Peppina’s in Lincoln Park, Michigan

I guess that I am getting a little nostalgic and have been thinking of some of the old restaurants and watering holes from my youth, and the early days of discovering different wines back then.  One of the places that I remember was Peppina’s in Lincoln Park; they had a drive-in service on the side with carhops and a neighborhood Italian restaurant as well.

 

 

In those days I would go there with a large group of the guys from the old neighborhood and we would venture into the suburbs to eat and drink.  Some days we would end up with a table of twenty brash young guys all wanting to have a good time and Peppina’s would serve our insatiable appetites at the time.

 

 

They had a big room, and in the back there was a special room called the Amethyst Room.  As I recall the walls and displays were covered with large rough amethyst stones and geodes.  I also seem to recall that they had some amethyst jewelry that they sold near the cashier stand, probably made by a local artisan.

 

 

We would all go there for some of the best pizza, and they also had homemade pasta.  There would be little squabbles over what was better the spaghetti or the gnocchi, and the debate would never be decided.  It was the type of food that all of us would just chow down and eat with a fevered relish.

Lambrusco Fratelli

 

It was a time of beer and some wine.  We would just order bottles of wine to put on the table and drink at our leisure.  Of course the few of us, that did prefer the wine would get some remarks questioning our manhood, as beer was the preferred drink at the time.  What can I say, we were all young, rowdy and there for a good time.  We would get bottles of Lambrusco wine, which was very popular at the time.  This wine is from the Emilia-Romagna area near Bologna.  The wine is made from the Lambrusco varietal, which tends to have a “grapey” taste as opposed to the nuanced tastes that can be found in other varietal wines.  At that time in my life I was still discovering wines, so each wine was an adventure and a memory.

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About thewineraconteur

A non-technical wine writer, who enjoys the moment with the wine, as much as the wine. Twitter.com/WineRaconteur Instagram/thewineraconteur Facebook/ The Wine Raconteur
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9 Responses to Peppina’s in Lincoln Park, Michigan

  1. Hi there! I was just waxing nostalgic today. Googled my cousins Peppina’s and Mary’s restaurant and there was your review! They gave me my first job bussing tables when I was 12. The amethyst stones and jewelry were provided by Mary Fontana’s (Peppina’s daughter) husband Paul. The restaurant had a ceiling collapse, and before it could be repaired a fire finished it off.

    Everybody remembers the pizza; I couldn’t get enough of the Twisties and Italian cream cake!

    Cheers,

    Denise Angellotti

    PS, our family is from the Le Marche region of Italy; if you didn’t make your own (which we did) we drank jug burgundy. The homemade stuff was harsher!

    • Denise,

      Thank you for stopping by, and I hope my article brought a smile to you, as I also have fond memories of Peppina’s as I grew up in Southwest Detroit when we used to go there in my youth. You are right, to this day, everyone remembers the pizza, and of course the Amethyst Room.

      – John

      • Brandi Higdon says:

        I too had my first serving job there and Mary was such a great boss she even gave me paid maternity leave u now live in California and often wonder what became of the restaurant and the family GREAT MEMORY Brandi Higdon

      • Brandi, thank you for stopping by and I am glad that this article brought some good memories for you.

  2. Michelle Marr Ficyk says:

    My father was a Detroit police officer who came religiously to Peppina’s Ristorante from the earliest days and deeply respected Mary Deardorff and the way she ran her impeccable restaurant. When he retired, we moved almost two hours’ drive away, but our entire family would be SO EXCITED whenever we made the pilgrimage back to Peppina’s. I was lucky enough to live nearby as a young adult, shortly before the restaurant closed. Denise mentioned the Italian cream cake, and let me tell you… that is the most wished-for recipe amongst every single family member of mine, and every other family we knew who’d been lucky enough to enjoy it at the time. If anyone in the Deardorff family would ever share the recipe, I think my father would weep for joy to have it once more. Better still, I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I would cherish a Peppina’s Ristorante cookbook! Thank you, John, for sharing your memories of Peppina’s – it brought many precious memories right back to me.

  3. Gary hawthorne says:

    I lived behind the restaurant and worked their at 15. Best pizza ever I remember Paul locking himself in dough room to make pizza dough. Had a blast working their R.I.P Mary and paul

  4. Sparty says:

    Does anyone have any idea how to make their famous kidney bean salad?? I’ve tried and nothing comes close.

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