It was one of those lazy Sunday mornings, our only concrete plan was to check out the Royal Oak Flea Market. Although the activity starts bright and early (8am), it goes on until 3pm, giving us plenty of time to get there and browse. You don’t have to be a collector to enjoy a visit to the flea market; contained in the building is a fascinating array of items both new and old. There are things to wear, books to read, toys that bring back memories. Stuff for your yard, gourmet caramel corn and a coffee stand, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg…..
We parked in the adjacent lot and took a look around at the outdoor items first, often this is where you will find the bigger items such as furniture. Inside a large array of tables await your arrival; set up into rows and aisles each flaunts it’s own unique display. There’s so much to see, it’s hard to know where to start; it’s fun to look around, you never know what you might find. Creative types get clever with discarded items, making them into cool things such as lamps and birdhouses. Vintage toys are painted in primary colors and decorated with clown faces; noisemakers and horns look nearly new, I assume this is because at some point parents couldn’t take the commotion and hid them away. Jewelry abounds; watches, earrings, bracelets and rings; their age spans the decades. Camera’s, beer steins, record albums and signs, tea cups, sports cards, antique radios and colored glassware, what’s not to like? Each time you go the selection is a little different, but always worth the visit.
While Royal Oak certainly has an abundance of restaurants, today I had something different in mind. Loui’s Pizza in Hazel Park, located on Dequindre between 9 and 10 mile, is just a short drive from Royal Oak. I grew up on “Detroit” style pizza; it’s square pizza that’s not too thick, and not too thin. The dough is flavorful, the edges are a little dark, and the crust has a distinct crunch, there’s nothing else like it! As you enter the unassuming building you are greeted by framed photos of famous people that have had the pleasure of eating here, there are reviews clipped from newspaper, and artwork done by Loui’s patrons. Step into the dining room and it seems as if you have been transported to a previous decade; the main color of the decor is dark pink…..in a good way…. A large square soffit, painted pink and dusted in glitter, hangs from the center of the dining room, dangling from the edges are empty straw-wrapped Chianti bottles. It is a tradition for customers to “autograph” the bottles and leave them to be hung up for display. Booths line the mirror covered walls, pink miniature lights hang in clusters against the mirrors intermixed with more bottles. The main dining area consists of tables that can easily be pulled together to accommodate large groups. Probably the two most popular items are the pizza (of course) and the antipasto salad. The salad is served in large glass bowls; crisp iceberg lettuce is adorned with petite cubes of ham, salami, cheese and slices of tomatoes. Louis Tourtois Sr himself came up with the recipe for the house vinaigrette, tossed right into the salad it’s absolutely delicious! The pizza, well, what more can I add to what I’ve already said? Ours was perfectly cooked, slightly charred on the edges, loaded with delicious toppings, then topped off with a nice coating of tasty red sauce. A small is four pieces, there was none left to take home. Louis Sr, Jr, and the III have been serving up their own unique pizza’s for 35 years, if you’re like me, one taste and you’ll be hooked.
If you’ve ever driven north on Mound Road at Chicago you may have noticed Kuhnhenn Brewing Company on the east side of the road. Originally Lutz Harware, the Kuhnhenn family decided to take a chance and turn it into a brewery when a large chain hardware store opened just a half mile away. Bret and Eric Kuhnhenn were no strangers to the brewing process; they had sold home brewing supplies for years out of their hardware store and were home brewers themselves. The space has been transformed into an 8-barrel micro-brewery and brew-on-premise shop and has earned a loyal following. It was my first visit, something I had been looking forward to for some time. I was surprised the space was so large, the bar takes center stage, high top tables fill the rest of the room. The “menu” is impressive, be sure to click on their link to see for yourself. I had planned on a glass of dark beer, but after the pizza a glass of wine sounded more appealing. I took my time perusing the menu, best known for their German style Hefeweizen, they have a long list of core beers in addition to seasonal brews. I had no idea they offered such a wide variety of wines; Fruit wines, Red, White and Sweet Wines, something for every taste. On our servers advice I had a glass of the Green Apple Riesling, it was excellent! Light and fresh tasting, with a hint of green apple, just what I was looking for. Kris went with the Creme Brulee Java Stout, WOW! is that good, next time I’ll get that. Pizza, cheese plates and Dan’s Sausage are also available. Kuhnhenn’s is a great place to hang out with a group of friends and enjoy some really wonderful beverages.