Mario’s Italian Restarante

Like the subject of last week’s review, Mario’s Italian Restarante has stood the test of time. It has brought in guests for over 40 years to try its “straight from Italy” Italian food. Italy-born Mario Bertolini started his restaurant in 1977. He spent many afternoons sharing his love for food while greeting each new friend with a smile. His restaurant has had politicians and celebrities like Caroline Kennedy and James Earl Jones stop by. This past summer the creator of the famous giant-sized panzerotti passed away. Despite his passing, Mario’s legacy will live on, one meal at a time.

The menu includes a variety of Italian classics, from pasta to tiramisu, and everything in between. All are from family recipes and are prepared in-house.

They have specials every day of the week except Sunday. Monday is the chef’s special. The special on Tuesdays and Thursdays is the Pork Chop a la Mario. There are two specials on Wednesday: the Linguine Carbonara and the Fettuccine Alfredo. On Fridays the special is Cod and Catfish. To end the week, the Saturday special is a seafood platter that includes fried scallops, shrimp, cod, and catfish.

Mario’s panzerotti is a MUST-HAVE item that every customer should experience. The price is $13, but it’s well worth it once you see the size of it. Panzerotti resembles a calzone, but comes fried or baked. You can get it with cheese and your choice of pepperoni, ham, green olives, sausage, green peppers, beef, mushrooms, or black olives. It’s served with a choice of cottage cheese, coleslaw or tossed salad. For $2.95 more, get the “Mario Panz” with all the ingredients. As a college student looking to stretch my food dollars as much as possible, this is the perfect item. The panzerotti is a little smaller than a football, and will leave you walking out with leftovers for later.

I spoke with Loras sophomore Sarah Krieger about her recent visit there. “Whenever my family and I go to Mario’s,” said Krieger, “I always get the spinach tortellini with white sauce. It is all homemade and delicious.”

Before you leave the place, try one of their many dessert options. These include Angelina’s homemade cannoli, tiramisu, chocolate seven-layer cake, spumoni, and vanilla ice cream. If you’re feeling adventurous, add some chocolate sauce to your ice cream at no extra charge. Also available post-dinner are espressos, cappuccinos, and caffe mocha.

Mario’s is open six days a week, Monday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. They are less than a mile away, at 13th and Main in Dubuque.

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