I know this post only fits into this blog because I want to reminisce about a remarkable restaurant which only lives on in our memories.
The idea for this post came to me when a friend send me a truly well made picture comparison of today’s Detroit to times gone by. You can find it at detroitturbex.com with the, in my opinion, fabulous slide show which you can enter by clicking here.
Since I came off the boat from Germany in the late, late 60’s I called the Detroit area my home and as my wife was born in the city, these roots go even deeper.
One picture in the slide show mentioned above made me think of the time when I worked at the largest German Sausage Manufacturer in the city. In particular of one wholesale customer, a chef and his wife, who stopped by at least once a week to pick up salamis, heavy smoked hams and more for their restaurant. So I looked if I could find some information about that restaurant on the net and came across only one article.
The original can be found in an archive article from the Ann Arbor Sun in October 1976.
In the paragraph directly under the Red Wing picture Arminio’s Villa Venice is mentioned.
As described in the article it was a restaurant on Woodward, north of East Grand Boulevard, which is now an empty lot.
The set up was unique, as you entered there was a Grand Piano sitting on a podium to the left, where the chef sat down a few times a night to skillfully play some classical music. Straight ahead was a large show window giving you a glimpse of the nicely stocked walk-in wine cooler. The seating areas were on different level overlooking the Piano. On the walls were pictures from the chef’s life, some of them were when he was active in movies and if I remember right one was with him and Vincent Price.
Once seated they brought you a nice size antipasto platter, before they even took your order. I thought that taking care of the owner at my place of work gave us special treatment, but then I looked around and noticed that all customers were treated that “special”.
I remember the different Italian dishes our group ordered were all delicious and plentiful. After Arminio’s wife recognized me, he prepared a special desert for us and came out and joined us with a bottle of his excellent house wine. This evening was truly remarkable and at repeat visits the food was always terrific and the treatment was the best.
This was really a unique restaurant well worth remembering and an excellent example of a good thing that was and is close to extinct nowadays.