I want to begin this blog with a few disclaimers. First, in no way shape or form do I see myself as an expert on the culinary arts. Second, I have no formal training in any fields related to hospitality or restaurant management. Third, I have not eaten at every food establishment in Macomb County. Fourth, the views expressed by this guest blogger may not be in line with the views of Macomb County government. I am just a regular guy who likes eating quality food with the people he loves. Now that we have got that out of the way, let’s plate this dish.
My name is John Paul Rea, and I am a lifelong Macomb County resident. I work for the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development. My beautiful wife Roberta and I live in Washington Township, and throughout our four-and-a-half years of marital bliss, we have had the good fortune of dining at many of the county’s great eateries. From giant Italian feasts to a quick burger and a brew, we are always up for a good meal. With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, many of us get a bit frantic. Whether it’s trying to find the perfect gift or set up the right time for a reservation, the whole evening can seem a bit daunting. Do not fret, your good buddy JP is here with a few suggestions that might make your evening a little more special.
Here is a sampling of Macomb County restaurants that will surely impress. Some are fancier than others, but I assure you, they all get the JP and Roberta seal of approval:
Villa Penna’s – A Macomb County institution. George and his family have been serving this county great food for decades. You cannot go wrong with anything on the menu, but I would suggest you go with Roberta’s favorite the Pollo Piccante. Also the pizza bread they make there is the most delicious thing ever created.
Address: 43985 Hayes Road, Sterling Heights, 48313
Da Francessco’s – Good old Italian comfort food. If you go, you have to get the rice ball appetizer Arancini Di Riso. Pasta dishes are fantastic.
Address: 49624 Van Dyke Avenue, Shelby Township, 48317
Ristorante Piccirilli – High-class dining right in Shelby Township. Great atmosphere, with even better food. Umberto and his family have been running a top-notch restaurant for years at this location.
Address: 52830 Van Dyke Avenue, Shelby Township, 48316
Shamrock Irish Pub – Sure you might not score as many brownie points with this place, but who can resist a juicy burger and an ice cold beverage? People will argue all day long about who has got the best burger in town, but there is no argument. The Shamrock has the best burger. End of discussion. If you want to argue, feel free to call the County Planning Department, and I will be happy to explain to you why Shamrock is better.
Address: 7715 Auburn Road, Utica, 48317
El Charro Mexican Restaurant – If you eat an El Charro’s taco and it does not bring you joy, I will be shocked. Great flavors, generous portions and who can pass up a festive drink? Multiple locations around the county, so check them out.
Big Boy – Show me a person who does not like a Big Boy or a Slim Jim, and I will show you a person who does not like happiness. Big Boy is great. It just is. Sure many of you reading this might be saying, “What kind of guy would take his wife to Big Boy on Valentine’s Day?” I am not saying I have, all I am saying is if you want a place that won’t break the bank and will put a smile on your face go to Big Boy. Also it is Valentine’s Day so splurge and get a chocolate milkshake, and buy a seasoning salt to go.
So, these are my suggestions. Again Valentine’s Day is a celebration. Don’t stress, there are plenty of options. To be completely honest, I am not even sure where we will end up on Valentine’s Day. Wherever I end up, I will be a lucky man because sitting next to me will be the love of my life, my wife Roberta.
Happy Valentine’s Day!!!
P.S. – Don’t forget to buy a card. Seriously, buy one, and write something in it. Just don’t sign it.
John Paul Rea is a senior planner for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.