and Shed 3 to share a geothermal heating and cooling system.

Shed 5 will be rehabbed with a focus on horticulture. The narrow Shed 6 will be widened for weather protection and a wind collector will be installed on top. The existing parking garage will be improved, and solar panels will be installed on its roof. Carmody says EMC's goal is for 15 percent of the market's energy needs to come from renewable sources.

Shed 7 will be substantially improved as a Growers Terminal, with an eye to improving the viability of the market's wholesale business. It will include a new terminal and docking facility and will be refrigerated.

Greening of Detroit is expected to break ground this year on a 2.5-acre market garden that will have a greenhouse and hoop sheds to extend the growing season. Carmody says the garden is about both food production and economic development -- the intent is to quantify job production as a function of garden acreage. Current estimates suggest that if just 20 percent of Detroit's food was produced locally (currently, that number stands at 2-3 percent), 4,700 jobs would be created, which would generate $20 million in taxes and $125 million in income.
(Model D)

Like I said, night and day...

Detroit Army

Monday, March 16, 2009

CAFE VIA

After months of work, Cafe Via is now open in the former Marty's Cookie's location on Maple Rd. in Birmingham. The restaurant is described by part-owner Carol Cahalan as an "American bistro with European flair." Exciting features of the restaurant include a bistro license which allows it to have a small bar area, along with patio seating tucked in back and surrounded by the Briggs Building giving diners a nice quiet space to relax and enjoy their meal.

The crowd can be a tad stuffy (to be expected), and the food is expensive, although not at all outrageous for the cuisine served. The inside is decidedly upscale and with flair, yet comfortable and secluded, as it is sectioned off into smaller rooms for privacy. Patrons who spoke to us at the bar gave their approval for the food (some had been there seven times since its opening nine days before) and on a Saturday night recently there was an hour wait even after nine o'clock. Hopefully that's an indication of how much restauranteurs enjoy the food and not solely due to Cafe Via taking over as the trendy restaurant in town...

See the article in the Detroit Free Press about Cafe Via's opening here.

Detroit Army

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A GRAY FOX IN DOWNTOWN DETROIT?

Originally posted 3/12/09

My girlfriend and I saw Minnie Driver last night. We also saw what I believe was a Gray Fox. Sorry Minnie, the fox wins. How do you like them apples?

After eating dinner at Eph McNally's for the Detroit Synergy Diner's Club, my girlfriend requested that we take a look at the filming occurring at the old Wayne County Building for an upcoming Hillary Swank/Minnie Driver movie. Within minutes, Minnie Driver hopped out of an unmarked white van (oooh they really tricked my girlfriend, me, and the 0 other people around) and my girlfriend nonchalantly said, "Minnie, welcome to Detroit." She said thank you and something about being cold, which is really completely unimportant because moments later was when I saw the "big cat", stealthily sneak through the night around the South end of the building. As it scampered into the bushes though, I could tell that it wasn't a cat at all.

Laying on my stomach on the old Wayne County Building lawn, I could see that this animal was a canine, and not in the form of a domesticated dog. As much as I cringe at giving those annoying independent movie makers more ammunition in their continuing "artistic" quest to show the world how the city of Detroit is returning to its roots and reverting back to prarie land, I must admit that it was immediately apparent that this animal was wild. A member of the film crew shone his flashlight on the animal, which showed a gray coat, and a black stripe on its tail.

Now after hearing about the animial's colors I know you're all thinking, "This guy is an idiot, it was a raccoon." Listen, I know what a racoon looks like, and this was no raccoon. After doing some due dilligence, I found that the Gray Fox is found throughout North America and is distinguished by its gray coat and black striped tail. After examining a picture of the Gray Fox online, I'm sure a Gray Fox is what I saw.

Unfortunately, I was only able to get close enough to the fox to take a picture while it was under the bush. Of course, once it was out in the open, my camera froze up and the lens would not emerge.

Below I've posted a picture of a Gray Fox in the wild, and subsequently the picture I took of the fox below the bushes that night. It's extremely hard to see the animal in my picture, but its two eyes are unmistakenly seen glowing from the reflection off of my camera's flash.


Is there any possibility that I have even the slightest idea about what I'm talking about? Let me know what you think, but trust me, it wasn't a raccoon, damnit.

Update 3/15/09: A friendly reader of Detroit Army did me a favor and lightened up the picture I took through photoshop. While the fox is still hard to make out, the lightened picture does make it slightly easier to see the animal hiding behind the bushes.

