Growing in popularity are Detroit restaurants that double, or even triple, as other forms of entertainment. The all-in-one evening out has a lot going for it. For the consumer, very much used to one-stop-shopping, there is the convenience-factor: one meeting place, reduced travel time, less need to coordinate, and perhaps safer. For the business-owner, an entire evening of customer spending and happy guests leaving feeling like they’ve been properly entertained.
Sometimes you target an all-in-one establishment on purpose (Punch Bowl Social), but sometimes you happen upon it (Ottava Via). My adventure was supposed to begin at Ottava Via, prior to a pub-crawl. While I was the first to leave (and perhaps a pub-crawl did still happen) what I thought was a jumping-off point for dinner turned into an evening full of non-dinner-like activities. Case-in-point:
That’s not to say we didn’t eat a great dinner. In fact, with over 10 people in our group, we were able to see and try a lot. Ottava Via serves great, thin, Italian-style pizza. They have a wonderful list of appetizers too. However, even on very hot summer night in Detroit, the charms of Jenga and Bocce took hold. While these are fun games in their own right, they’re perfect for allowing new friends to get to know each other.
We sat in the courtyard, arguably the most charming component of Ottava Via, complete with a fireplace, and ample seating to watch the competitive game-playing unfold. It wasn’t until long after the bill had arrived, that Ottava Via was filled with sound. That now familiar, and still quite notorious sound of the Detroit Party Marching Band.
I’ve seen them perhaps 8-10 times, popping up at venues across Detroit, sprucing things up a bit, bringing a lot of energy, and always inspiring smiles, and that slightly smug feeling that you’re at the in-place in Detroit if the DPMB is crashing.
I had to smile because it was only two weeks ago that I had been dining in the oldest restaurant in the world, Botin, in Madrid, Spain, and down to the basement of this historic establishment opened in 1725, came a band of 8 guitarists, singing and playing, and inspiring much the same whimsical fun into those dining there, as I was seeing at Ottava Via last Friday night. Sometimes, a great idea, is still a really great idea.
Nothing beats great food, great friends, and many creative forms of entertainment.