Ok, so I took the winter off. Well not really, I still went on food adventures and I’ve still been writing click here to catch up. But I haven’t been writing about my dinner adventures. Matt encouraged me to pick up the ole’ keyboard again as we walked to dinner one night.
Our neighborhood is the residential area in the middle of a square of main streets of the city. Every now and then there is a little commercial building tucked in among the houses and invisible dog fences. Well invisible fences for dogs not fences for invisible dogs…
Retz’s Lanconi’s II 330-945-4600
Lanconi’s is tucked along Sackett in Cuyahoga Falls, not far from the riverfront or rout 8. Featuring a full bar and classic Italian fare, the space keeps opening far larger than it looks from the outside. The bar opens in the back to a full dining room. A large menu offers pizza, sandwiches, burgers and Italian dinners.
Matt chose a draft Amber Bock and the rigatoni special. I went with a Captain and Coke and the Italian sausage sandwich. Neither of us counted on Bob, the 85 year old bartender with a dirty sense of humor, long pours and red suspenders.
We watched Bob work the bar while waiting for our food. We both wanted to adopt Bob as our grandfather hoping to hear more stories of his adventures in the local restaurant scene the way you would sit at the knee of a member of the Rat Pack. We were completely charmed with Bob the way you are when you are first allowed to sit at the grown-ups table. If I was ever going to learn how to tell a good dirty joke it was tonight!
Matt’s food came out first. The special was a plate of rigatoni, sauce, 2 meatballs a salad and bread. The bread was good and crusty with sesame seeds, there was more than enough to share. While the salad was an unremarkable bowl of bagged salad the pasta made up for it. A large plate with rigatoni, house made, sweet tomato sauce and two large meatballs. The meatballs were light and well seasoned, baked forever and lightly caramelized on the edges.
My sandwich came out as hot as lava with cheese bubbling over the edges and seasoned Jo-jos steaming, daring me to pick one up. Once they cooled down (a torturous 3 minutes I assure you) the Jo-jos proved to be seasoned and crispy. Even at the end of the meal – still crispy. To me this is the difference between an amazing fry and the crap I leave behind on my plate, it’s that simple.
The sandwich was a natural casing link split down the middle and placed on an Italian hoagie roll, sprinkled with diced onion and bell pepper, smothered in mozzarella cheese and the same sweet tomato sauce as the pasta. The sausage had a good hearty garlic and fennel flavor with a snap that can only come from natural casings. The onions and peppers were a wonderful warm but crunchy texture which stood up well to the gooey cheese and rich sauce. The combination of sweet and savory played perfectly.
Our total bill was $24.
We walked home recalling some of Bob’s more choice moments savoring the hearty meal.
Until we eat again,