Looking for inspiration + ideas for things to do with kids in Metro Detroit? Tried and true suggestions that real moms actually do? Here they are! Hungry Howie’s appreciates Moms and joins LittleGuide Detroit in spotlighting a local Mom each week in the #MomLife series. To take one thing off her plate and give her more time for fun, Hungry Howie’s is giving each week’s featured Mom a free pizza dinner for her and her family to enjoy. Thank you Hungry Howie’s for being the Official Pizza of Moms.

In honor of Father’s Day we wanted to switch up our #MomLife series and feature a Dad! And because the pandemic has hit local businesses so hard (especially restaurants) we wanted to share with you our favorite local Chef Dad, Joe Giacomino. He’s the chef/co-owner of Grey Ghost which is one of Detroit’s hottest restaurants with delicious food + a fabulous outdoor patio! He’s also the co-owner of Second Best – the perfect place for your next date night or girls night out! 

Meet Joe

HEY! I’m Joe Giacomino and I’m super stoked to be part of the #DadlLife series. I grew up in Wisconsin and went to culinary school in Chicago (BEAR DOWN). Currently, I live in Bloomfield Hills with my wife, Jill and our two kids, Sonny (4) and Gia (1) along with our two pups, Charlie and Rocket. I’m a chef and co-own two restaurants in Detroit, Grey Ghost and Second Best. Although I often work late nights, I’m happy that I have every morning to spend with my children and boy, do they keep me busy. 

Follow along: @joe_giacomino, @greyghostdetroit, @secondbestdetroit

Favorite Ways To Spend Family Time:

  • Hiking / Exploring Woods (El Johnson, Carpenter Lake, Metroparks)
  • Saturday morning movies and doughnuts
  • Swimming – pool, lake, ocean, we love it all

Favorite Places To Go:

Favorite Bedtime Stories:

Favorite Family-Friendly Restaurants:

Best Park/Playground:  E.L. Johnson Nature Center + Booth Park + Kensington Metropark

We recently moved to the Bloomfield area and we discovered Johnson Nature Center right around the corner. They rescue forest animals and it’s just such a magical spot to explore. We love Booth Park in Birmingham – garbage slide, if ya know, ya know! And Kensington Metropark because we like to take a long bike ride (with the kids in the trailer) and end at the pirate themed park.

Best Family-Friendly Annual Event: Blake’s Farm (Armada)

Like many families, we love making an annual visit. There’s so much to do – eat a huge pretzel, jump on the bouncy things, pick apples, wagon rides, petting zoo, donuts. All the fall things.

Your Dad Must-Have: A Kitchen Helper Stool

We recently got one of those kitchen helpers for our daughter so she can hang with us in the kitchen. It’s nice to have somewhere for them to hang while I’m getting dinner going. We also like the plastic knives that kids can use to help prep. Sonny’s always on the broccoli chopping game.

Best Summer Destination or Event: Baseball Game at Comerica Park (Detroit)

Looking forward to hopefully seeing the White Sox crush the Tigers this summer!

“Pat Yourself on the Back” Accomplishment: Sharing my love of food with my little guy!

When we catch him on the right day, my son can be quite an adventurous eater – steak, sushi, king crab, caviar, goose, oysters, he’s tried it all – including our favorite meatball (try them out, you’ll love them).

Santino’s Meatballs

For the Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 T EVOO
  • 15 Clove Garlic (minced)
  • 2 Small Spanish Onions (Diced)
  • 2 28 oz can San Marzano Tomatoes
  • 1 T Dried Oregano
  • 1 T Dried Basil
  • TT Granulated Sugar
  • TT Salt

In a medium sauce pot sweat the garlic and onions in the olive oil until onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes, basil, and oregano, simmer on low/med heat for 2 hours. Season with salt and sugar to taste.

For the meatballs:

  • 1 lb Ground Chuck
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 6 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1 ½ T Kosher Salt
  • 2 t Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 C Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1 T Dried Oregano
  • 2 t Dried Parsley

In a large mixing bowl, combine chuck, eggs, garlic and salt. Mix until completely incorporated, mixture should be loose, then ad dried seasoning, once again mix until fully incorporated. Add the panko bread crumbs and mix until mixture is bound and formable.

Separate the mixture into 3 oz portions. Pack each portion tightly and roll between hands to form a ball. Poach meatballs in tomato sauce over low/med heat for 30 min.

Serve over your favorite string pasta (i.e. Spaghetti, linguini, bucatini). Garnish with Parmesan, Fresh Basil, and Giardiniera

Our #MomLife Series is Presented by Hungry Howie’s – the Official Pizza of Moms!