See the lightened picture below:

Detroit Army

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

TIGER STADIUM SLATED FOR DEMOLITION

Originally Posted 4/23/08
Updated 6/29/08

Updated 7/9/08
Updated 7/31/08
Updated 10/3/08
Updated 10/12/08
Updated 1/20/09
Updated 3/11/09

Lost in yesterday’s big news regarding the proposed rail system was another inch forward towards the demolition of Tiger Stadium. “Detroit’s Economic Development Corp., a quasi-public arm of the city, awarded the demolition contract to a joint venture of MCM Management Corp. of Bloomfield Hills and The Farrow Group of Detroit.” (John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press).

I drive by “the old ballpark” occasionally (well just to get a burrito in Mexican town most Tuesdays), and with every pass by the corner of Michigan and Trumbull my memories of the events that took place there fade further away. However, I’m not writing my first post on Detroit Army because I want to reminisce. That is not what we are about.

After reading Detroit Army and reflecting on the comments by its readers, I realize that we all want to move forward, and part of moving forward, is leaving behind the past. While the idea of saving a corner of the existing structure would be a deserving tribute to the greats that roamed the field for over a century, it would be another contributing factor adding to an already complicated, costly and tumultuous process. I’m not saying throw the idea out completely, but we should not let our fondness for our past detract from our future once again.

Anonymous

See John Gallagher’s article about the project below.
Group lobbies to save part of Tiger Stadium after Detroit awards demolition contract

Update 6/29/08

On June 25, 2008, Mike Hicks of the Detroit News writes that the preparation for Tiger Stadium's long awaited demolition has begun.

"MCM Management Corp. of Bloomfield Hills and Farrow Group of Detroit have started the process of obtaining permits to raze the stadium and sell parts for scrap, according to the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. The city's quasi-public agency handles development and is executing a plan approved by the City Council and Mayor Kilpatrick."

On the other hand,

"Kilpatrick set an Aug. 1 deadline for the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy Group, which has said was enough time to prove it has a $12 million to $15 million financial plan to save the baseball diamond, 3,000 seats and an area that would house Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell's sports memorabilia collection, some of which is now at the main Detroit Public Library."
(Mike Hicks/Detroit News

It's unclear whether the conservancy will be able to come up with the money in time, but it is worth noting that the conservancy group finally has a website up and running which states that "The reports of Tiger Stadium’s demise are greatly exaggerated." I don't know if they know something that we don't, but it's clear that they do not have the money to move forward with their project yet as they have consistently missed deadlines set for them. Additionally, considering that the Tigers moved out of Tiger Stadium eight years ago, to put it mildly, the website campaign seems oddly late to the party.

Tiger Stadium Conservancy

Update 7/9/08

"This time, it has really, really started."

"Ferocious-looking stadium-demolishing machines are ripping apart the wall and everything behind it on the north side of the stadium, near the Fisher Freeway service drive, along what used to be called Kaline Drive. In baseball terms, that would be the area between the centerfield bleachers and the left-field seats."
(Bill McGraw/Detroit Free Press)

Tiger Stadium's demise assaults senses
Tiger Stadium walls are coming down
Tiger Stadium turning to dust
Tiger Stadium's outfield walls begin coming down

Update 7/31/08

"At the urging of City Council, officials from the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy board and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation sat down for more than an hour to strike a deal after debating in council earlier Tuesday -- at times contentiously -- on what to do with the old stadium that has been partially torn down."
(Detroit News)

"...preservationists must create escrow accounts of $300,000 and $69,000 by Aug. 8, when the issue will be brought back to council.

The Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy, a preservation group, also must get complete funding for a museum in place by March 1, 2009, under the agreement. The amount needed is about $15.6 million.

The plan includes preserving the baseball diamond and 3,000 seats, and building a museum."
(Detroit Free Press)

Tentative deal saves part of Tiger Stadium
New plan hatched to save portion of Tiger Stadium

Update 10/3/08

The chance that any piece of Tiger Stadium will be saved now seems to be gone. Ernie Harwell has cut ties with the group that is trying to save the old ballpark and is returning the donations that he has raised in connection with the project back to the original donors. The group has until Tuesday October 7, 2008 to come up with an initial $219,000 in order to save a portion of the stadium.

This isn't going to end well for preservationists...

"Tiger Stadium preservationists have until Tuesday to come up with a total of $219,000 to keep their effort to save a dugout-to-dugout portion of the stadium from demolition, a Detroit City Council committee decided today."

"But the effort suffered a major setback when S. Gary Spicer, the attorney for former Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell, whose foundation has raised $500,000 toward the project, said that the foundation is returning the money to donors because its proposal to limit the project to a museum for Harwell’s memorabilia and the playfield was taken off the table."

