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March 12, 2009 - Image 53

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2009-03-12

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George Hits A Grand Slam

West Bloomfield Honey Tree's huge success defies the naysayers.


t has been four years since the move
and more than enough time to make
comparisons ... Like the cliche in
baseball where many of the best player
trades are those that were never made ...
Or in the restaurant business where big
mistakes many times turn out to be much
better-than-expected moves.
The latter is truth in a big way for
a place like George's Honey Tree that
celebrates its fourth anniversary on
Northwestern Hwy., West Bloomfield,
after almost staring a kiss of death in the
face ... One that so many customers said
would appear to have the look of inevi-
table dejection.
Owner George Lukaj told them that
he was forced to move because his res-
taurant and Anita's Kitchen next door
would not receive lease renewals at their
established locations at Hunter's Square in
Farmington Hills ... Seems that the mall
owners wanted the area for a biggie like
Bahama Breeze, which was never realized
until finally being taken over by California
Customer reactions brought many
thoughts ... "Big mistake, the new place is
too hard to get in and out of"... "The for-
mer furniture store is much too big for the
little Honey Tree" ... "Don't plan on them
being there too long" ... "The empty areas
with no people will keep others away:' etc.
Here it is four years later, and everyone,
including the mall owners are shaking
their heads ... To prove all but George
wrong, it took just seven weeks between
closing and reopening for George's Honey
Tree, newly named for total menu and
operational independence ... From the
first day, it made more money than any

three good days at the former
site, says Lukaj ... More than
6,000 people jammed the
favorite neighborhood restau-
rant in its first week ... And
the lavish figures have never
The new location was three
times the size of its former
locale and proved that more
people than ever could enjoy
the house-cooking and diversi-
fied menus ... The average weekly atten-
dance before was about 3,000 per week, not
bad for the place's smaller size ... But quite
skimpy in comparison to the almost 8,000
that now go each week to George's Honey
Tree for wholesome dining enjoyment.
Well over a million people in four years
certainly can't be wrong as they today
not only get pleasure from specialties
that could not be given at the previous
location, but enjoy them with increasing
regularity ... There is now room for a
sumptuous eat galore Sunday Brunch with
enough space to cook omelets, pancakes
and waffles; an all-you-can-eat Thursday
evening Pasta Night with spacious areas
for preparing its varied forte; a Tuesday
feature that offers about 11 appetizers at
no charge, etc.
There was no denying that George
Lukaj and his staff of efficient servers
had grown in popularity as much as it
had going from 2,700 to 6,700 square feet
and 250 seating rather than the sparse in
comparison 98.
The preparation and serving of every-
thing from lamb chops to seafood to
chicken to steaks to a wide selection of
American and ethnic foods ... all at the

popular thing of today, lower
prices for quality breakfasts,
lunches and dinners, has met
with extreme satisfaction.
George's Honey Tree has
given its customers much
more than they had expected
in its move from Farmington
Hills to West Bloomfield ...
More space to enjoy the com-
fort at almost three times the
amount of tables and chairs
without watching others and waiting for
them to give up their tables ... What
George and his staff have accomplished in
a four-year anniversary is what restaurant
ownership dreams are made of.
where you don't have to go through the
gaming machines and tables to get there
... It's the new Bistro 555 with low prices
and beautiful decor, located in the new
hotel section of the downtown Detroit bet-
ting emporium ... Certainly something
from which Las Vegas casinos and even
others in Detroit can take a major lesson
in convenience.
Dinner entrees with soup or salad and
rolls for dishes like fire-grilled chicken
and beef filet combo accompanied also by
a cheese-baked potato and vegetable, $19;
12-ounce New York strip steak with mush-
rooms, onions and potato, $24, etc. ...
Bistro 555 even has a small plates section
of the menu, also including soup or salad
and rolls ... Smoked salmon with potato,
$12; steamed mussels in garlic broth,
$11; veggie pizza, $9, etc. ... Or if just a
sandwich is wanted, a burger with onions,
tomato and lettuce, plus fries or coleslaw,
is just $7 ... Seating in the lush setting

is for around 170 at breakfast, lunch and
dinner ... Sure doesn't sound like a res-
taurant in a gambling casino setting.
GOOD GENERAL Manager Dept ...
Alberto DeSantis at Bacco Ristorante,
Northwestern Hwy., Southfield ...
Customer friendly cooperation with
utmost efficiency are his consistent call
Kosher Deli, has been open about a year-
and-a-half in the Jewish Community
Center on 10 Mile Road, Oak Park, serving
the general public and owned by Morris
Goodman, boss gent of the former Sara's
Deli on Greenfield and 10 Mile Road,
Southfield ... Plus the usual Jewish deli
fare, special meat for Lubavitch folks is also
available ... Hours are Sunday-Thursday,
10:30 to 8 p.m. and Friday until 2 p.m.
IT'S CALLED THE Dexter-Linwood
Dinner Club, meeting every Wednesday
evening at local eateries to pack stomachs
and talk about yesteryears ... Buddy's
Pizza and Boneyard, Farmington Hills, or
George's Honey Tree, West Bloomfield, etc.
... Founders Mel Markowitz, Teddy Brod,
David Rosenman and Howard Niskar
sometimes count up to 20 fellows with
mouths full of food and stories.
CONGRATS TO ... Dave Dombey on
his 85th birthday ... To Mardi Rosenberg
on her 60th birthday ... To Clara Robins
on her 88th birthday ... To Peggy Sandler
on her 65th birthday ... To David and
Mardi Rosenberg on their 40th anniversa-
ry ... To Alex Winkler on his birthday.

Danny's e-mail address is

dannyraskin@sbcglobal.net .

201 S Old Woodward Avenue • Birmingham MI 48009
248.594.7300 • www.forterestaurant.com

March 12 • 2009


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