Norm LePage and Eve Aronoff

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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Norm LePage and Eve Aronoff
Lamb chops from Phoenicia, one of Norm LePage’s favorite haunts. Photograph by Joe Vaughn

Norm LePage, the man behind Big Rock Chop House in Birmingham, is quick to say that answering a question about where he goes when off-duty is “very easy. My favorite restaurant is the Phoenicia. I have to say Sameer [Eid] and I are good friends. He and I have lunch three or four times a week.” LePage says he especially loves Phoenicia’s kibbee nyee with grilled loose lamb. “Fabulous,” he calls the dish, “but there isn’t a bad item on the menu.” When he and wife Bonnie go up north to their summer home, Chandler’s in Petoskey is often the dinner destination. “The food is spectacular,” he says.

Eve Aronoff, of the restaurant in Ann Arbor that bears her name, goes for the basics away from her Kerrytown location. “To be honest, because I taste so much every day … and our food has a lot of complexity, spice, and bold flavors, I eat very simply when I am away from the restaurant.  I love all kinds of ethnic food  — Indian, Thai, Ethiopian — but I kind of need a break from that intensity and richness, so I like to go to Knight’s Steakhouse and just get a really good hamburger or steak, or Zingerman’s Roadhouse, because they work with great ingredients and are super accommodating.” She says her all-time favorite food is pizza. “I like to go to Tomatoes Apizza in Farmington Hills to splurge.”

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