See the entire article here

Update 10/12/08

The Detroit News quotes Tiger Stadium Conservancy vice president Thom Linn as saying "'We will be successful,"' at a downtown Detroit press conference. He went on to state "This will be a catalyst for Corktown development.'"

As for now, the Tiger Stadium Conservancy is proving my prediction that it will not be able to save a portion of the old ballpark wrong.

"The group working to save part of the stadium raised $219,000 and signed a city agreement that allows members to continue with their estimated $12 million to $15 million plan to renovate the site as a recreational and educational complex."

Still, the conservancy's task is far from complete and plans for Tiger Stadium now become much more detailed and even more expensive.

"By Dec. 1, the conservancy must show it has a detailed plan that, among other things, shows how the group will raise the rest of the funding and how it will construct the project. Members have until March 1 to raise the money. If things go as planned, construction could begin next summer and be completed within 18 months.

The conservancy has said that it has already identified up to $7.5 million in tax credits and has money earmarked for the project by U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, in the next federal budget."

Find more information from the Detroit News, and the Detroit Free Press

1/20/09 Update

Apparently the race to save Tiger Stadium is neverending. At this point, I don't have any clue as to what deadlines are for. Hell, deadlines have come and gone, some of them have been met, some have not, and yet, the Tiger Stadium Conservancy lives another day.

The Free Press reports today that the Economic Development Corp. granted approval to the project’s budget and plan in a letter dated Friday to Thomas Linn, president of the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy.

I could have sworn that in December it was reported that the Conservancy planned a $16 million renovation, but apparently that figure has almost doubled. The conservancy now faces a March 1 deadline to show it can provide an estimated $27 million to pay for the project.

Not really the best economy for raising $27 million dollars, but you gotta give the Conservancy credit for trying...

I'm sure on March 1 I'll have five more meaningless deadlines to keep you updated on. Until then you can check out the conservancy's plans at Save Tiger Stadium

3/11/09 Update

Ok, so March 1 has passed, and as usual, I still don't know what will become of Tiger Stadium. I do know this,

"President Barack Obama signed a $410-billion appropriations bill today to keep the government running, despite the widespread attention paid to some 8,000 earmarks included in the legislation — among them a $3.8-million provision to redevelop and protect a piece of Old Tiger Stadium."
Detroit Free Press

The conservancy still has to raise the remainder of the $27 million...

Detroit Army

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

TROY-BIRMINGHAM TRANSIT CENTER

In this area, any upgrade in transit is a good thing. Hometownlife.com reports that plans for a joint Troy/Birmingham transit center venture located behind the Midtown Square at Coolidge Road and Maple Road, are moving along more quickly than before due to stiff competition among local governments for federal stimulus money earmarked for Michigan. The center will accomodate Amtrak rail, buses and taxi service. A pedestrian tunnel will connect the station to the Birmingham side of the train tracks.

The Hubbell, Roth & Clark engineering firm is expected to finish design blueprints within the next 90 days. Birmingham Planning Director Jana Ecker said the goal is to have a "shovel-ready" project by June.

Hopefully "by June" means exactly what Birmingham Planning Director Jana Ecker says. In the past, deadlines took on a different meaning for this project as, and correct me if I'm wrong, these two cities had almost a decade to build a transit center on this land after it was donated with a provision for reversion back to the developer if a transit center was not built by a specified time. The initial planning stages only began sometime last year.

Again, hopefully, all of the transit plans in the works across metro Detroit will have a logical link in the end.

Looking forward to the finished product...

See the entire article here

Detroit Army

Monday, March 9, 2009

NEIGHBORS WORK TO PROTECT VACANT HOMES

You don't have to sit around while foreclosed homes fall apart around you. Be selfish and make sure that once this housing crisis actually ends your neighborhood doesn't look like the 9th ward in New Orleans after Katrina.

Take a look at how residents around the metro area are taking matters into their own hands and doing what they can to help counteract the effects of massive foreclosures in their neighborhoods.

"In Warren, Mayor Jim Fouts drives the city to note examples of blighted buildings, then gets the owners or his city workers to take action. In Dearborn, the city offers free trees to residents to beautify their front lawns.

In Pontiac, the nonprofit Lighthouse Community Development has built or rehabilitated more than 100 houses in recent years to fight blight.

In Detroit neighborhoods such as Boston-Edison and Indian Village, citizen volunteers plant flowers at vacant houses, mow the lawns and take turns parking their cars in the driveways to make the vacant homes appear occupied.Volunteers hang curtains in vacant windows and install motion detectors in empty houses to catch burglars in the act, with several arrests recorded in Indian Village alone."

