The Best Of Everything
Befitting A King
Joe Balogna's castle provides Italian dining in royal elegance.
111 rom being a little
tions Executive Chef
Brian Romanko, 12 years;
pizza operator of
Keith Nett, formerly with
almost 20 years ago
Schmidt at the
on 17 Mile Road
Chop House in
and Dequindre in Sterling
a Joe Balogna
Heights ... he has become
17 years and now
more of a restaurant king ...
and with his own castle, too.
Joe Balogna opened his first
restaurant, the original Pizza &
Pasta spot, in 1984 as a carryout Local Columnist
ous Clarkston restaurant.
... and in 1985, he put in four
The property on which
booths to make seating for 16.
Irene's castle stands is
Today, his Castello di Balogna (castle
farm, owned by the
of Balogna) on Joslyn Court in Lake
Scripps family headed by William E.
Orion's Canterbury Village, holds
Scripps, former publisher of the
around 1,200 people ... It is a striking-
Detroit Evening News.
ly beautiful edifice with appointments
An original loft from the 1850s is
that would befit a king's castle.
for private affairs ... up to 40
Elegant hand-carved oak lined walls
... The large beautiful chandelier that
With Castello di Bologna's elegant
hung majestically in Detroit's
and banquet facilities, it con-
Michigan Theater in 1924 ... Antique
carry on a tradition of pro-
table, double staircase, oil paintings,
in the maintenance of an
life-sized replicas of Renaissance
chapter in Michigan's
knights and tapestries, gorgeous wood
from the Argonne Forest on the
It has its own bakery, where bread is
French-Belgium border, etc.
along with cannolis, etc.
But more than having a museum-
for weddings and bar
like castle atmosphere, Joe is proud of
an ice cream and
Castello di Balogna's food ... as anyone
with his experience has a right to be.
From the castle's 4,000 square feet
upstairs for banquets ... and 4,000
square of restaurant space downstairs
... are Italian dishes Joe has been well
noted for through the years.
Like the calamari that is importantly Balogna is no different ... Joe's dad,
Ambrose Balogna, 89 years old, regu-
prepared fresh daily ... sauteed with
larly checks on the fruits and vegeta-
caramelized onions and a lemon wine
bles and can be seen often at the
sauce ... a favorite appetizer ... Or
highly popular Frutte Di Mare seafood Eastern Market buying produce for his
entree, a wonderful linguine dish
Joe's wife, Adele, runs the back of
crammed with mussels, scallops,
castle ... handling the books and
jumbo shrimp and asparagus tips
other duties are needed
($18) ... among an impressive array of
13 pasta entree offerings ... The eight-
at the Johnson & Wales
ounce Siciliano steak has a garlic
in Providence, R.I.,
breading covering its tenderness
and restaurant man-
($17.50) ... Those who've had the
Danny is help-
Osso Bucco rave about its -slow-roasted
at the castle.
center cut veal shank ($18.50) ... also
a dining room
the fresh whitefish rolled in parmesan
bread crumbs ($13) ...Lobster Saffron
Restaurant hours in Joe's 200-seat
Ravioli with lobster stuffed into the
dining room and 175-seater trat-
saffron pasta ($15).
are Monday-Thursday, 11-10;
Joe's kitchen heads have been with
and Saturday, 11-11; Sunday,
him in most of his restaurant opera-
10:30 8, with brunch 10:30 2:30 ...
The kitchen at still another restaurant
on the site, the Wildwood Tavern, is
open 1.1-10 daily; Sunday, 12-8; and
daily 11-10 serving pizza, ribs, burg-
ers, prime rib, etc., along with alco-
Castello di Balogna has become a
huge challenge that Joe and Irene are
hoping to conquer ... He wants it to
be a total dining and entertainment
center ... On tap for next year is a din-
ner-theater that will include mystery,
themes like a Sopranos retirement
party for Paulie, Tony & Tina
Joe's ideas are big ... very big ... but
those who know him and have fol-
lowed Joe through his restaurant career
have little doubt of his eventual even
MICHIGAN CULINARY Food &
Wine Extravaganza's ninth annual"
Mardi Gras benefit for the MCFWE
Scholarship Fund has its date set for
Feb. 24, 2004 ... at Mac & Ray's
Banquet & Conference Center in
I'll be honorary chief judge again ...
happy to serve with other restaurant
reviewers in this wonderful event that
also raises funds to send the Michigan
Team to the Culinary Olympics.
THEY CAN'T DO ENOUGH for
their adopted country ... with a recent
Thanksgiving buffet just one of their
many deeds in a never-ending pride.
Fifty mothers whose sons and
in the United
cures, etc ...
all the trim-
mings ... by
Irene and Joe Balogna
in Farmington Hills on a Sunday so
members of their staff could give the
gals a wonderful day of pampering.
Eugene also treated the military.
moms to some of his own recipes of
traditional Russian fare of Salad
Olivia, with potatoes, chicken, peas
and eggs ... and Eugene's luscious
pierogi, made with ground potatoes,
fried onions and farmer cheese.
Of course he also made the turkey
stuffing ... his own recipe ... and a
couple of pies, too.
Tamara and Eugene came here years
ago from Russia with little ... and have
made giant strides of success in a very
proud feeling as United States citizens.
FORMER DETROITER Norma
Zager, editor of the Beverly Hills
Courier in California, presented the
paper's first annual teacher excellence
"I want to honor the wonderful
teachers I had, especially Leonard
Spafford at Vernor School in Detroit,"
said Norma, who initiated the awards
to recognize exceptional teachers for
their efforts and positive effect on stu-
BACK IN 1993, Scott Herkowitz
and his girl friend, Suzette, opened
their little carryout pizza operation ...
Nine months later in 1994, their fat-
free pizza was said to be the area's first
of its kind.
He and Suzette were married ... but
sold their Picasso's Pizza on 12 Mile,
west of Telegraph, in Southfield ...
when she became ill ... Suzette passed
on with cancer two years ago.
Their Picasso's is back in Scott's
He still has the fat-free pizza ... but
now also a low-carb pizza, which Scott
thinks may be the first around these