Berkley

447. Berkley Common – November 14, 2019 – Berkley, MI

November2019BerkleyCommon2 (2)November2019BerkleyCommon3 (3)On a gloomy night during these, the shortest days of the year, Berkley Common was for me a beacon of warmth, conviviality, and culinary goodness!

I met a friend at the restaurant based in downtown Berkley on a weeknight in mid-November. Right away, I was captivated by its interior, which I would describe as a mix of rustic (forest-scape murals on the walls, lots of wood finishes), industrial-chic contemporary (minimalist light fixtures, exposed ductwork, earth tones), and retro (it’s got a jukebox!) all wrapped into one.

Next, I was knocked out by my drink selection. From Berkley Common’s menu of craft cocktails, I chose the server-recommended Smoke Ring for my Halo, which was FANTASTIC with its melding of blanco tequila, mezcal, lime, blueberry, jalapeño, and agave. I loved the mix of sweet, smoky, and spicy – SO perfect!

And then, I was blown away by my dinner choice. From the menu of appetizers, sliders, salads, hirata buns, burgers, tacos, and other goodies (which included various vegetarian/vegan and gluten-free options), I chose spare ribs with a Thai peanut barbecue sauce. They were oh-so-tasty, tender nuggets of meaty goodness slathered with rich, flavorful sauce, sprinkled with crushed peanuts and water chestnuts, and served on a bed of roasted vegetables. My stomach definitely had the warm-and-fuzzies after eating them!

And I left Berkley Common feeling all-around full of the warm-and-fuzzies after that lovely evening of dinner, drinks, and bonding with a friend. It was dark outside, but the light of that positive experience would buoy me in that darkness!

3087 12 Mile Rd.

Berkley, MI 48072

(Closed Mondays; open for dinner Tuesdays through Fridays, brunch/lunch and dinner Saturdays and Sundays)

www.berkleycommon.com

370. Crispelli’s – October 10, 2018 – Berkley, MI

October2018Crispellis1 (2)October2018Crispellis4 (2)October2018Crispellis3 (2)The pizza drew me to Crispelli’s of Berkley, but what captured my heart was its salad.

The heart-capturing was specifically carried out by Crispelli’s Mediterranean salad, with its wonderfully zesty lemon-oregano dressing and super-fresh-tasting ingredients: crisp mixed greens and cucumber; marinated red onion; vibrant beets; briny Kalamata olives; creamy chunks of feta; and crunchy toasted breadstick.

This Mediterranean salad is LIIIFFEEE, my friends. I got the side-salad version of it, which was hearty for its size; entrée and family-sized versions are also available. In my humble opinion, it would 100 percent not be a mistake to come to this pizzeria and order that salad as your entrée. And that’s saying a lot, because I love me some pizza.

And Crispelli’s, the local pizza purveyor with additional locations in Troy and West Bloomfield (and a bakery, Bread by Crispelli’s, in Royal Oak), is known for its pizza. It’s kind of a big deal around these parts, so it’s crazy to me that it took me over 4.5 years of blogging at 100 Places in the D to finally sample its wares. The Red Pie pizza I  ordered, with its chunks of fresh mozzarella, sausage, caramelized onion, and Detroit-style deep-dish crust (patrons are given a choice between that and thin crust), was good. But I’m telling ya, that salad!

Aesthetics-wise, I enjoyed the mish-mash of ambiance at the Berkley location of Crispelli’s. The front part is casual: an order-at-the-counter dining hall-type set up. The back area is fancier, with a bar and servers to attend to guests, and there are patio areas where you can receive sit-down service, as well. I enjoyed sitting on the front patio in what was presumably my last outdoor dining experience of the year (R.I.P. ’til 2019, patio season!).

28939 Woodward Ave.

Berkley, MI 48072

www.crispellis.com

182. 24 Seconds Bar & Grill – July 29, 2016 – Berkley, MI

Hola!!! Happy Tuesday, all. I hope you are surviving the work week nicely. Perhaps you are feeling like I was just a few moments ago – a little harried, frazzled, craving an adult beverage and a time out – until I launched into the soothing practice of writing, that is. Something about the process of crafting a well-constructed sentence calms me down. Plus, I love this blog. Recounting my travels around the D makes me so frickin’ happy!

