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Birmingham’s Primi Piatti Market: Sharing the Gifts of Italy

Birmingham’s Primi Piatti Market: Sharing the Gifts of Italy

Primi Piatti Market: Sharing the Gifts of Italy




LBN Community Series

Monica Bisignano Zamler, owner of Birmingham’s Primi Piatti Market, looks conspiringly at her manager, Brittne Drake, while recalling an experience with a long-time customer who recently had her first baby.

“Remember, Brittne?” she smiles. “Our customer who was no longer allowed to eat our ‘Parma’ sandwich with prosciutto (thinly sliced, dry-cured Italian ham), mozzarella, and tomato — that she ordered almost daily – once she became pregnant?”



“As soon as she was discharged from the hospital,” Monica laughs, “the first thing she did was come in to get that sandwich!”

“I remember that!” agrees Brittne.

At Birmingham’s north end, “down the hill” and cozily tucked into a row of small, unique, and well-appointed shops, Primi Piatti makes a visitor feel like they’ve been transported to the most charming and abundantly stocked Italian deli, market, and gift store in all of southern Italy.

Tall metal racks are brimming with tins, bottles, cello bags, jars, and colorful boxes filled with breadsticks and biscuits, gift-wrapped cakes and cookies, oils and vinegars, spices, candies, olives and peppers – and more — all Italian-made.

Glass deli-display cases are lined with salamis and Italian hams and meats; wedges and bricks and slices of Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino, provolone, ricotta and other imported Italian cheeses; fettucine,  ricotta-filled gnocchi, rigatoni, or whatever handmade pasta has just been lovingly made in small batches using the trustworthy pasta-making machine (also from Italy) which stands like a benevolent sentry behind the counter, ready to loyally attend to its tasks; and homemade meatballs and sauces, their rich, swirling aromas tantalizing every customer.

Rustic cupboards and painted wooden shelves hold fine, hand-worked Deruta ceramics, pottery from Vietri Sul Mare, hand-blown Murano glassware and glass goblets from Tuscany.

“The Italian meal is not just about delicious food,” says Monica. “It’s also about the presentation: the serving bowls, place settings, glassware, tablecloths. The entire experience is beautiful!”

Monica, who was raised in Birmingham, warmly recalls her upbringing in an Italian household.

“The Italian meal is not just about delicious food. It’s also about the presentation: the serving bowls, place settings, glassware, tablecloths. The entire experience is beautiful!”

“We were always about cooking and family,” she says, “and we still are.”

Monica recently purchased a home in Italy with her sister and brother-in-law and has been to Italy so many times that she no longer keeps count of the number of her visits. But she does bring home ideas for dishes and recipes – which her mom and son (a chef at a Metro Detroit restaurant) compete to replicate.

And she is always inspired by the Italian pottery she finds in her travels.

“I source from all over Italy,” she says. “Everything is one-of-a-kind. And we have such wonderful pottery gifts, even dog bowls, cat bowls, and handmade jars for pet treats.”

“We also offer an online wedding registry so couples can receive place settings, serving bowls and dishes, glassware, cutting boards, and other unique items that have a range of prices.”

Twenty-five-year-old Brittne has accompanied Monica on a couple of her trips.

“I went to an olive grove to see how they make the oil that we sell here,” she says.

As Brittne cuts the rows of roasted red-pepper shell pasta that exude from the machine she says, “I love anything Italian. My mom and dad are good cooks, and I’ve always liked to work with food. I heard about Monica, and am so glad to be working here, where everything is from Italy – except me,” she laughs, “though Italy is in my heart. I’ve learned so much here!”

“I couldn’t do this without Brittne,” exclaims Monica, “or all of our loyal customer following!”

On Sundays, the store fills with many of that loyal following who come to buy the homemade ravioli that is Sunday’s special item.

“It only takes three minutes to cook when you’re ready to make your dinner at home,” Brittne explains.

“I’m thinking about making beet and mascarpone or mushroom ravioli this week,” Monica notes. “And we always have meat ravioli, too, on Sundays.”

“On Saturdays in December, my mom, Nonna Bisignano, will be here making her pizzelles (thin, waffle-like cookies made using a special iron, sometimes with a light flavor of anise).”


“And I’ll be traveling soon again to Italy, to bring back more beautiful pottery pieces and other items,” says Monica. “I love to go to Italy, and it’s good to have a reason to go.”

“I’ve figured out what would make me happy,” she shares, “and it’s this!”

