Greg Reyner and David Smith and Annie Barbieri-Kolinski

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.

Greg Reyner and David Smith of Café Muse in Royal Oak say they’re always in search of a unique dining experience. “Running a restaurant can be all-consuming, so we cherish the time we’re able to get away, and we tend to be drawn to places that are unassuming — those nondescript places that you drive by all the time without realizing what wonderful things are served inside,” Reyner says. One of their favorites is the Cadieux Café in Detroit. “To say that the restaurant is unpretentious is an understatement,” he says. “We always order the same meal: mussels Forté Dei Marmi (steamed in garlic, white wine, and olive oil) and served with a cup of mussel soup and spinach mashed potatoes.” Another favorite is the Beverly Hills Grill. “This is a restaurant that has always impressed us with its consistency in providing high-quality food and service. We usually rely on the specials, but one of our favorites on the regular menu is pan-roasted pork chops with maple mashed sweet potatoes.”

As the granddaughter of the founder of the Da Edoardo restaurants, Annie Barbieri-Kolinski has been steeped in the business all her life. Her particular responsibility is Da Edoardo Foxtown Grille in the Fox Theatre building. When she and her husband, Brian, get away, they enjoy the Capital Grille, where she often orders calamari, the wedge salad, and a filet. “The food is consistently good, and the service efficient,” she says, adding, “I love their Stoli Dolis.” Another favorite — this one with her kids — Max and Evan, is Steve’s Back Room. “My boys especially like the kibbee nyeh,” she says. “Going out for Italian is unusual, since I look at it all the time. However, the brick-oven pizzas at La Zingara on Erie Street in Windsor are always delicious.”

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