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June 28, 1991 - Image 70

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-06-28

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

LISTENING POST

I BEST OF EVERYTHING I

Sila Restaurant In Berkley
Carries Tradition Of Experience

LOBSTER FESTIVAL

DANNY RASKIN

Local Columnist

7 DAYS A WEEK

1'/2 LB. LIVE MAINE LOBSTER

COMPLE DINNER INCLUDES:
• SOUP OR PASTA
• SALAD
• POTATO OR VEGETABLE

E

$1 595

Live Piano Entertainment Mon. Thru Sat.
Tableside Cooking at Dinners ... • Steak Diane
• Caesar Salad • Seafood Fettucini • Fettucini
• Veal • Dover Sole • Flaming Desserts

Catering For All Occasions

• Lunch Served Mon.-Fri. • Pastries Made On The Premises
935 W. 11 MILE, S.E. CORNER 11 & 1.75
Res: 399.5960
Chef: Peter Lieber
Your Hosts: Bruno Ferguson & Tim Kowalec

NI MN

$10 OFF

WORLD'S GREATEST BIRTHDAY PARTY!

MONDAY THRU THURSDAY WITH THIS COUPON

Limit 1
Coupon
Per
Visit

- - -

FOR

Expires
4 FREE QUARr7-4-91

F aDacilgi GaLlrx,23 ,

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I

31005 ORCHARD LAKE RD.

626-5020

MON.-THURS. 'TIL 9 p.m. • FRI. & SAT. 'TIL 10 p.m. • SUN. 12 Noon-8 p.m.
mimiimilimmiimmommemommommilii

IF YOU HAVEN'T HAD
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• Expires 7-4-91

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AT MIDDLEBELT
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ANY LARGE PIZZA OR
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BY
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Featuring MARLENE HILL

FOR YOUR NEXT OCCASION

FROM DUO TO SEXTET
CALL DANNY JORDAN AT:

(313) 2884441

70

FRIDAY, JUNE 28, 1991

.

xperience . . . how can
you measure it, or put
a price on this valuable
commodity in the restaurant
game? . . . Can't be done .. .
It's probably the biggest asset
a restaurant has going for it
today . . . larger than the food
by a wide margin . . . You can
get mouth-watering dishes at
a lot of places . . . but not
experience.
Many dining spots have this
valued knowledge . . . and it's
a main reason why most are
still in business . . . Take a
sometime forgotten place like
Sila Italian Family Dining on
12 Mile, two blocks east of
Greenfield in Berkley . . . Ex-
perience is all over the place.
Back in 1959, it was a little
carry-out operation owned by
Guido Cundari who moved
across the street in 1968 with
a whopping 30 seats . . . In
the '70s, he took part of his
parking area and put in addi-
tional seating of 80 for both
the restaurant and a banquet
sector . . . Then in 1979,
Guido took the 12 Mile Road
frontage with its landscaping
and some parking to add
another 70.
Eleven years ago, brothers
Mike and Al Bsharah bought
the free-standing Sila and
added more experience to a
neighborhood restaurant the
likes of which so many cities
would love to have . . . Being
in the restaurant business
together since 1965, they
didn't step into a "Now what
do we do?" situation . . . Their
knowledge was keenly felt
and appreciated by employees
who recognize that the best
kind of restaurant boss is one
who knows what he or she is
talking about in suggesting
what they should do, whether
it be in the kitchen, waiting
on tables or even cleaning up
. . . People silly enough to buy
a restaurant today without
previous experience take a
very big gamble which so
many times puts them on the
short end of the stick looking
at a stack of unpaid bills and
a padlocked door.
All is not gloom in the
restaurant game when ex-
perience is involved . . . In
fact, it can be quite rewar-
ding, especially when the ex-
perience is coupled with good
common sense . . . This Mike
and Al have as they serve
three generations of
customers who know a good
thing . . . The Bsharah

