Owner Rick Gratch caught himself calling Caffe Pranzo a "hole in the wall” Italian restaurant, but he’s not wrong. It just happens to be a very nice hole in a very nice wall, which is why customers have been returning for 14 years.
Inside the building is an authentic charm that’s relaxing. The walls are covered with works from local artist Ann Shaw, and while there are decorations, it’s not crammed full of knickknacks — an easy way to distinguish the restaurant from some anonymous Italian chain. There’s nothing pretentious about Caffe Pranzo, which is just how Gratch likes it. "We’re not trying to be real fancy,” he said. "We don’t do a lot of nouveau cuisine, just classic Italian dishes.” Gratch said Pranzo’s chef has been there almost as long as the restaurant, which means consistent quality for patrons. Customers quickly become family at Pranzo, where changes to the menu are happily made to satisfy anybody with allergies or particular tastes. "We have a lot of repeat customers who have been coming here since we opened,” Gratch said. "We try to work with their dietary concerns to make sure everybody gets a good meal. Food Dude Blog: More on Caffe Pranzo
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Where: 9622 N. May
Lunch hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Dinner hours: 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Information: 755-3577 or www.caffepranzo.com.