Eateries in the spotlight


SALUTE TAVERNA: Italian restaurant located in Goddard Midtown area

It took some time, but the heavily anticipated Salute Taverna (22615 Goddard at the corner of Pardee) is now open for business. The Italian restaurant/tavern replaces a problematic eyesore and gives the southwest corner of Pardee and Goddard a new lease on life.

Salute Taverna replaces the old “White Rhino” bar. The building has been totally renovated inside and out, and now includes beautiful tile and wood featuring more windows and light, and a complete kitchen. Outside, the restaurant a patio area wraps around the north and west sides of the building, including black iron fences that match the décor of the Downtown Development Association. The building fits nicely with the popular Malek al Kabob and the brownstones also located at the intersection.

Owner Donna Ficaj and Executive Chef David Wood are bringing a little piece of Italy right to the heart of Downriver. Salute Taverna offers patrons the experience of Italian favorites and old world charm. They will offer daily specials and exceptional meat cuts, fresh pasta and seafood, along with an extensive wine list.

Ficaj has a vision of a classic Italian award-winning restaurant, dedicated to building a memory of a fun, energetic establishment, with old world charm. She combines with Chef David, a Downriver native, who has worked his magic at many establishments such as Mosaic, Detroit Seafood market, the Whitney and most recently Wine Dotte Bistro.

Salute Taverna’s menu reflects the vision, starting with a variety of appetizers (ranging from Bruchette and wings to eggplant, Italian Sausage, peppers and onions to meatballs, Tuscan Lambchops and Coconut Shrimp). Soups, burgers and hot and cold submarine sandwiches should work well for the lunch crowd. Entrees include seafood, beef and pork, chicken and pasta (including four different sauces). They will also offer brick-fired pizza.

 Salute Taverna is open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 11-midnight Fridays-Saturdays; and is closed to the general public on Sundays (but reserved for private parties). For more information, click on; call (734) 318-2800; or email

SOUVLAKI GREEK STREET FOOD: Bringing a unique taste to the Telegraph corridor

Andreas Agrafiotis moved from his native Greece to the Detroit area nearly five years ago. With his brother, Pete, they wanted to open a Greek-style fast-food restaurant. Andreas has always worked in restaurants and had done everything from washing dishes to serving, cooking, tending bar and supervising.

They looked at a lot of locations. But when they had an opportunity in a strip mall near Telegraph Road and Koths Street in Taylor, it appeared to be just the right fit. “We just had the feeling that this was the one,” he said. “It’s on one of the busiest streets with a lot of traffic and a nice little mall.”


That’s when Souvlaki Greek Street Food opened at 10135 Telegraph, in a very modern, clean storefront location with plenty of parking for the multiple restaurants and other vendors who fill out the strip mall. “Souvlaki” represents a Greek of piece of meat grilled on a skewer, just the type of activity you see in the restaurant on a regular basis.

Now open for a year and a half, business is slowly improving, thanks to Andreas’ wide range of casual Greek food that is anchored by gyros, salads and bowls. Souvlaki’s top sellers include gyros and cheesy skepasti. Skepasti is a traditional Greek favorite, somewhat of a Pita bread sandwich filled with gyro meat or seafood. The Souvlaki version includes fresh cut chips and special feta sauce.

Gyro bowls are also a big favorite, along with Pastitsio, Mousakka and Souvlaki’s spicy gyro fries. Patitsio is a baked pasta with ground meat and béchamel sauce; Mousakka is a layered casserole dish with vegetables and meat. Andreas highly recommends the “Hercules Gyro” which is made up of two eight-inch pita bread slices filled with double the meat, toppings and sauce. You won’t go away disappointed.

“More and more people are finding out about us,” he said of his restaurant. “Before we moved in, we saw that Taylor had almost every type of restaurant, so we wanted to add Greek to that list. We’re happy to hear from customers. They are usually glad they found us, (because) is saves them a trip to Greektown.

