Berkley resident Betsy Saunders had been eagerly awaiting the opening of Vinsetta Garage restaurant on Woodward. She stopped often to check out the progress of the project, turning a historic, brick auto shop into a neighborhood eatery. Saunders was among Thursday's opening day customers and shares her impressions and photos with Berkley Patch:
The secret is out, the mystery is over – Vinsetta Garage opened today on Woodward in Berkley and should be around for a long time.
An old chain, an electrical cord and light bulb hang from original steel beams and wood – no repainting here. You look around and you know this was a garage and it is fun to see what their vision was to keep that theme.
With high top tables, regular seating and community seating (I loved that) the decor alone make a visit worthwhile before you even look at the menu. Background music is provided by a DJ who operates out of the original write-up office of the garage.
The tables are old library and science lab tables and former school chairs that seemed more comfortable then when I was in school. Menus are in plastic work order sleeves, again a throwback. Skylights provided sunshine in the eating area.
The full bar featuring a solid beer list (many Michigan beers) fronts the open kitchen. Fried bread sticks with a dill cream cheese dipping sauce were excellent (served on a round “hub cab” looking tray).
The Vinsetta Garage features pizza, burgers (turkey, lamb, duck, vegetarian and, oh yes, Angus beef), a variety of meatballs that can be paired with different sauces and pastas.
We were seated next to Debby and Gary at a community table. Debby had the Cobb salad and she raved about the flavor of all the items, though she did think it was a little short on chicken. Gary ordered the sweet Italian meatballs - loved them! Macaroni and cheese made the trip safely from Clarkston (where Vinsetta Garage co-owner Curt Catallo owns two restaurants). The portions of both the meatballs and the macaroni and cheese were very large – they could easily have served two people.
The wait staff was helpful and fun, encouraging customers to take a walk around and look and go back in time. There is a very cool room for private parties.
The service was a little slow but that will probably improve with a little time. Parking is problematic. A bicycle rack might help. There are a lot of bike riders in the area who would probably ride to the “Garage.”
We saved dessert for the next time and there will definitely be a next time.