Cravings: Andiamo Riverfront and Local Kitchen & Bar

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


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> “In the restaurant business, we have very few days off so we try to tie in a little workout or exercise before we go out to eat,” says Mike Nowinski, operating partner of Andiamo Riverfront, whose dining and working partner is his wife, Alison. “A couple of weeks ago, we went snowshoeing at Stony Creek, then we went to dine at Bad Brad’s BBQ in Shelby Township. We loved the ribs, mac and cheese, the sausage, and the chopped beef brisket nachos.” Sometimes on Wednesday afternoons after a very busy lunch at Andiamo, the Nowinskis head for Green Dot Stables. “[Their] sliders are fantastic,” Nowinski says. “Our favorites are the reindeer, peanut butter and jelly, grilled bologna with grilled onions, mystery meat, and black bean sliders." They’re also looking forward to golf weather. “After a nice day of golf at the Lapeer Country Club, we like to go across the street to Lake Inn for an ice-cold beer and burger on the patio overlooking Lake Nepessing,” he says. For live jazz, they enjoy Cliff Bell’s downtown, and when they’re in the mood for Asian fare, Troy’s Mon Jin Lau gets the nod. When they get away, as they did recently, Nowinski says their favorite destination is St. Kitts in the West Indies. “There’s nothing better than going to [Timothy] Beach and waiting for the divers to come in with the catch of the day, which could range from spiny lobster to barracuda, and watching them throw it on the grill right from the Caribbean Sea.”

> Chef/proprietor Rick Halberg, of Local Kitchen & Bar in Ferndale, is a man of eclectic tastes. He’s especially fond of lentil soup and falafel, well-done hash browns, and eggs over-easy. Some of his favorite spots around town include Bacco in Southfield, where he enjoys the branzino; Pizzeria Biga, also in Southfield; Al Oumara in West Bloomfield; and, for his hash browns, Sunrise Café in Farmington Hills. “If I could go back in time,” Halberg says, “I might have the Vitello Elefante at RIK’s and just about anything prepared for me by Takashi at Tribute. Or the seared foie gras with fig jam and brioche prepared by me at Emily’s,” the upscale restaurant he ran in Northville. When he can get away, some of Halberg’s favorites include New York’s Le Bernardin, Charleston’s FIG, and “a little place for fried wild strawberries and mint in Lake Como.” 

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