Primi Piatti Market
550 N. Old Woodward
Birmingham, MI  48009










Birmingham – December 05, 2018

Birmingham – December 05, 2018

International Kids Film Festival

A beloved monster in Paris. A young fisherman in Chile. A comedy of errors in Japan. Pierce Elementary School presents feature films and shorts at this wonderful international evening of cinema on Wednesday, December 12, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Start with pizza at 5:30 in the Multipurpose Room. Films start at 6. After viewing, vote for your favorite short film. This is a free family event. Popcorn is provided, and pizza is available for purchase. Please RSVP By December 10 to reserve your dinner and movie. Pizzas are $10 each and will not be available for sale during the event. Click this link for more information, to register and to pre-pay for pizza.

Take a Magic Carpet Ride to Support Grove’s Performing Arts

Discover a whole new world at Disney’s ALADDIN, the hit Broadway musical. From the producer of The Lion King comes the timeless story of ALADDIN, a thrilling new production filled with unforgettable beauty, magic, comedy and breathtaking spectacle. Purchase tickets for Aladdin at The Detroit Opera House for a December 12, 2018 – January 13, 2019 performance to support the Groves Performing Arts Company Fundraiser. Use the Code GROVES when purchasing tickets to save up to $15 on select performances. $5 for each ticket goes to GPAC.


Congrats to Birmingham’s Robotics Champs!

On Saturday, November 17, the Birmingham United Robotics Team, Automation Nation competed at the Oakland County Robotics Championship. Ranked 4th overall out of 16 teams, the Birmingham team paired up with the Avondale Robotic team, enjoyed two victories in 7 days, and won the first robotics female tournament. Next up for the team is the robotics challenge “Destination: Deep Space,” starting in January. The team is led by Birmingham teachers Bernie Simms and Patrick Hoover. For more information, visit the team’s website at

Birmingham is Merry and Bright for the Holidays

Come to downtown Birmingham to enjoy the picturesque and quaint atmosphere of this magical time of year. White lights adorn nearly 400 trees with nearly 800,000 lights shining throughout town. The city’s 35-foot blue spruce holiday tree boasts an additional 22,000 LED lights. The tree complements the glowing downtown area and creates the perfect scene for a holiday stroll and a festive backdrop for photos.

On weekends throughout the holiday season, children are invited to visit the Santa House under the pavilion in Shain Park. Brand new this year, an illuminated archway will lead the way to Santa’s home. Visitors can also enjoy complimentary horse-drawn carriage rides throughout downtown Birmingham. View the complete schedule for the Santa House and carriage rides at

What to Do with your Leaves and Snow

There’s still time for leaf collection. Residents may continue to bag leaves and place them in approved containers curbside by 7 a.m. on your trash day through the week of December 10. If your street has curbs, check the map to determine when leaves will be collected from your street. You are guaranteed one collection from the street during your designated weeks. Curbed street leaf collection will end in zone 1 and 2 during the week of December 3-7. We recommend raking your leaves into the street the weekend prior to your designated week.

For the City’s Department of Public Services crews, collecting, loading and hauling nearly 5.2 million pounds of leaves from the city is the pre-season warmup for the real game: combating winter weather. To be ready for winter this year, DPS has stocked nearly 3,000 tons of road salt. In addition, DPS continuously invests in the purchase and maintenance of snow fighting equipment and has sent new snow plow operators to specialized training courses to ready them for the season. For more information on the City’s snow removal plan, visit

Make sure you help out DPS by cooperating with the snow removal and snow parking ban ordinance:

1) You must clear snow and ice on sidewalks that abut your property. If the snow stops falling during the day, your sidewalks must be cleared by no more than 12 hours later. If the snow stops falling during the night, all sidewalks must be cleared by 6 p.m. the following day. Sidewalks that are not cleared of snow and ice will be shoveled by the city and the property owner will be fined.

2) When a snow emergency is declared, residents must remove their cars from city streets, so the snow plows can get through. Cars in violation of this ordinance will be ticketed.

The following students from Groves and Seaholm have qualified for Part II of the Michigan Mathematics Prize competition. The finalists will compete in Part II on December 5. The top 50 students in the state will be presented with scholarships ranging from awards of $250 to $2,500. These students are among the top 1,000 students of the more than 6,000 students in the State of Michigan who participated in Part I to qualify for Part II.

Groves – Kyle Alkatib, Zac Chentouf, Jacob Flaherty, Claire Hornburg, Hadi Juratli, Linday Martin, Ethan Podolsky, Scott Rolf, Eden Sherman, Jay Stansberry

Beth Robinson

Beth Robinson

City News Editor

To share your news, announcements, and events, please email

Troy – December 05, 2018

Troy – December 05, 2018

Employment Skills for Persons with Autism

Presenters from the Oakland University Center for Autism Outreach Service will share information on programs for families affected by autism on Wednesday, December 12, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The emphasis is on the pre-employment skills for adults ages 18 and older. This training program helps adults high on the spectrum learn the interpersonal skills necessary to get and keep a job. Scholarship information provided. Registration is required. Go to or call (248) 524-3534.