“Our restaurant is family owned and has an open kitchen where customers can see us prepare their food, slice our meats and see just how clean we are!”

None of this came easily for Andreas and Pete. Last year, as they prepared to open their restaurant, their parents flew in from Greece for the celebration. However, their father suffered a stroke and ended up in the hospital for over three months. “It was definitely a challenge mentally to juggle opening a brand new business, working 13 and 14-hour days, while my mind was at the hospital,” Andreas admitted. “That was tough.”

But now that period has passed, and Souvlaki appears to be on firm footing. “I’m blessed to have all the employees I have at the moment,” Andreas said. “Two sisters – Monica and Morgan – have been with us from the beginning and they are our biggest helpers.”

Based on Souvlaki’s customers, if you love Greek food, and you appreciate a neat, clean atmosphere, Souvlaki is the place to be. It’s open Mondays through Saturdays 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (closed Sundays). Customers can order online at, sign up for deals or even cater events and parties.


Hook & Reel restaurant moving into Telegraph Road corridor

Plans for a Hook & Reel restaurant location (7838 Telegraph Road) are well underway. The new restaurant will take the place of the old Teppanyuki Grill and Buffet near Hayes and Telegraph. Hook & Reel has made their official announcement while plans are still pending with the Planning Commission.

The first Hook & Reel Restaurant was opened in Lanham, Maryland in 2013, by its founder, a man known only as “Miller.” Miller fancied himself as a “foodie” and explored the food culture of many regions of the United States and other countries. One of his food explorations in 2008, centered around the flavorful and spicy cuisine of Louisiana, and he found himself often cooking many of the specialties he first had in New Orleans. From that venture came a restaurant business.

According to a recent review of a new location in Celebrate Hilton Head Magazine, “choice is something of a specialty at Hook & Reel, with signature dishes that basically let you create something that’s totally your own. The Pick Your Catch option lets you start with your catch of choice, choosing on from a selection of 12 seafood options from shrimp and crawfish to lobster tail and crab legs, then lets you customize it with your choice of sauce and even heat level …

“The other popular option, the Make Your Own Seafood Combo, offers one of the truly unique experiences that have made Hook & Reel a national phenomenon. You start with a half-pound of your choice of seafood options, selecting at least two options, again with a sauce and heat of your choice, and it comes served in a bag puffed up with steam. This presentation not only makes for a great conversation piece, the steam locks in the flavors and lends a perfect consistency to the freshly shucked corn on the cob and potatoes that come as side dishes …”

This will be Hook & Reel’s first location in Michigan.

CHIPOTLE: First location moving into old Payless Shoes building

A Chipotle is taking the place of the old Payless Shoes at 21111 Eureka. Chipotle Mexican Grill was founded in 1993 in Denver. Creator Steve Ells was a line cook for Jeremiah Tower at Stars in San Francisco before he ventured out on his own, thanks to an $85,000 loan from his father. Over a quarter century, that $85,000 investment turned into 2,400 restaurants. This is the first Chipotle in Taylor; there are two in neighboring Allen Park.

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DEL TACO: Restaurant will anchor new Telegraph Road strip mall

A Del Taco restaurant will anchor a multi-tenant strip mall in an out lot located at 11400 Telegraph in Goddard Square (the Dunham’s out lot). The building will be 6,624 square feet to include a drive-thru window.

Bubba's 33 to locate in Burlington Square Center, across from Southland Center

Bubba’s 33. a new sports-themed family restaurant is set to open in Taylor, marking further expansion to the Eureka Road corridor known as “Eureka Way.” The new restaurant will locate in the Burlington Square Center, near Art Van Furniture and Men’s Warehouse.

Bubba’s 33 is a chain with the Taylor location marking only the second store in Michigan. The other is in Macomb County. The chain is named for founder Kent “Bubba” Taylor, with the 33 referencing the year prohibition ended in the United States. Taylor also is the CEO of Texas Roadhouse. The average Bubba’s 33 location is approximately 7,800 square feet and holds 321 guests.

bubbas 33