brothers know too that
stagnancy has no place in the
restaurant business . . . You
must continually make
changes, especially with
menu additions.
The first thing they did
after buying Sila (a village
and mountain range off the
southern part of Italy's
mainland, pronounced See-la)
was to make sure people could
find them . . . A sign twice the
size of the restaurant's
previous one was put up .. .
plus another on the front of
the building . . . It does a lot
of parties, and folks don't
have trouble anymore in fin-
ding this gem.
The frontal area seats 100
with a lounge and 10-stool
bar which originally was in
the back used only as a ser-
vice bar.
Pauline Jordan is an exam-
ple of the employee ex-

The "new owners"
have been there 11
years, and many
staffers are
20-year veterans.

perience at Sila . . . Her win-
ning ways of much com-
petence comes from being a
waitress almost 50 years .. .
at the Cafe Rouge in Hotel
Statler, early '50s . . .
Topinka's for Ken Nicholson
on Telegraph four years in the
late '50s . . . Vanelli's on
Woodward 17 years . . . and a
long-time Sila stalwart who
knows what she's doing and
does it.
Rene Feldman has been at
Sila 10 1/2 years, explaining
things in Yiddish to many
customers who never thought
she was Jewish . . . Pleasant
Pat Sherman has been at Sila
20 years on and off . . . Ruth
Hoenle, manager, is a 21-year
veteran there . . . Smiling, ef-
ficient Donna Pitlock has
seven years of service . . .
Gracie Gingrich is the
11-year prep gal in Sila's
kitchen.
Mike and Al, besides con-
tinually adding new things,
are smart and experienced
enough not to tamper with
the 32-year-old recipes . . . but
have doubled the amount of
items since buying Sila .. .
What they refuse to use,
though, is any MSG (mono
sodium glutamate) in the
cooking of their food . . . This
feature, small as it may be,
has brought many customers
back.

If people discover a long
wait on weekends, they don't
wonder why . . . the reason is
apparent . . . especially with
home cooking and almost
everything prepared from
scratch.
Regulars like Alan Bishop
of Mr. Alan's Shoes, Sid
Weinstein, Murray Feldman,
Channel 2 business editor,
etc., join people from all walks
of life who come from
everywhere to enjoy Sila .. .
Like after the opening of Oak
Park's Concert in the Park
Series when some of the Oak
Park Civic Chorus members
who opened this year's event
came to Sila . . . Marion Bates
with hubby Mickey, Shirley
Lubin, Gere and Leo Oliva
and Ruth Kranitz.
Experienced restaurateurs
are watchful when it comes to
dining cleanliness . . . That's
why Sila is continually in the
90s ratings by the Oakland
County Health Department.
The decor is plain and sim-
ple . . . a large mural on the
wall behind its bar depicts a
water and mountain scene in
Italy . . . Wall paintings of
Italian scenes are also in the
front area . . . plus original
signed paintings on canvas
brought back from Italy years
ago by Guido.
Confidence from experience
. . . this is what so many Sila
customers have become ac-
customed to in the casual in-
formal dining atmosphere.
The Sila experience is a
good one.

/1

,-/

N

(

MAIL DEPT. . . . from Rae
Zukin . . . "In your column in
the May 31 issue of The
Jewish News, you wrote about
all the restaurants of
yesteryears. Everytime you
do a column on this subject,
you never mention Zukin's,
which is a very familiar name
in the Jewish community, and
has been from the 1940s
through 1965, starting with
the ice cream and candy store
on 12th and Hazelwood, then
on Dexter Boulevard in the
'50s and West Seven Mile
Road in the '60s. We're sure
you remember them well
since you and your family
were probably frequent
visitors, expecially on Dexter,
remembered for our famous
ice cream fantasies original-
ly created by Leon Zukin,
and served through 1965 in
our restaurant by his son,
Norman. I feel we are as
much a part of Strolling
Through Yesteryears' as all
the other places you name in
these columns, and wonder

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