Saturday, June 02, 2007

Avanti's, East Peoria

Good ole Avantis. A Peoria staple for many years before my time, and it has expanded into East Peoria quite a while back. I can remember eating at their Main Street location when it was across the street. Does anyone remember the "Gondola" controversy between Avanti's and LaGondola? What a great legal battle that was. Someone should have written a book about it.

I know Billy D wrote about it a while back (sorry, Bill - not going archive diving tonite!), and it seemed like a good mix of opinions.

Avanti's is real hit-and-miss for me concerning whether I even want to eat there. Nothing's gross on the menu, it's not like you can go wrong. Locals know that you are not going to get fine Italian cuisine on the menu. Sometimes I don't want meat sauce or marinara, or even the alfredo. Just doesn't sound good, and if I eat too much of their all-you-can-eat spaghetti on that most special of nights, I fart a little more than usual.

The bread - good stuff. I am not going to waste time extolling the virtues of Avanti's bread. But jeebus, they found one thing to do good, and they do REAL good. Just the bread and butter is enough of a meal for me. The pizza is not bad, either. I prefer it over any of the chains around here. (speaking of which, I gotta find out how to do polls, because I'd like to see what pizza reigns supreme in the Peoria area).

Tonight's visit to the Avanti's in East Peoria, to begin, was just dandy. No problems that weren't taken care of quickly, and nice folks waited on us and brought us food and soda refills. I had the lasagna, and this is something they have down so well that it lacks the fun of eating homemade lasagna that falls apart and you end up eating one big spoonful of ricotta or a big sheet of pasta. Still, it's tasty, and it's just enough for me. Because I filled up on the bread. And the goony little salad, which just works, for some reason.

Lovely wife Jenny had the chicken alfredo, and I heard no complaints. Ron and Katie both had Gondolas (capitalize that?? dunno), and I guess it was good because it's hard to screw up a lunchmeat sandwich, especially on that bread!! Russ had the Friday special, which was oven-baked cod. He specifically told me that he enjoyed the fish, but the accompanying linguini dish was just kind of "meh", not bad, nothing special. Jason had the only issue of the evening, when they brought his spaghetti and meatballs without the layer of mozzarelly on top like he wanted. They corrected it, and he dried his tears.

The kid who rang me up barely said a word, no "how was everything" queries, and I had to wait for like two minutes for someone to show up. Not gonna complain about that, because 1) high school kid has to work Friday nite at Avanti's isn't always going to be "on", and B) had fine conversations with the others standing around.

All in all, don't set the bar too high. Yeah, there's better places in town to go eat. I can name a whole bunch. Gotta pay more for that, however. Pay more money-get better food. Pay less money-get less better food. And so on. Avanti's is never my first choice of restaurants, but it's better to take the kid there than to the smoke-filled bar of choice for grub.

Avanti's-you made my HIT list (which, to refresh, is the good list to make. The bad list is known as the SHIT list)!!!

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I remember the whole "Gondola" war thing. Living in Washington we had La Gondola (shouldn't it be "La Torpedo?") and they had a contest (presumably after the lawsuit) to name their sandwich.
We never eat in at Avantti's, the food doesn't seem that great, but we often get gondola's and bread for carryout and I agree, it's great.