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February 16, 1996 - Image 92

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-02-16

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

• •• • • • • • •
• Happy Hour


HE



L AK E

--

Tue.-Fri. ;
5-7 pm •

ntertainme


• With Appetizers •

••••••••••

Join Us In February For

The New Orleans
Make Your Adventure

Reservations for
Valentines Day,
Wed. Feb. 14

Earn Your
Jake's Money!

Now Accepting

$

Old Guard With Young Faces
At A Dining Tradition In Detroit

Banquet Facilities
& Private Rooms
Are Available

T

8 1 0 — 8 5 1 — 8 8 8 8
Transmedia
The Cuisine Card Reservations Are Welcome
Tue.-Thur. 5-10 pm Fri.-Sat. 5-11 pm Sun. 4-9 pm
4105 Orchard Lake Road At Pontiac Trail in the Village of Orchard Lake

THE

nif•ty (nine) adj. {MAGNIFICENT} [Slang]
attractive, smart, stylish, enjoyable-
The lakes area's finest dining.

ENJOY THE 'LAKES AREA'S FINEST DINING .
PINE DINING IN A CASUAL ATMOSPHERE

BANQUET FACILITIES POR UP To ISO
BAR & BAT MITZVAHS, _SHOWERS,

WEDDINGS, BUSINESS FUNCTIONS

SERVING -DINNER TUESDAY - SUNDAY

14-02 S. COMMERCE, WOLVERINE. LAKE ( 1O) 624-6660

1

PEKING GARDEN 1

' 1

I

SZECHUAN, HUNAN & CHINESE CUISINE

0°/ 0

I

here are more than enough
good Italian restaurants to
go around with the sur-
prising thing being so many
fine ones havingplentiful repre-
sentation of northern cuisine and
a few touches of the Sicilian
thrown in to complement the nu-
merous examples of good south-
ern Italian.
Lelli's Inn on Woodward, just
north of Grand Boulevard, con-
sidered the intimate granddad-
dy of all Detroit Italian
restaurants, opened in 1939 and
is synonymous with Old-World
charm and excellent cuisine.
Throughout the years, it has
drawn numerous accolades from
restaurant reviewers ... One
would think that there is not too
much more to write about Lelli's.
But Lelli's is above being just
another Italian restaurant ... or
even one more dining institution
... It has a colorful history.
Back in the 1920s, the site had
been an old house used as a blind
pig ... Many Detroit notables
found their way to this locale and
later spoke of it with much rev-
erence.
When Nerio Lelli, about as
round as a ping pong ball and
twice as bouncy, who liked to re-

Expires
3-16-96

DINE IN OR C A RRYOUT I
OFFim'a
I

I LUNCH SPECIALS 7 DAYS A WEEK
I [
OPEN MON.-THURS. 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m.,
1 1

I

I

FRIDAY & SAT. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., SUNDAY 12 Noon-10 p.m.

APPLEGATE SQUARE

0875 NORTHWESTERN HWY. At Inkster

1 0%

C.1)

OFF

w

BAC kROOrvi

NOW OPEN
SUNDAYS

ni) 1

L

.

I

I

353-7890j

AND CARRWOUT

(Excluding Alcoholic Beverages)

FRESH
& FANTASTIC
MIDDLE EASTERN FOOD

CATERING FOR
ALL OCCASIONS

• 1 Coupon Per Couple
• Not Good With Other Coupons
• Expires 3-31-96
• West Bloomfield Location Only

7295 ORCHARD LAKE RD. AT 14 In Robin's Nest • 810-851.1133

—1

fer to himself in the third person
as "the doctor," proudly opened
it, he did so with much pride that
is still continued today.
Signor Lelli would tell you half
seriously, half kiddingly, that his
was the best restaurant in De-
troit, and he was the best chef ...
After people met and talked to
Nerio, they probably agreed with
him.
The "doCtor" business came

from the fact that Nerio was an the corner was Arminio Bel-
original and inventive chef, and tramello's Villa Venice, whose
considered himself a true doctor property Mike obtained as a
large parking area and restau-
of culinary arts.
The original walls at Lelli's rant addition.
The original Lelli's Inn had
were stippled green, the ceiling
quite low and the place a maze of parking for only 40 cars ... Mike
arches, little alcoves and tiny made a deal with Michigan Bell,
rooms ... But Lelli's had a lot more bought a warehouse for an indoor
charm and atmosphere than garage and today can park over
200 cars both indoors and out-
most newer, modern places.
This dining area, there since doors.
Nerio originally had
its opening, seating 125,
a partner ... Cousin
still stands today as sort
of a memorial to Nerio,
Mario Lelli, who was
who passed on in 1970,
bought out and opened
and his wife Irene, who
Mario's on Second
passed on in 1984.
Boulevard.
In a more modern
Mike, now 54 years
old, tastes everything
room, blue awnings over-
when in town ... And if
hang a sector above blue DANNY RASKIN
LO CAL
padded booths, blue linen
not to his expectations,
COLU MNIST
tablecloths, blue linen
throws it out ... He re-
napkins, stucco ceiling,
tired from the business
one wall fully tiled, another com- but is still at the restaurant four
pletely mirrored fronted by large or five times a week while here ...
booths, and one more wall of stuc- Mike used to be there every day
co ... Seating is for 200 ... Also and built a room for himself in the
added on was a third room with back so he could shower "between
the same style awnings and col- shifts."
or scheme ... A loft seats 100 ... All
Almost all the dishes at Lelli's
told, there are six dining areas are from recipes handed down by
Nerio ... Some were changed by
now at Lelli's.
A private banquet room where Mike, who retained his father's
many recall their bar mitzvah re- original ways with subtle differ-
ences.
It is still an excellent
northern Italian restaurant,
but Lelli's has also become
more of a steak house, going
through about 3,000 pounds
of tenderloin a week, cut by
the hands of Executive Chef
John Brown, who has been at
Lelli's over 19 years, and does
his own butchering and trim-
ming, plus making the soups,
sauces, etc. ... Around 1,000
pounds of veal a week are
sold.
Many remember when Ne-
rio used to play the violin for
customers ... It seems like a
Lelli's custom that a violinist
should be there ... Rudy Ziga
has been strumming with the
bow at Lelli's since 1977.
Biggest seller on the menu
is the wonderful Lelli's filet
with the original zip sauce
Nerio came up with ... His
ception, shower or Steve Lelli, Beckie
Palmina sauce has nation-
other happy event Lelli and Chris Rado
al note that former Detroi-
being held, seats
ters now living elsewhere
upwards of 150.
It has always been a family- still speak of whenever Lelli's is
run restaurant ... and so Mike mentioned.
Twenty-six-year-old Chris
Lelli, then in his late 20s, took
over operation when Nerio Rado is kitchen manager, and
passed on ... Mike built the Blue also does butchering, cooking, etc.
Room in 1977 on the site of what with John ... He has been there
used to be the Iron Hinge Bar eight years.
When Mike Lelli used to ask
next to a Korean food store ... On

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