Another place that has a great location, but seems like it just misses the target is Republica. Republica in Berkley, Michigan has all of the right ingredients to make a great dish - but something still seems off. The menu sounds wonderful. We were drawn in with talk of roasted whole cauliflower with roasted garlic walnut sauce and house made lamb burgers with, feta, dill, scallions & greek yogurt.
served on brioche bun w/ a side of yiayia’s beans, and a gluten-free grilled cheese. The huge draw to this place was the gluten-free/vegan options.
The lamb burger was good. But honestly, I have had better lamb burgers that were juicier with better toppings in the comfort of my own home (see Lamb Pork Burger - Homecookin'). The gluten-free grilled cheese was fine. It was a lot of gluten free bread and not enough filling. I would suggest making it more and adding MORE cheese or thinning out the bread. The cauliflower was really the highlight of the meal. It was well done in presentation and the walnut roasted garlic sauce was excellent. You can't get this anywhere else around town so it's nice they have some signature dishes that will keep people coming in.
They have a variety of MICHIGAN craft beers. So they are supporting the great state of Michigan, which is always nice. I think I will try this place one more time, but I'm not expecting to have my world changed. I will probably get a decent burger/sandwich out of it. I'm hoping they start looking at reviews and see that they need to have their signature dishes and they need to do them well.
So, the funny thing is that I knew Monte as a child. He owned this tiny, greasy standalone diner right by the borders of Royal Oak and Berkley, in front of a seedy hotel. I remember the greasy burgers and though I liked them as a kid, they didn’t make me want to go back as an adult. UNTIL!!!! I moved to Berkley, Monte’s got a new owner (Alex) and they got some good Yelp reviews. So I thought, why not? I’m so glad I did. Alex let me custom make my own breakfast, which I modeled after Hippie Hash (the origin of which is from the Fleetwood in Ann Arbor). Hippie Hash is comprised of hash browns, feta cheese, mushrooms and other veggies- (at Monte’s I add onions and green peppers to the mix while Fleetwood adds broccoli). This concoction is topped with two over medium eggs. Alex joked about putting it on the menu and I think we inspired other people to try. All I know is, I became a regular. Tiny spot, elbow to elbow with other patrons, but that’s the charm. I miss Monte’s and I have to go back, even though I don’t live across the street anymore. You should go order it and he’ll know we’ve talked. :)
Monty's Grill Website
Nostalgia is a powerful thing… and since my family had taken our cars to Vinsetta Garage for years for top quality, family-owned service, I was beyond excited to see the transformation that became ‘Vinsetta Garage: The Restaurant.’ And they lived up to my expectations, originally. Still set in the original garage theme, it’s industrial meets hipster. A cool place to meet friends (though the acoustics leave MUCH to be desired.
The menu is creative, as the place is owned by the folks who own Union Woodshop. Same great Mac n’ cheese, quality meat, inventive sides and unique flavor combinations. At first, I even braved the long lines to eat here and just couldn’t get enough. And then, for some reason, I maxed out a bit.
Why? I can’t really put my finger on it. It just became a bit… ‘je ne sai quoi…’ I don’t know how to put it in words. Unique, but not enough- quality ingredients and flavors, but not enough to make it the experience I thought it was at first. It’s not like the quality lowered, but when the newness wore off I find myself going elsewhere for ‘that great burger.’ You won’t regret stopping in, and you’ll probably like it a lot- as I did for a while. I’m also quite sure I’ll be back at some point even if it’s not a hurry. So take it for what it’s worth- it’s a great concept with a good execution that I just don’t crave.
Vinsetta Garage's Website
When I lived in Berkley, this place surprised me by being on my ‘regular playlist.’ Not for the same reason other people love it- booze, sports and a very decent rooftop outdoor lounge area. Their pizza was just delicious, and I craved it. The crust is crispy and buttery on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The cheese is browned, and there’s a bunch of toppings that I like to mix up to hit all the right spots: A little spice (peppers), a little sweet (pineapple) and a bit of meat (pepperoni). See? All food groups, and foodie groups, covered in one dish. It’s seriously good. But when you walk in, you think “Sports Bar. Drunk guys.” Don’t let that dissuade you (for some of you, that might sell you). Between the waffle fries and pizza, this place will fill your next greasy craving.
*Bad photos from old phone
24 Seconds Website
Alright Bagger Daves. I first fell in love with their Bagger Dave fries (chili, onions, mustard on their hand cut fries). Now I just come for their hand cut fries and honey mustard. I would always try to make my friend have the fries in the honey mustard and once she did she too became addicted. I don't know... it seems simple and silly, but it really does make them taste extra good.
This is another burger joint that has custom burgers that you can have like Burger King - your way. Except you really can have it your way here. They give you a piece of paper with a checklist that you can check off what you want so the chef can prepare it for you. It's a good burger. The toppings I would say is what make the burger. You know sometimes you eat a burger and it's good because of one of three things. Either the meat and cooking is top notch, the toppings mask the average meat and cooking, and/or the toppings enhanced an already perfect burger. It's rarely the last.
Come here and get the fries. Try the BD's fries and then try them regular. I love potatoes so this lure me back. The burger will be fine. You will walk out thinking that it's good, but not fabulous. That's sometimes ok. Sometimes you just want to go sit in a relatively quiet low lit place and have a burger, beer and fries and leave. This is the place.
One suggestion... get rid of the train. It seems silly and it's just kind of annoying. Thanks.
Bagger Dave's Website
Giving you a taste of what I taste. From gourmet to everyday. No pretentious bull - just good food.