Michael Versaci of Miguel's Cantina & Kara Bongiovanni Faris of Luxe Bar & Grill

Cravings: Their stylish menus are enticing enough to attract a loyal clientele of discriminating diners, but no matter how expert they are, restaurant people like to take a break from their own kitchens for a taste of someone else’s cooking.


> MICHAEL VERSACI, the “Miguel” of the Mexican restaurant Miguel’s Cantina in Rochester Hills, lives in Beverly Hills, so most of the places he frequents on his days off are around Birmingham, he says. He can often be found at Café Via, where he orders the burger “medium-rare, of course. For great coffee and a quick and casual lunch or brunch, I like Commonwealth.” When in the mood for ethnic fare, he goes to Grape Leaves in Troy for the kibbee nayee or tomato kibbee and “the Fire-Breathing Dragon from the Fly Trap is a must when I’m in and around Ferndale. I get my coney fix at Lipuma’s in downtown Rochester. Great coneys and chili.”

> KARA BONGIOVANNI FARIS stays busy much of the time at Luxe Bar & Grill, the Birmingham restaurant she runs with her brother Joe. She manages, however, to set aside a little time for “brunch at the Beverly Hills Grill, where I spend the whole afternoon. I love the corned-beef hash.” She also orders from the specials on the daily board “and the great specials on wine. And I really enjoy Cork Wine Pub [in Pleasant Ridge]. The bar is neat and there’s a great bar menu with old-style cocktails,” such as the Manhattan she ordered there recently. She prefers casual places and her preferred seating is at the bar.

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