People just love choices. And that’s one reason why the interesting hybrid, Crispelli’s, is so popular.
Walk into the rustic setting of the Berkley flagship, and you are asked “Self service or full service?” If it’s the former, simply find an available spot overlooking the open kitchen, and stake your claim. If you prefer to be served, a separate dining room at the north end of the Crispelli’s Bakery and Pizzeria on Woodward at 12 Mile offers a smaller, cozier setting that includes the small cocktail bar.
Most seem to prefer the self-serve route, especially at lunchtime. Separate stations for brick oven pizzas, salads, soups, and sandwiches with an Italian accent are staffed by friendly people who take the order. And there’s even one for beer and wine.
When the food is ready, you are called by name to pick it up. It’s quick and efficient, and the informal market setting has an attractive European feel with its white tile floors, sturdy tables topped with the wood from wine crates, and whitewashed brick walls. What’s even more important, of course, is the quality of the food, from the thin-crusted pizzas (there’s a deep-dish version as well ) to the fresh salads and grilled paninis and sanwiches on rustic breads, typified by the sturdy Reuben on rye made with the classic ingredients of corned beef, Swiss, sauerkraut and Russian dressing.
Crispelli’s was an immediate hit when it opened in February 2012. It’s improved and expanded in the four years since then, thanks to a management style that realizes the importance of not just the quality of the fare, but the quality of the staff members who prepare and serve it. Add the accessible menu that relies on classic dishes rather than fleeting trends, and it’s easy to see why it has caught the attention of a broad range of diners.
Stand-out dishes include the clam chowder and the traditional minestrone among the array of soups; the Mediterranean salad that can double as an entrée with its generous sprinkling of Kalamata olives, beets, pickled red onion and mix of lettuces in subtle lemon/oregano dressing, served with some of the fresh bread baked in-house; and the pizzas topped with fresh mozzarella and an array of add-ons from shrimp and chorizo to Italian sausage and roasted garlic.
Served only at dinner is the spotlighted entrée of marinated salmon roasted on a cedar plank. It’s an exceptional value at $17.95 with its accompaniments of a choice of salads and two side dishes, one of which is often Brussels sprouts. Oh, oh, just when I said they weren’t trendy.
There is a second Crispelli’s at 6690 Orchard Lake, West Bloomfield, and possibly more on the horizon.
28939 Woodward at 12 Mile, Berkley
Call: (248) 591-3300
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun.
Prices: Soups and salads $4-$10.95, pizzas $7.95-$16.95, sandwiches and grilled paninis $8.50-$11.50, burgers $9.50-$10.95, pastas $9.95-$11.95, dessert $1.95-$3.95
Liquor: Full bar
Parking: Attached lot
What the ratings mean
★ — routine
★★ — good
★★1/2 — very good
★★★ — excellent
★★★★ — outstanding