Everybody, meet the OG Mom and Dad, the two people who will change everything you thought you knew about Italian food. Giuseppe and Barbara Violante, the original owners of Mom & Dad’s Italian Restaurant, came to the States and opened this fine establishment in 1963.
Straight from Abruzzo, Italy, Giuseppe and Barbara brought with them the secrets of their family recipes; secrets that have kept people coming back for over 50 years.
And, just so you understand how extraordinary the food is, here’s a picture of the Abruzzo, the Violante homeland.
These recipes pretty much came from heaven.
Although Mom & Dad’s switched ownership in 2013, Giuseppe and Barbara’s daughter still comes in from time to time, making sure the menu is stickin’ to tradition. In fact, Giuseppe and Barbara’s grandson is the head chef. He’s killin’ behind the scenes while your girl kills it on the main stage.
Yes, that’s right. I’m a server at Mom & Dad’s Italian Restaurant. BUT, before you totally discredit me as biased and self-serving (get it?), let me assure you otherwise. I’ve worked at Mom & Dad’s for almost 2 years now, 3 times a week, every week.
Now, let me ask you: how many people do you know who work in the service industry? How many would sit down and write about how much they love their restaurant? All while listening to the same Pandora station (Frank Sinatra) played in said restaurant? I’m guessing not many.
But, you know, if you choose not to take my word on the subject, you could always ask Rick Scott. Yep, that’s right. Rick Scott. He ate at Mom & Dad’s about a month ago. I think he might have ordered the Stuffed Eggplant…
While we’re on the subject, the food at Mom & Dad’s is, for lack of a better description, dank af. They pride themselves on fresh ingredients; so fresh, in fact, that some of their ingredients are grown in a garden behind the restaurant.
During season, the GM of Mom & Dad’s, Clayton Beaty, grows tomatoes, rosemary, peppers, parsley, eggplant, cucumber, zucchini and oregano right outside the restaurant.
The basil on these Caprese Skewers was born and raised in Mom & Dad’s backyard. Farm-to-table, anyone? The Caprese Skewers also happen to be my favorite appetizer, followed by the Chicken Piccata.
(#SpoonTip: This dish is actually called Chicken Capri, and it’s not on the menu. Ask for the Chicken Piccata with capers and artichokes – you can also get this dish served over a bed of pasta).
The piccata sauce is perfect for dipping the homemade bread in. Did I mention the bread is made fresh every single day? The carbs are so worth it, you don’t even know.
If you’re craving something sweet (and if you have room), the dessert menu features a dangerous variety of delectable options. One of my personal favorites is the Chocolate Silk Pie.
Not a chocolate person? Never fear. Get yourself some Spumoni, a classic Italian dessert made with vanilla, cherry and pistachio ice cream representing the colors of the Italian flag. Magnifico.
While the food at Mom & Dad’s is something special, it isn’t just the food that keeps people coming back. Mom & Dad’s Italian Restaurant has been open for over 50 years.
For those of you that live in Tallahassee or any college town, this number is pretty astounding. The restaurant turnover rates in cities like Tallahassee are bananas – restaurants are constantly coming and going, opening and closing, while Mom & Dad’s has stood strong for over half a century. And it’s not because of the pizza,
or the 64 different kinds of wine. It’s because of the vibes, man.
Mom & Dad’s feels like home to me. It’s the little things, like how they put a fresh rose on every table every night.
Mom & Dad’s Italian Restaurant offers great food, great service, great music and great company. It’s a quaint little place, tucked away on Apalachee about 20 minutes from downtown Tallahassee.
If you’re not looking for it, you might even miss it. Just keep an eye out for this unassuming neon sign that marks the spot of the best kept secret in Tallahassee.