Tag Archives: Italian

Carrabba’s Italian Grill

Based on family gathering a really good Italian food, Carrabba’s Italian Grill is a restaurant that lives up to its name. Started by Johnny Carrabba and Damian Mandola, Carrabba’s has become an Italian staple from Florida to Utah.

Both Johnny and Damian were influenced by their grandmother and mother (respectively) who learned to cook from her mother, who was born in Sicily. Grace became a lover of cooking, passing down recipes she received from her mother to her family. Her recipes now live in Carrabba’s and appear on plates everyday.

Carrabba’s sits just off Archer Road, standing bold atop a low hill. The atmosphere is mellow, yet comfortable enough for the person who is not looking to fall asleep, but have a great meal with friends and family. Tables are spaced just enough for waiters, waitresses and guests to move about, but close enough to engage in conversation with someone at a different table. The lights are dimmed low setting a romantic mood, while televisions are position high enough to catch a NASCAR race or hockey NCAA win.

And if you’re looking to brush up on your Italian, Carrabba’s helps with a wide variety of their menu options written in Italian. I’ve found myself sounding a bit jazzy ordering my Lasagne (instead of lasagna). This dish is by the favorite of all guests. With one bite you are transformed to Italy, sitting outside under the stars with a tall glass of red wine. Mmmm… Carrabba’s brings you home (if the trip to Italy is just too risky) with their personal LARGE pizza. Spice it up with as many toppings as you like. Pepperoni always seems to win the race. Their calamari comes on a large plate (enough to share with the table), the same as their house salads which will probably fill you up just by looking at it. The bowls are as big as a torn open football.

Carrabba’s all time house favorites include the Pasta Carrabba and the Pasta Weesie. The Pasta Carrabba is the grilled chicken and fettuccine Alfredo. It’s your choice to keep the meal uber healthy with sauteed mushrooms and peas. The Pasta Weesie, on the other hand, is geared more toward seafood lovers offering sauteed shrimp in garlic and lemon butter atop fettuccine Alfredo. The dish is not complete until more veggies are added (sauteed mushrooms and scallions) and a delicate hint of white wine sauce.

One thing to be wary of before diving into a dish of deliciousness: Carrabba’s sticks to roots and adds light to full-bodied wine to their food. This does not mean you’ll eat some Pasta Weesie and walk out on Cloud 9. This just means that Carrabba’s chef’s take time on every dish and like to add a little flavor to each meal. However, if you are overtly worried the menu clearly states how much wine, if any, is added to each meal. And on that note Carrabba’s is very PSA friendly sending you off with this one message: Drink Responsibly. Drive Responsibly.

Price: $$
Service: 5/5 (The men will help the ladies into their seats, if prompted)
Atmosphere: ‘Rilassarsi e godersi l’Italia.

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Satchel’s Pizza

Where else can you eat a slice of pizza inside of an old Volkswagen Bus that now seats 12 diners?

Clearly, the first thing on anyone’s list of must-haves for owning a restaurant.

Satchel’s Pizza has become legendary in its short time in Gainesville. Opening in March of 2003, Satchel’s has a reputation for being an out-of-the-ordinary eating establishment. The saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” could not have a better home than at Satchel’s. The walls are lined with original art and the building is decorated with bottle caps, car reflectors and many other recycled materials.

What separates Satchel’s from any other pizzeria, besides the colorful decor, is its menu. You will see the traditional pizza toppings found at most pizza parlors across the country here but much, much more.

Toppings such as artichoke hearts, tempeh, broccoli and steak (sauteed with onion) are just a few of the many combinations of concoctions you may devise while ordering.

On top of the toppings, Satchel’s has a variety of calzones and fresh-baked desserts to choose from. Though it is not an extensive menu, Satchel’s has defined itself as a pizza parlor with some added twists. It is far from an “Italian Restaurant” and specialized on its New-York-Style pizza. Each menu has a different back which will provide you with some reading material while you wait for your food. Different philosophies and stories varying from the evolution of how Satchel’s became what it is today, arguments over Coke or Pepsi or Ford or Chevy and other anecdotes that will keep you entertained.

Located off of N.E. 23rd Avenue, Satchel’s is about a 10-minute drive from campus, but it is well worth the trek. And for all of you Gator-1-loving freshman, you’re out of luck here. Satchel’s is a cash-only business and has an ATM conveniently located near the cash register for those of us who only use plastic.

One thing to note: When Satchel’s is busy – you will wait. The menu states “… It is not unusual for your food to take up to 50 minutes. We’ll do our best.” So come into Satchel’s with the mindset of an eating experience and less of a quick bite between classes.

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