Every college town has a go-to pizza place. Some might have two or even three. But only one town has Ricatoni’s Italian Grill.
This Italian restaurant in historic downtown Florence has been around for decades serving tasty, homemade food; supporting its community; and employing lots of local students, but the passion of owner Rick Elliott is what makes Ricatoni’s special.
He’s as much of a draw as his dishes—especially when he takes his message to YouTube.
Families with students at the University of North Alabama swear by Ricatoni’s. They usually mention the cheese ravioli and those Ricatoni’s commercials in the same sentence. Here’s another one. And one more for good measure.
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Then, if you want to go this is what to eat: ravioli with a tomato cream sauce, chicken Alfredo, lasagna Ricatoni and Elliott’s favorite, Rotolo di Pollo. “It’s a chicken breast that’s rolled; it’s got prosciutto and fontina cheese. We cook it on the grill and put a little lemon butter and mushroom sauce on it. We serve it with our signature pasta, Tagliarini Piace Pellerossa, and it comes with a house or Caesar salad.”
Elliott told me: “Even with search engines and all this stuff, Ricatoni’s still is. It’s exactly the way it was 20 years ago. People take comfort in the fact that … we are a stable element in their lives. That they can come here and go, ‘Oh yeah, I remember. This is the way it was 15 or 20 years ago when I used to come in with my parents.’”