There is nothing more romantic than dinner for two and a lovely bottle of wine at an intimate, Italian restaurant. Nestled in a small shopping center off Holly Road in Grand Blanc, you will find Da Edoardo North, an authentic Italian restaurant. From the colorful array of flowers at the entrance of the eatery to the sleek wooden bar, inviting interior and white linen-covered tables, Da Edoardo provides a true, upscale dining experience and what owner Eddie Barbieri describes as “the real deal” when it comes to the food. “It’s true Northern Italian cuisine,” he says, of the many delectable dishes offered at the restaurant, which has served the community since March 2000, and was voted the best place for fine dining by the My City Magazine City’s Choice Awards.
The restaurant itself has a rich history. It was founded by Eddie’s grandfather, Edoardo Barbieri. Edoardo, who was in the Italian Army, was a POW – captured in Africa by Allied Forces and brought to America during World War II. He returned to Italy, but came back to the U.S. with his wife, Ann. The family recipes they brought with them were inspired by the cuisine of Northern Italy, Eddie explains. In 1956, his grandfather opened a restaurant in downtown Detroit. In 1978, Edoardo and his son, Ed, opened the original Da Edoardo in Grosse Pointe. In the mid-80s, the third generation – Ed’s children, Ann and himself – came on board. “We learned everything about the restaurant business from our father and grandfather,” says Eddie. “Grandpa told us, ‘Don’t get into the restaurant business,’ but we did it anyway,” he laughs. Today, the Barbieri family owns three restaurants: Da Edoardo in Grosse Point, the Foxtown Grille and Da Edoardo North in Grand Blanc.
While the atmosphere at Da Edoardo is warm and charming, it’s the food that draws in the customers. “I think our food is A-1!” exclaims Eddie, who is frequently in the kitchen creating delicious dishes. “We use only the finest ingredients.” Eddie says that the cuisine of Northern Italy is distinct and different from other regions of the country. You won’t find ricotta cheese in the lasagna at Da Edoardo, but you will find delicious sauces rich with butter and cream. Lasagna noodles are made from scratch with a spinach-based dough. “All the pastas are handmade,” boasts Eddie, “including the cannelloni, tortellini and gnocchi.”
The most popular entrées are the oven-baked Lasagna Verde alla Bolognese and the Chicken Marsala – boneless breast of chicken sautéed in Marsala wine, served with mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes. Other favored dishes include Pappardelle alla Napaletana, wide egg noodles served with fresh tomato sauce, and Gnocchi al Pomodora, small potato dumplings and fresh tomato sauce. Rounding out the menu is a wide selection of steaks, chops and seafood, as well as a scrumptious variety of individual pizzas. The hearty minestrone soup, Eddie’s grandmother’s recipe, has a different twist from the minestrone served at other Italian restaurants, as the beans are pureed. Many customers enjoy the spicy sautéed calamari, which is served with peppers and tossed in a light, lemon cream sauce.
An extensive wine list includes California reds and whites, as well as Italian reds and whites, Champagne and sparkling wines. The most popular dessert is the Tiramisu, made from a recipe his sister discovered while going to school in Perugia, Italy.
The restaurant offers daily specials and other deals such as a Dinner for Two, and half-off bottles of wine. Overlooking wetlands and a lake, the large outdoor patio seats 40 guests. Diners enjoy live music on Friday evenings, and takeout and catering are also available.
Customers are impressed by the service at Da Edoardo. It takes a team of cooks and 35-40 employees to keep the place running smoothly. The staff has many longtime members, including Sheila McGarvey, Mary Rojeski, Tony Hicks and Kevin Kampf, who have been with Da Edoardo since it opened. Eddie’s wife, Susie, is always around to help out, as well. “She does everything,” laughs Eddie. “It’s a family business, there’s no question about it.” The fourth generation is following in their parents’ footsteps. Now working at the eatery are two of Eddie and Susie’s four children – daughters Gabriella and Hanna.
Da Edoardo is very supportive of the community they serve, donating generously to various school events and local organizations. “You have to become part of the community where you do business,” Eddie believes. In return, the restaurant has many loyal patrons. “It feels like home and family here,” he smiles. “But at the end of the day, the food has to be good.”