Popular Lino's won't be leaving anytime soon

Rochester Eccentric Newspaper
Date: Thrusday Feb 5, 2004

Lino Borraccio can't help but offer a guest a plate of pasta. He's been doing it for 23 years at his restaurant, Lino's, on Tienken just west of Rochester Road. God willing, nothing is going to change for the foreseeable future. The corner is slated to be redeveloped, and worried customers have been calling, wondering if he's moving, remodeling - or closing. Perish the thought.

As Papa Joe's builds a new store behind him, Lino's will move its driveway and parking lot to accommodate a new shopping center. Other than that, nothing's going to change. "The only thing we're doing is we're getting more room for parking," he says.

Consistency is what makes Lino's so popular. "Nothing special," Borraccio says modestly. "You know what you're going to get." On Friday and Saturday nights, regulars line up for just that. "We know about 75 to 80 percent of the people who come through the door," he says. "When people come in here on Friday night, it's like a wedding reception." They ask about the family, they order up the dishes that have been all day in the making, then savor them amidst wood paneling and white tablecloths. On cold winter nights, with a fireplace warming the dining room, they don't want to leave. "It's not a restaurant with old recipes; it's just a good restaurant," Borraccio says.

Longtime customer Joseph Mark, a local plastic surgeon, says there's no reason to change a thing. "I happen to like fresh, good, homemade cooking," he says, helping himself to an espresso. It's lunchtime and the restaurant isn't open, but Mark and Borraccio are by now old friends, comfortable finishing each other's sentences. "He's got the key," Borraccio jokes. Mark says Borraccio is always looking to improve. "But what's wrong with where you're sitting?" he asks a first-time visitor. No argument there. Borraccio and his two brothers came to the United States from San Vittore, Italy in 1958. His wife is from the town of San D'Elie, eight miles away. Former medieval castles, the villages are near the monastery of Monte Cassino, the site of a World War II battle. Borraccio ran the Venetian Club in Macomb County for 20 years before opening Lino's.

"I had to have my head examined," he says, remembering his decision to purchase the building, which came complete with a drive-through window. "But we made something of it." Son Tony runs the kitchen, and the grandchildren are regular visitors. Father and son live in Oakland Township. Though the menu offers many pasta choices, Borraccio is also proud of his beef and says he's fussy with suppliers.

"I found that getting compliments is better than getting complaints," he says. Lino's is open for dinner five nights a week. For reservations, call (248) 652-9002.