PRONTO! HISTORY

A BRIEF HISTORY OF PRONTO!

Pronto! was born in August of 1991... With a few friends sitting around a dining room table with dreams and aspirations of creating good food in a fun atmosphere....  within a few short months with hard work and determination we realized our dream.

On December 21, 1991 - Jim Domanski, Tom & Joy Murray and Bill Thomas opened a 40 seat carryout deli and catering company and named it Pronto! "608".  The "608" was a part of the name simply because the 608 was etched into the glass above the front window over the front door!  The colorful walls & painted table tops were simply done because we could not afford to but artwork or expensive fixtures but the paint and clever detailing became our "hallmark!"

Our opening was quiet for the first few weeks with many curious lookers and plenty of folks just wondering what had happened to the empty storefronts on Washington Ave.  Main Street was the "restaurant row" with retail basically situated on Washington.

It wasn't a big success until Molly Abraham (she was the food critic for the Detroit Free Press) wrote an article about the restaurant on January 21, 1992 - exactly one month after the opening and reported that we had wonderful food and atmosphere.  The first weekend after that review the customers lined up around the corner and our business tripled after that weekend and has never stopped!!!  ...And of course neither have we!!

Our menu was created in part from all of the foods we enjoy and eat.  For many years - Jim & Bill and Tom & Joy would enjoy dining out on Friday nights and could never agree on a restaurant choice.  So, we figured that if we combined all of our favorite menu items - soups, chili, sandwiches, entree salads, pasta, pot pies and of course desserts and made them available for carry out - others would enjoy the options as much as we did.  So our menu was completely available for carry out or dine in "but" with no table service or liquor license - but rather disposable cutlery and counter style eating and limited tables and chairs for quests to hang out and eat. 

So due to the fantastic response we were forced to become "full" service with table service.  We added a dining room with china, glass and real silverware!! (610 S. Washington)

Our menu today still reflects many of our original menu choices proving that good menu items stand the test of time.  The most popular sandwiches and entree choices are still the most popular items we serve even today.  The #11, #14, & #1 as well as the Chicken Pot Pie, Pronto! Pasta and Mediterranean Salad still reign supreme!  Trends come and go in the restaurant industry but customers remain true to consistency and value year after year.

In the following spring of 1992 we added a 40 seat outdoor cafe.  The outdoor patio was the largest of all the outdoor cafes in downtown Royal Oak yet we had the smallest restaurant at the time.  It is a colorful and sunny location that our customers have enjoyed year after year.  Blooming plants, hanging ferns and colorful tables have been our signature.

In 1995 we opened our bakery - Treats! Treats! Treats! (604 S. Washington).  We committed to making all of our desserts in house and began to sell hundreds of cookies and brownies each week.  We added tortes, tarts and cheesecakes to the menu and sold them by the slice and whole.  Today we continue to improve and increase our dessert selection but have always stayed tried and true to the originals that have made us successful - cookies and brownies.  Chocolate Chip Cookies, Caramel Nut Brownies and Bumpy Cake still are the most popular dessert choices for over 10 years!! In the fall of 2005 - we launched our exclusive "Tummy Luv" packaged line of desserts.  Our creatively packaged line of cookies, brownies, and desserts are being sold in area markets and specialty stores.  "Tummy Luv" represents our first approach to creating a dessert line for the mass market.  The initial response has been very encouraging and we are currently in six stores and looking to expand to 14 stores by the end of the year.

On August 15, 1996 we continued our expansive and opened our "Video Bar."  (606 S. Washington) We received the last liquor license in Downtown Royal Oak.  The liquor license came down to a split vote on the City Commission and the Mayor cast the deciding vote in our favor!!  We opened the "Video Bar" with it's seven television sets and continuous music videos and great libations. 

Wow!! The reviews were fantastic.  The crowds love the small neighborhood feeling of the bar and the fun atmosphere of a party every night of the week.  Theme parties and benefits have been successful because of the commitments we have made to our friends in the community and neighborhood.  A rear patio was added in September 2005 which will give a private outdoor patio in the rear of the building.  We continue to expand with new ideas and space year after year!  The bar continues to be a successful venue because of the special attention we give to details and service on busy days and nights.

In the last 14 years we have made numerous changes to the restaurant and buildings.  In November 2004 we opened "The Corner Store"  (600 S. Washington) completing the entire block of five storefronts.  The Corner Store truly completes our "carry out" concept that we originally started and strived to perfect.  Today The Corner Store has our full selection of gift Baskets - which we started in part to the overwhelming requests of our customers who ordered the hundreds of fresh baked goodie baskets we made at the Pronto! Bakery.  The Corner Store also carries many specialty foods to go, gourmet grocery and unique food items as well as custom desserts and Wedding Cakes.  The Corner Store completes the circle of business that we started over 14 years ago when we were exclusively "carry out" only.  Starting out as the smallest of all the restaurants in Downtown Royal Oak to one of the largest in the city we now occupy 610 - 608 - 606 - 604 and 600 South Washington Ave.  A whole city block!!

We have been written up in numerous publications and have received 3 stars consistently from every food critic who has reviewed us.  We take our food and service seriously and encourage our staff and customers to share their thoughts with us.  We like to present our food and service in a welcoming and fun atmosphere for all guests.

We encourage our staff to be "who they are" and appreciate the diversity of the people working with us.