From Loreen's to Dexter Coney
The sixty-year-old Albanian (whose name is pronounced cuh-SEE-nee) has owned restaurants in Livonia, Dearborn, and Howell. Last summer, he got lost driving with his son Brian, and they found themselves in Dexter. "I said to him: 'You know, I like this town.'"
When they drove past Loreen's Village Cafe, his antenna went up. "When you see an old place, they'll always sell. They don't make no money."
He told Brian to pull over, predicting that the owner was an older woman, ripe for retirement. Ordering a cup of coffee, he quickly spotted owner Loreen McCalla. "We sat at that table right there. I said, 'You want to sell, don't you?' She said, 'Yeah, I want to go to Florida.' We made a deal"--in, he jokes, five seconds. (He was wrong, however, in thinking she wanted to retire--she owns another diner in Palm Bay, Florida, and was tired of dividing her time between the two.)
Cacini was a little taken aback by the welcome he received in town--a fifty-dollar fine and an order from the Dexter Village Council to turn off his neon lights. "I spent two thousand dollars on these lights"--he points to the thin orange neon tubes outlining his windows. "They don't flash or anything. And they're inside the window. I'm not new in this business. I didn't think I had to get a permit for lights inside a building."