Café Via’s Michael Little and Christine & Jacques Driscoll of Green Dot Stables

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

> Executive Chef MICHAEL LITTLE of CAFE VIA says he and his fiancée love to go out to eat, but they have a challenging time doing it with three children age 5 and under at home. Home is in Lake Orion, so when they go out, it’s usually to places nearby, including the Union Woodshop in Clarkston for “seriously good barbecue, smoked chicken wings, and mac ’n’ cheese and ribs with any of the house-made barbecue sauces; everything is delicious.” Other favorites are Lipuma’s Coney Island for the “best Coney dogs I’ve found, and for an added touch, they’re right on the Clinton River,” or Red Knapp’s Dairy Bar in Rochester for hamburgers and a chocolate malt. “If we can sneak out for breakfast on Sunday morning, we either head to Café Muse in Royal Oak or Toast in Ferndale,” he says. On a rare evening out for the couple, they might be found at the Townhouse or Chen Chow in Birmingham or Toasted Oak in Novi for charcuterie with “all the appropriate accouterments.”

> When CHRISTINE AND JACQUES DRISCOLL, who run GREEN DOT STABLES just west of downtown Detroit, dine out, they stay close to their own restaurant. “We either head to Brooklyn Street Local or Steak Hut for breakfast,” Christine says. At Brooklyn Street, Jacques is likely to have the Hangover Special with peameal bacon and poutine; Christine has “whatever soup Jason has concocted for the day.” Lunch faves include Al’s Paradise Café downtown, where Jacques generally gets the chicken shawarma with a plate of falafel on the side and an orange-and-carrot juice, and Christine goes for falafel San Fran and fattoush salad. “If we’re super short on time, a chicken from Taqueria El Rey in Mexicantown always hits the spot. When they venture beyond city limits, “it’s Polish Village Café for a Hungarian pancake (smothered in goulash) and pierogis.” Dinner destinations include Al-Ameer, Thang Long, and El Barzon, where they “always order off the Italian menu, although it should be noted that their salsa is the best we’ve ever tasted and that comparison includes San Diego,” Christine says. After a long day, they like to enjoy “a nice, cold beer at Abick’s Bar, a little neighborhood hangout off Livernois and John Kronk Street.”