Ready Spaghetti: Maria's of Royal Oak to Open Friday
Buddy Orlando opens a new Italian eatery on Catalpa Drive modeled after a pizzeria his father opened more than 35 years ago.
Save your pennies on penne when Maria's of Royal Oak opens its doors near the intersection of Catalpa Drive and Main Street on Friday.
"Everything on our menu – king crab fettuccine, stuffed shells, gnocchi –will have 1980s prices," owner Carl "Buddy" Orlando said.
Orlando copied a menu, including the prices, of a restaurant his father opened in Detroit more than 35 years ago – Maria's Pizzeria on Grand River. The Orlando family eventually moved the business to Ferndale, where they operated Maria's Front Room for 15 years. After his parents, Carl Sr. and Joanie died, Orlando moved on, selling the business in 2008.
Now, after a four-year hiatus, Orlando is back in the family business.
"I am super excited," he said. "I feel like Phoenix rising from the ashes."
Late Wednesday, Orlando got all the OKs he needed from the city to open the doors.
"The opening is going to be a little hairy," he said. "The food arrives at noon on Friday and we open at 6 p.m., which gives me only six hours of prep time. Many guys who have been working with me for 20 years are coming back to help me."
Orlando thinks patrons are going to be surprised when they see who's in the kitchen. "They are going to come in and see a lot of familiar faces," he said.
The restaurant seats 43 people, with 12 tables and five bar seats. The kitchen is open so patrons can watch their meal being made.
"It took me a long time to get ready because I did all the work on the building," Orlando said. The olive-colored interior includes stone and wood finishes.
Come back to Royal Oak Patch later today for a sneak peek at the interior.
If you go
Where: Maria's of Royal Oak is located at 112 Catalpa Dr.
Opens: Friday at 6 p.m.
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 4-10 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday