#JadoreExclusive: On the Phone with La Lanterna
61 years after Edoardo Barbieri opened the original La Lanterna in Capitol Park, grandson, Eddie Barbieri is bringing classic Italian recipes and fire oven pizza back to Capitol Park.
La Lanterna is the fifth restaurant in the Da Eduardo family portfolio joining the ranks of Da Edoardo Grosse Pointe, Cafe Nini, Foxtown Grille, and Grand Blanc.
Serving authentic Italian dishes at an affordable price point, Eddie emphasized La Lanterna is intended to be a casual dining experience at a family owned business.
Need To Know
Who // Eddie Barbieri
What // La Lanterna
Where // 1224 Griswold St., Detroit, MI 48226
When // Now Open
J'adore: Tell me about La Lanterna and the story behind the restaurant.
Eddie: "Well, the story about my grandfather, he opened the first La Lanterna in 1956- it was busy all the time. In 56-69 when it was open, Capitol Park was the place to be. After the riots in 1967, business dwindled.
My grandfather was a prisoner of war. He was captured while fighting in the North of Africa with the Italian Army and traveled across the United States in prison camps. He met my grandmother in Detroit- the army would have socials for the prisoners to keep them entertained. When he went back to Italy he called for my grandma and they got married. In 1946 they moved back to the US with 49$ in their pocket.
My family and I have been trying to open another restaurant since he passed in 2010. We we’re looking all over the place Clarkston, Troy, Plymouth… you name it. A buddy of mine was looking for restaurants in Detroit and mentioned Capitol Park, he said it’s the new hot spot. I went to Detroit and saw the old building the original La Lanterna was in and then I called bedrock. The original building was taken, but as fate has it-our accountant’s son in law is the building manager of The Albert. He arranged a meeting and us set up in our location - this was about a year and a half ago. We started construction 8 months ago. It’s a total family effort everyone is involved; my wife, mom, and sisters."
J'adore: Is that how it works with your other restaurants?
Eddie: "Yes, it’s a family affair. You need help, the restaurant business isn’t easy, it’s very demanding."
J'adore: How are you incorporating your grandfather’s legacy into the new restaurant?
Eddie: "We’re using his original recipes. My grandfather came from Modena in Italy, an area known for their Bolognese sauce, prosciutto, lasagna, tortellini, and vinaigrette. The new spot has a more upbeat interior but the restaurants are the same; genuine Italian food at a lower price point. We have more pizza here and the menu is smaller but we didn’t change anything per say, we’re not reinventing the wheel."
J'adore: What made you reopen La Lanterna instead of going in a new direction?
Eddie: "After my grandfather passed away in 2010, I was telling my dad that I think casual dining is coming back. That being said, reopening La Lanterna was a perfect storm. We went all over and eventually came back to Detroit, specifically Capitol Park. It felt like my grandfather directed us."
J'adore: How was your first day open?
Eddie: "It was busy, we’re going to have some glitches because we have to get the system down. If I had to give us a grade I would say we got a B+ or an A-"
J'adore: When will lunch service be introduced
Eddie: "Lunch will probably start no later than May 1st. We want to work out the kinks first.
I’m assuming lunch will be pretty busy. Dinner was busy the second night and last night too. I’m thinking that lunch will draw a big crowd and that weekend nights will be packed."
J'adore: What’s your personal favorite item on the menu right now?
Eddie: "The pizzas are really good. I've been making pizza all my life, now, to enjoy pizza I really have to crave it. I love the Italia Bolognese and the lasagnas right now. Everything is delicious on the menu."
J'adore: Do you serve alcohol?
Eddie: "Yep, there’s full bar."
J'adore: Is there a bar for people to stop in for a cocktail?
Eddie: "Sure, there’s a 14 seat bar."
J'adore: How is La Lanterna different from other restaurants Da Edoardo group owns?
Eddie: "La Lanterna is a little more casual, the price is lower. Everything here is a la carte."
J'adore: Is there anything else you want J’adore readers to know?
Eddie: "I think the restaurant is hard to explain. It’s a great family effort; my sisters and my wife decorated it, people need to know it’s family owned and operated. We want people to feel at home when they come here."
I wish pizza was a part of my family history.
CApitol Park is lucky to have A piece of its rich history back. In a new detroit full of posh restaurants and $30 entrees, it's nice to have affordable options- and more pizza.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me Eddie!