Bravo for Pranzo!
The family establishment tucked into a corner storefront on Erie Street offers homemade Italian dishes in a cozy and fun atmosphere...and the prices are reasonable.
The evening we visited there were a couple of votes for "Best of" from our table. My friend, Jill, said the gnocchi was the tastiest she had ever tried. And my husband, a fan of any food made with ground beef, said the meatballs were absolutely the best he had ever eaten. It's kind of rare to get two "best of the bests" from a single group.
Our waitress claims the recipe for the homemade bread pudding belonged to her grandmother, so diets went out the door as we each ordered one. Its gentle and soft-handed preparation made for a wonderful texture, sans the heavy spices from which this dish often suffers.
Without a liquor license, patrons are permitted to bring their own wine and servers will cork bottles at no charge. Aside from being a big savings, it was nice to bring an extra big bottle for the table and just keep pouring as glasses emptied.
Warning: Though reservations are taken, a 2-hour time limit is imposed so that the throngs of people waiting to partake in the Pranzo! experience can be accommodated. But at no time did we feel encouraged to roll out of there. Staff was very accommodating, helpful and cheerful.
Will this place make it in a downtown where several eateries have come and gone? I strongly vote yes. The complimentary valet parking makes for an easy entrance and exit, the food and ambiance are wonderful, and the prices are right on the money.
Look for this one to become a much sought-after Willoughby staple, drawing crowds from outside the county.
Welcome to town, Pranzo!
-- Jean Bonchak