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Pizzeria Biga Makes Royal Oak Look, Taste Good

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This post authored by Nicole Rupersburg of Eat It Detroit.

Who ever said that Royal Oak had no architectural taste? (Oh wait ... heh, that was us.) Hey, sometimes it's nice to be (partially) wrong. On Main Street just south of all the downtown chaos (but still within eyeshot of that awesome 526 signage ... because everything is within eyeshot of the 526 signage) is the old St. Clair Addison Power Station. The original building was constructed in 1907 and still stands (with its 1955 addition) to this day. And now it will be a pizzeria and beer store!

Michael Chetcuti - industrial designer and CEO of Quality Metalcraft Inc. and owner of the former power station building - and Luciano Del Signore, James Beard-nominated chef and proprietor of Bacco Ristorante and Pizzeria Biga - have partnered to bring a second Pizzeria Biga location to Royal Oak. The original Southfield location is known for serving hand-crafted Neapolitan pizzas with house-made charcuterie; Royal Oak will offer more of the same (also adding a handmade pasta station and a few roasted entree selections), but in a vastly more architecturally interesting setting.
The ceilings soar 30 feet high in a room that's only large enough to seat about 75 people. Like a supermodel's legs, the windows go all the way up; exposed brick and high-polished chrome ductwork round out the space's historic-architecture-meets-minimalist-industrial-chic motif. The showpiece of the place is the 6,000-pound Ferrari-red wood-burning oven hand-made in Naples, Italy by Stefano Ferrara who is (channeling Cher Horowitz), like, a totally important designer. (Of ovens.) When construction is complete, they will also have an lushly landscaped courtyard with outdoor seating that will accommodate another 25 people, as well as an outdoor fireplace and a two-level deck.

Biga will operate in conjunction with Cloverleaf Fine Wine, which opened in 2008 and is located on the ground level of the building. Cloverleaf carries one 650 different beer labels, any of which can be enjoyed upstairs at Biga (and anything available at Biga will be available for purchase downstairs).

Chetcuti describes the finished design to be "Debby Harry meets Jack White: kinda twangy with an upper east side sophistication." A longtime collaborator of his, internationally-known Detroit artist Camilo Pardo will be creating 4x4 silk screens live in the restaurant as part of an upcoming fundraising event, and they are also negotiating with graffiti artists for a mural. "We want to be stylistically cutting-edge with a lot of harshness," Chetcuti says. "A lot of unfinishied finishes and bare, refined classic modern architecture."

"We believe this is the only building of this scale and quality in Oakland County," he adds.

They'll be hosting charity preview dinners on April 18 and April 19 (click the links to buy tickets to either) and will open to the public on Monday, April 23.

· Pizzeria Biga [Official]