And visiting downtown Berkley makes me happy, too. Have you been down there lately? The Friday night before last, I unexpectedly got the night off from my second job (which I’ve since quit – woo-hoo! More free time!), so I jaunted down to Berkley with one of my BFFs.

We hit the patio of Amici’s first, shortly after a major rain shower had soaked the fabric-covered deck chairs. Within seconds of being seated, our butts were also soaked. We improvised, having the restaurant staff bring us paper plates and napkins to sit on, which helped tremendously. Before we knew it, several other groups of diners that were seated outside after us were following our lead, planting their tushes on disposable dinnerware. Ridiculous – but fun! And yummm to Amici’s bacon-and-sausage pizza and the EXCELLENT Spanish coffee the bar made me.

After our foray onto the rain-soaked but absolutely lovely patio of that venerable pie establishment, we headed over to 24 Seconds, a nearby sports bar with a roof-top patio (check it out in the photos above!). Why would I NOT want to sit on a roof-top patio on a lovely Friday evening sipping a vodka and soda, conversing with a dear friend, and keeping tabs on the Tigers from one of the flat-screens nearby? That’s one top-notch Friday night for me, people.

I didn’t eat any food at 24 Seconds, but the menu looks like the typical bar fare: pizza, sandwiches, plenty of fried appetizers – even a few entree salads thrown in for good measure.

3071 12 Mile Rd.

Berkley, MI 48072

106. Republica – March 13, 2015 – Berkley, MI

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Meeting a friend in Berkley at Republica Friday made my alternate route home from work up Southfield Freeway finally feel justified (94-East tanker-explosion shutdown – what what!). I got to have one of the most excellent bacon grilled cheeses of my life! And some amazing french fries seasoned with lemon juice and oregano and topped with crumbled feta cheese (out-of-control good!). And some deliciously fancy cocktails and craft beer! So I think you can guess by now that Republica is a big yes in my book. Based on decor alone, it was probably already going to be a yes (check out the Ernie Harwell painting and all the Wings memorabilia), but of course amazing food and drink helps.

1999 Coolidge Hwy.
Berkley, MI, 48072

http://www.republicaberkley.com/

75. Vinsetta Garage – October 24, 2014 – Berkley, MI

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This place is awesome-looking inside and out! I love restaurants with ambience. A huge part of why I started out on this challenge is because of my disdain for bland national-chain restaurants, especially those whose only defining characteristic is that they are vaguely American (I can’t stand cheap chain-diner-type places . . . I’d rather just eat Taco Bell. The food has more character!). If those places exude American in a sad, beat-down kind of way, Vinsetta Garage, in comparison, is like Bruce Springsteen – grittily, proudly, strongly American.

Ok, I’m getting way too poetic about this. This restaurant looks sweet and the food is really good, too.

27799 Woodward Ave.
Berkley, MI 48072

http://vinsettagarage.com

49. Amici’s – August 22, 2014 – Berkley, MI

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Photo courtesy of http://www.amicispizza.com

I am so bummed, because I took some pictures of Amici’s delightfully flower-festooned patio, but I accidentally deleted them off of my phone, thinking I had already emailed them to myself . . . yeah. So the picture of the patio above is one from the Amici’s website. The restaurant’s interior itself is cute, but as you can see, the patio is where you gotta be on a gorgeous summer day!

I love that this pizza place is a Certified Green Restaurant and that they offer some really unique pies. I ordered the Caribbean spicy jerk chicken pizza, which has a ginger-peanut sauce – quite a surprising flavor for a pizza (I wasn’t really sure about it at first, but it grew on me). I hope to try the black bean pizza when I return.

Probably my favorite part about Amici’s, however, was the two full pages of specialty martinis that they offer. I chose the salted caramel pretzel-tini – yum!

3249 Twelve Mile Rd.

Berkley, MI 48072

http://www.amicispizza.com