Chris Gogo & Effie Lambros

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.
A dish of paella at Sangria in Royal Oak, a favorite place of Effie Lambros. // Photograph by Joe Vaughn

Chris Gogo, one of the three brothers who run Mr. Paul’s Chophouse in Roseville, often heads for Brio Tuscan Grille at Somerset Collection when he and his wife, Lynne, go out to dinner. “They make a great carpaccio,” he says. “The platter is huge — a great presentation of a great dish.” That’s usually followed by a wedge of lettuce and lamb chops or a pasta dish for him, while Lynne especially likes the pasta “purses” with vodka sauce. “It’s a great place to relax,” he says. Nearer to their home is El Charro in Fraser, where the couple enjoy margaritas and soft-shell tacos and “always run into friends.” They discovered Old Stone Bar & Grill in Washington Township, when brother Paul had a birthday party there, and appreciated the rustic atmosphere and service.

Effie Lambros, proprietor of the Hilton Road Café in Ferndale, loves to cook at home. “You know us Greek women, we’re always cooking,” she says. But when she and her husband, Steve, a chef who retired from Maple Lane Golf Club in Sterling Heights, do go out, they head for one of three downtowns, Ferndale, Royal Oak, or Detroit. Via Nove is a favorite in Ferndale, Sangria in Royal Oak, and Laikon Café in Greektown, where they always order braised lamb (neframia). At the other restaurants, they are adventuresome diners who try something different every time. “Sometimes he’ll pick and then I’ll pick, and we share. We try everything.”

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