Juliano's Jerry Licari & Maria's of West Bloomfield's Joseph Morda
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.
> JERRY LICARI, proprietor of Juliano’s Restaurant in Warren, says he tries to support locally owned restaurants when he and his wife dine out. “One of our favorites when we go to a sporting event is Bookies on Cass Avenue, a short walk to Comerica Park. It has great parking right across the street and outside rooftop seating — a perfect atmosphere. My wife is happy, because she can enjoy one of their many salads, and I always get the Angus burger. Bookies is owned by a couple of young graduates of U. of D. Jesuit High. It’s nice to see local kids prosper in this business.” The couple also enjoy Rochester Mills, where they order the Asian-chicken stir-fry and barbecued ribs. “On most Fridays and Saturdays, they have a good band that won’t drive the over-50 crowd out the door,” he says. Luxe Bar & Grill in Birmingham is another favorite. “Great menu, nice atmosphere. I love the salmon and daily specials. It has a wonderful assortment of wines, which my wife loves.”
> JOSEPH MORDA, who revived the venerable Maria’s of West Bloomfield, is a self-described foodie. “Of course, being Italian, I love Italian food. When I go out, I look for gracious, attentive service, a well-organized restaurant with attention to detail. ‘Nuking’ doesn’t work for me; I like the texture and tastes achieved through proper cooking techniques.” His top-three favorites are Atlas Global Bistro, where he enjoys wine tastings; Rugby Grille, especially for eggs Benedict; and Hogan’s, for the chicken nachos, olive burgers, and French dip. “When I’m home and get the time, I love to cook,” he says. “However, with the hectic schedule of running the restaurant, at-home eating consists of mostly on-the-go items.”