Find ways to get involved by checking out the full article from the Detroit Free Press here

Detroit Army

Sunday, March 1, 2009

AMICI'S PIZZA

Even without an ultra paternalistic law forbidding smoking in private restaurants and bars, Amici's Pizza in Berkley embraced capitalism and adopted an all encompassing policy of non-smoking. Originally located in Royal Oak, Amici's Pizza has long established itself as a environmentally conscious, "green," Berkley mainstay, with its vast array of martinis, delicious gourmet pizza, outdoor summer patio, and, yep, no smoking policy.

Wheat crust as a healthy alternative is one of Amici's big selling points. Upon hearing this, I, as Lebron James would say, "preliminary," scoffed. When people want pizza, they have no intention on having a healthy meal. Even more, he or she has already mentally prepared him or herself to eat something unhealthy. It's a conscious decision that, for at least this one meal, the trade off between health and taste favors the latter. Fortunately, eating at Amici's turned my wheat crust distrust upside down because, well, it's good. Actually, I'd go as far as to say I wouldn't think twice about eating wheat crust pizza anymore as long as it tastes like Amici's does.

Even furthering Amici's reputation is that it's purportedly the first restaurant in southeast Michigan to be certified "green" by the national nonprofit Green Restaurant Association. It's unclear what makes it certified "green," considering the restaurant only uses disposable utensils, glasses, and plates (which I would assume creates much more garbage than using permanent kitchenware), but I'm generally not very hip to the rules associated with being "green." If anyone's interested in how Amici's became "green" your answer may be right here. Anyone...anyone...anyone...?

There are plenty of pizza options available at Amici's, and many of the combinations are as creative as they are enticing, including "pesto pizza", "blackened chicken pizza", and "caribbean spicy jerk chicken pizza." (They might have gone too far with "North Atlantic Salmon Pizza" though.) Traditional toppings are offered, but you can tell that the restaurant prides itself on its gourmet options. For cheese, upscale toppings include Fontina, Ricotta, Garganzola, Feta, and tofu vegan cheese, for vegetables, Portabella mushrooms, asparagus, grilled eggplant, roasted red pepper, and sun-dried tomatoes can be added, and for meat, blackened and jerk chicken, lox (sounds gross if you ask me), or Italian bacon are available.

Word to the wise though, make sure your waitress has a pen and paper. Otherwise, there's a distinct possibility that you'll be asked what the order was five times before you receive your food. Trust me, its annoying enough to just go ahead and make the awkward request that she write everything down. (I may have just had a bad experience with this.)

The pizza should be the main attraction, but the ability to get smashed on martinis while eating "health" pizza made with "green" precision doesn't hurt reviewers' positive sentiments. The list is extensive, including over 50 varieties, and with so many martinis to choose from, the place can get loud, especially on a Friday or Saturday night. The choices range from the traditional gin or vodka with vermouth, to "stoli-doli" (pinneapple soaked), and dessert martinis including "key lime pie," and "chocolate mint." Personally I'm not into the wacky martini options, so there are also about 45 other options of which the contents are unknown to me such as "bikini-tini," "journalist," "bee's knees," and "golden cadillac," just to name a few.

Some in our party loved the crazy martini concoction options, while some (me) thought of them as gimmicky. Either way, by the time everyone in your party has his or her third drink, they should all be well on their way to enjoying themselves, thereby rendering the unnecessarily over the top mixture options a non issue. (On a side note, I was told by a recent diner that their dessert martini was more focused on the dessert, instead of the alcohol.)

On one final food note, we got the Antipasto, as well as the fresh garden salad. The garden salad was inexplicably ordered as you could probably make it in your kitchen in about five and a half minutes, and the the Antipasto salad was decent at best. I wouldn't abandon eating at Buddy's just yet if you're in the mood for a salad with Italian meat.

In all, Amici's is a great spot for a casual dinner, drinks with friends, or for a nice but not too expensive date. The atmosphere is fun, the wheat pizza is delicious, and the martini menu is both extensive and eclectic. I should also again mention that Amici's is certified "green," which should make it acceptable in the hipster crowd, unless too many critics, myself included, have already pointed out the restaurant's "greenness," thereby creating the always intriguing predicament where the continual mention of an establishment's hipster quality leaves that very quality unequivocally unhip.

Anyway, its hipster status really shouldn't matter though because locals and those who have visited for years continue to come back, and new customers are introduced to the restaurant weekly. Between Amici's forward thinking attitude, delectable food, and expansive drink options, Amici's should be around for a long time.

See photographs taken at Amici's Pizza below. You can see the entire set of photographs from Amici's Pizza on flickr here.





3249 Twelve Mile Road
Berkley, MI 48072
Amici's Pizza

Detroit Army