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    Think You Know Gregorio?

    While many are sleeping, Greg Celia is busy burning the midnight oil creating stunning works of wood-carved wildfowl art.

    As the owner of Gregorio's Italian Restaurant, which is at the corner of Biddle and Walnut, Celia began wood carving as a hobby several years ago after he saw woodcarving at an outdoor festival at Pointe Mouillee.

    Celia struck up a conversation with a wood carving knife seller and before he knew it he began creating his own work.

    Last year, however, his work became much more serious when he entered the prestigious Ward Museum World Woodcarving Competition in Ocean City, Maryland, taking a third place and honorable mention in the novice division in 2015. This year he took second place for a red-headed woodpecker carving and honorable mention for a pair of goldfinches in the novice division.

    Some of Gregorio Celia's Wood Carving CreationsOften working on his pieces from the time his restaurant closes until 3 a.m. or far later, Celia said each piece takes about a month to complete.

    "I like carving birds because they have so much character and movement to them," Celia said as he described how each bird's movements affect an overall piece and the details make the overall creation. For instance, a woodpecker fans its tail feathers against a piece of wood for stability.

    "It's been a fun hobby," he said, while crediting his mentor and teacher, Toni Kayson. "I would totally do it for a living."

    That's not to say that Celia is anywhere near retirement from the restaurant business. In fact, it's more than a career for him; it's been a factor much of his life.

    Born in Sicily, Greg Celia moved with his family to Detroit when he was 6 years old.

    He got his first taste of the restaurant business, however, when his family decided to open a summer business in Ocean City, Maryland on the city's famous boardwalk. The family owned and operated Freddie's Pizza for 30 years.

    Armed with many of his family's recipes, in 2003 Celia opened Gregorio's in Wyandotte.

    The restaurant serves Sicilian-style Italian food, which Celia says is sweeter than Northern Italian style. A house favorite is homemade meat lasagna.

    The menu also includes chicken, seafood, standard Italian pasta dishes like eggplant parmesan as well as pizza, sandwiches, wraps and a delectable selection of desserts — featuring Gregorio's renowned homemade cannolis. Beer and wine service also is offered.

    In the true spirit of Italian cooking, Gregorio's is a family affair with Celia's wife, Debby, sister, Aggie Meyers, and daughters, Sabrina, Andrea and Alessandra, all working at the restaurant.

    The family takes pride in explaining that everything is homemade and made by hand, from the meatballs and lasagna to the cannoli, and all dishes are cooked to order.

    The interior of Gregorio's is just as family-oriented with much of the decor coming from the family and an intimate dining room atmosphere.

    In fact, Debby Celia said the best compliment she said Gregorio's has received is:

    "'I feel like I'm in your house having dinner.' We really strive for that, and it is what we've strived for as an ambiance ever since we opened."

    For more information about Gregorio's visit their business profile here.

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