The Italian Grill at 2360 Harrison Street, next to Hastings Books, Music, Video, and Video Games, is a popular family restaurant that focuses on comfort foods, reasonable prices, and down home hospitality.  While classic Italian dishes—Spaghetti, Lasagna, Pizza, Manicotti, Tortellini, and Fettuccine—dominate the menu, an ample and creative range of other selections is available to satisfy most dining preferences.

Spaghetti is available for lunch and dinner and served five different ways:  with a rich marinara sauce, meat sauce, marinara with mushrooms, marinara with meatballs, or marinara with Italian Sausage.  Dinner entrees are served with salad and garlic bread.  Servings are substantial.  The same flavorful marinara is also served with the other pasta dishes.

Pizza is also a popular choice. A 7-inch pizza, straight from the oven, is offered with the traditional toppings like Pepperoni and Italian Sausage. Other choices include the Chicken Pizza, with grilled chicken, Alfredo Sauce, peppers, mushrooms, and mozzarella cheese; the Spinach and Mushroom Pizza; and a welcome Vegetarian Pizza for those of us eating on the light side.

The non-Italian selections are definitely worth considering. The homemade quiche is a favorite with many regulars; I know several folks who buy an entire quiche and take it home for the family. The servings of quiche are substantial and a value at $4.99; a salad can be added for $1.99. Lighter menu items include Lemon Pepper Chicken, Garden Pasta, Chicken Primavera, and Sirloin Veggie Pasta—all served with fettuccine.

The Grilled Salmon is prepared with extra virgin olive oil and “grilled to perfection,” as the menu promises; it is served with fresh broccoli, salad, and a choice of oven roasted potatoes, fries, baked potato, or Fettuccine Alfredo.  New York strips, available in 10 or 14 ounce cuts, come with the same selections. If you are a true meat-lover, don’t miss the popular Friday and Saturday night Prime Rib special.

If the economy has forced you to curtail eating out, try the Italian Grill’s three generous weekly specials.  Tuesday night is Seniors Special 55+ Night.  Eligible diners can enjoy all they can eat from 10 menu items for only $6.99.  Wednesday night is College Night; students with appropriate identification can also enjoy all they can eat from 10 menu items for $6.99.  Thursday Night is Spaghetti; all comers get all the Spaghetti and Garlic Bread they can eat for $5.99.  The Children’s menu is another bargain. Smaller servings of Spaghetti, Ravioli, Tortellini, Chicken Tenders, and other popular dishes are priced from $3.99 to $5.49 and come with Garlic Bread and a beverage.

Be sure to save room for dessert. I was especially impressed with the Tiramisu, both the flavor and the size of the serving. The Chocolate Spoon Cake, served warm with vanilla ice cream, is equally impressive. Other selections include Reese’s Pie, Snicker Pie, Apple Pie, and a classic Chocolate Sundae.

The servers at the Italian Grill are well-trained, knowledgeable when it comes to the menu, friendly, and courteous.  I never have to wait too long for a coffee or water refill and my server always works hard to make sure I enjoy my meal. The Italian Grill is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 to 2 and 5 to 9, Saturday from 11-9, and Sunday from 11 to 3.  It is closed on Mondays. For community events, office parties, rehearsal dinners, or other special occasions, call 612-8002 for reservations.