An old favorite returns to the Greater West Bloomfield area soon, refocused for the times in Sylvan Lake.
Mike Larco's Ala Carte will feature many of the same menu items as Larco's Italian Grill of West Bloomfield, which closed in June after 12 years in business on the northwest corner of Maple and Orchard Lake roads.
Larco, who works as a manager at the new location on the site of the former Lodge restaurant, said that he didn't want to retire from the restaurant business on that note — with building ownership accepting a buyout offer on the lease, which still had several years to go.
- Read more: Regulars Bid West Bloomfield Larco's Goodbye
After researching options to reopen, Larco said, he decided to keep the family's name in business in Metro Detroit with a new endeavor designed to maintain affordability in difficult economic times while keeping the same flavor which has been in the tradition of restauratuers since the 19th century.
"I thought about opening a carryout. I thought it would be a lot simpler. But, I thought, the staff and the customers want and deserve a sit-down," said Larco, 56, of Bloomfield Township.
"Larco’s have always served anywhere between five- to seven-course meals. Nowadays, people don’t eat that. They’re eating healthier, they’re conscious of their portion sizes. It can waste food."
Larco said that while entrees are still served with a bread basket and the menu features old favorites (including "the best burger in town," made possible through on-site butchering) the priciest menu item is still under $15.
What remains to be seen is a resolution to the issue of Larco's liquor license issued by the state, which is labeled "Class C," allowing for the sale of liquor by the glass. Under current rules, Sylvan Lake restaurants may only serve beer and wine with an appropriate license.
Larco said that the license is only transferrable to the city if the council approves, which he does not expect to happen before the restaurant opens.
"We’re basically setting a tone that we’re not here to get people drunk or stay here until 2 a.m. I don’t want to stay up until 2 a.m. to serve booze," Larco said.
Larco added that he expects a "soft open" sometime early this week in order to judge the expedient work that has been done since the West Bloomfield location closed.
Mike Larco's Ala Carte is located at 2440 Orchard Lake Rd. It can be reached at 248-682-9500 or online at larcositalian.com.