Meet the Author

Meet Yasmin! follows a curious and creative Pakistani-American girl as she solves problems and experiences adventures. Saadia Faruqi, author of Meet Yasmin!, will share a story time read-aloud and answer questions about her books at the Troy Public Library on Saturday, December 15, from 2 to 2:45 p.m. Registration required at or (248) 524-3541.

‘Tis the Season for Giving in Troy

There are many ways to share with those in need this holiday season. Whether you adopt a family, send food or money, help out with cold weather gear or donate your old cell phone, you are sure to make someone’s holiday better and brighter. Check out five great ways to give:

24th annual Police & Alliance Mobile Health Holiday Food & Gift Drive

Contribute by adopting a family, making a monetary donation or donating food. Non-perishable food can be dropped off at the Troy Police Department front desk during business hours through Wednesday, December 12 and monetary donations (checks payable to Alliance Mobile Health) or gift cards will be accepted until Monday, December 17.

Troy People Concerned Adopt a Family

Troy People Concerned (TPC) helps Troy citizens in crisis situations. TPC receives more requests for help during the holidays than any other time of year. To donate, make up a holiday food basket, adopt a family so they have holiday gifts, or donate local grocery store gift certificates. Call (248) 528-9199 to find out how you can help or visit

Decorate the Winter Warmer Trees

The Troy Women’s Association sponsors Winter Warmer Trees at three locations in Troy.  Donate new mittens, gloves, scarves, and hats to hang on the tree. These winter warmer donations will be distributed to local organizations supporting needy children and families.  Trees will be on display through December 20 at Troy City Hall, Troy Library, and Troy Community Center.

Cell Phones for Soldiers

The City of Troy and nonprofit Cell Phones for Soldiers are asking Troy residents to help troops call home by donating gently-used cellular phones. Funds raised from recycling these phones are used to purchase prepaid international calling cards. For every donated phone valued at $5, Cell Phones for Soldiers can provide two and a half hours of free talk time to deployed troops. Founded by two teenagers in 2004, the non-profit has supplied more than 300 million minutes of free talk time to deployed soldiers. The donation box is at City Hall in the Community Affairs Department during holiday season and throughout the year.

Toys for Tots

Bring new, unwrapped toys for boys and girls to the Toys for Tots collection box at Troy City Hall on the second floor outside of the City Council Chambers. The collection box will be there until December 20.


Troy Chamber Mentorships Available

The Troy Chamber of Commerce offers members a mentorship program to help young professionals access resources, insights and new skills by connecting with more experienced professionals. The goal is for participants to have professionally and personally rewarding conversations and connections.

To be considered for the program, mentees and mentors must fill out applications.



Applications are analyzed to match mentees to mentors that can provide the most useful resources and skills. After a preliminary meeting to ensure a good fit, the mentorship process generally includes weekly contact and a monthly face-to-face meeting.

For information, contact Theresa Ervin at (248) 641-1606 or

Aptiv to Expand Troy Operation

Aptiv US Services General Partnership is a global technology company that develops safer, greener and more connected solutions enabling the future of mobility. Aptiv has approximately 150,000 employees and operates 14 technical centers, as well as manufacturing sites and customer support centers in 45 countries. They plan to renovate their Troy facility to accommodate approximately 500 engineers and support staff. Aptiv conducted a national search and narrowed its finalists to four states earlier this year. After a competitive process, Troy came out on top, beating locations in three different time zones.

Aptiv is expected to generate a total private investment of $20 million and create 500 jobs over the course of the project.

“The City of Troy is thrilled that Aptiv plans to locate its mobility research and development facility at its current Troy location.  Aptiv is a global leader in developing advanced future mobility solutions,” said Troy Mayor Dane Slater. “Aptiv’s decision to locate its mobility R&D facility in Troy expands upon Troy’s reputation as a global hub for cutting edge research, development, engineering and technology.”

For information about careers with Aptiv, visit

Beth Robinson

Beth Robinson

City News Editor

To share your news, announcements, and events, please email

Clawson – December 05, 2018

Clawson – December 05, 2018

Clawson’s Young Musicians Warm Up Winter

Join Clawson schools for their concert series December 10 -19 at the Clawson High School Auditorium. And if you have an instrument, come on out to play on December 18 at the Winter Jam Band Open Concert.

Monday, December 10, 7 p.m. – Moxie Strings Concert. Clawson High School and Middle School String Orchestras will present an evening of Celtic, bluegrass, rock and jazz music with the Moxie Strings.

Wednesday, December 12, 7 p.m. – Clawson Choirs Winter Concert. This concert will feature the four Clawson High School and Middle School ensembles.

Tuesday, December 18, 7 p.m. – Clawson High School Winter Jam Open Band Concert. Alumni and members of the community are invited to bring their band instruments and play along with the high school band.

Wednesday, December 19, 7:00 p.m. – Winter Strings Concert will feature 6 -12th grade orchestra students.

Ring in the Holidays at the Senior Center

Monday, December 17 at 5 p.m. – Dinner and Holiday Lights. Enjoy a delicious dinner at the center, followed by a bus tour around town to see all the beautiful holiday lights. Cost is $10. Space is limited, so sign up early.

Wednesday, December 19 at noon – Christmas Luncheon. Celebrate a joyous holiday season with friends. Enjoy a delicious meal, door prizes and more. Cost is $5. Tickets will be sold until December 14 or until sold out.

Wednesday, December 19 at 1 p.m. – Christmas Bingo. Registration closes after December 15 for this special Bingo. Cost is $5. Everyone is guaranteed one prize worth $5 and other bingos will get off-the-cart prizes.

For questions, call (248) 583-6700.



LEGO for Adults

Ever wish you could spend an hour absorbed in building something fun? Well, LEGOS aren’t just for kids. Come enjoy a morning of creativity with everyone’s favorite building blocks on Saturday, January 19, from 11 a.m. to noon. Registration begins December 15. This free program is held at the library and sponsored by the Friends of the Library.  To register, stop by or call (248) 588-5500.

Business Mentoring

You can get one-on-one business mentoring at the Blair Memorial Library, every Wednesday from 5 to 8 p.m. Free confidential counseling sessions are conducted by SCORE representatives, who are current or retired business executives. To sign up, go to Click on ‘Get Started’ in the green box on the right side of the page and then, enter Clawson, MI in the “Find a SCORE Branch” box and then click on “Request a Mentor” under our location. Or phone (313) 226-7947 and specify the Clawson Library.

Good News from Downtown

The Downtown Development Authority works to build a vibrant shopping district. They have announced some upcoming improvements to local businesses that include:

  • Noble Fish, 45 E. 14 Mile, has begun the interior remodel on the south end which was the site of the Tirana Café. The remodel of the existing Noble Fish space will begin after this phase is done.
  • The Yarn Stop, 25 S. Main, is expanding into the vacant space at 29 S. Main. The new space will be primarily devoted to classes.
  • Scoop Vintage has opened at 259 E.14 Mile. The business grew from shared space inside Clawson Antiques. Stay tuned for a grand opening date.
Beth Robinson

Beth Robinson

City News Editor

To share your news, announcements, and events, please email

Royal Oak – December 05, 2018

Royal Oak – December 05, 2018

Royal Oak Symphony Will Select a Young Artist to Play

Young musicians are invited to enter the Royal Oak Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition. One young musician will be awarded a $500 prize and the opportunity to perform with the orchestra at its May 10, 2019 performance. Applicants must be ages 12 – 18 and residents of Wayne, Oakland or Macomb County.

To apply, provide an unedited audio recording of the applicant performing a concerto movement or other work that requires orchestral accompaniment, complete the written application and submit the $30 application fee. The application must be postmarked no later than January 23.

Up to five applicants will advance to the final round. The finalists will be notified by February 15 and scheduled for their live audition time on Sunday, March 3. The judges will be a committee of professional musicians, coordinated by John McLaughlin Williams, Music Director and Conductor of the Royal Oak Symphony Orchestra. See the application for additional details.


Get the Royal Oak Mobile App

Live Royal Oak is the official mobile app for the City of Royal Oak. Residents and visitors will enjoy access to a compilation of information, news and event listings. You can use it to find out what’s happening, get meeting agendas, discover employment opportunities and more. The app is available at the Apple Store and Google Play Store.

Are You Safe?

Find out from “Financial Planning Review, Safety Checklist” presenter J.P. King on Tuesday, December 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. This presentation will help you review the basics of a good financial plan to make sure you’re safe. Topics include the black book, goals, maximize wealth, tax planning, and distribution. Special topics for 65 and younger include “How to pay for LTC the same way.” King will also discuss the truth about accelerated benefits. You will receive a Financial Planning Checklist from a local planner. There is no fee. Please register by December 10.

Celebrate the New Year at the Senior Center

The Senior Center will sway to the sounds of the Mike Wolverton Band and be filled with the sumptuous smells of a wonderful celebratory feast by Chef Tim at its New Year’s Celebration Dance on Friday, December 28, from 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $13 per person and must be purchased by noon on Friday, December 21.


Beth Robinson

Beth Robinson

City News Editor

To share your news, announcements, and events, please email