“Lasci il buon rullo di periodi,” reads the inscription over the bar at Pinocchio’s Ristorante. The phrase translates to “let the good times roll,” advice addressed to wait staff and patrons alike in the gently lit and richly colored dining room. Past the long, curving bar, rust-colored walls glow around golden sconces, and the smell of fresh tomatoes and sautéing vegetables fills the air. Drawing on generations-old family recipes and experience accrued during 25 years in the business, chefs at Pinocchio’s Ristorante craft a menu of pastas, risottos, and veal. In the kitchen, they slice paper-thin cuts of prosciutto, stir pots of truffle and cognac-reduction sauce, roast garlic, and whittle spaghetti down into angel hair. The din of pots and pans drifts behind the bar, where a cadre of mixologists whip up margaritas and martinis, ranging from the raspberry margarita to martinis made with van Gogh espresso vodka.
The culinary masterminds that brought Pinocchio’s Ristorante to Three Rivers have teamed up to bring another success, Gheppetto’s Grille, to Ware. Along with elegantly executed Italian fare, the restauranteurs wanted to add a touch of Americana to the menu, setting classics such as veal marsala next to wild-caught haddock wrapped in a crispy Ritz Cracker and panko breading. Fostering a festive environment ideal for an after-work cocktail or get-together with family and friends, the lounge entertains guests with a full bar lined with flat-screen TVs showing big, burly games. In the dining area, Gheppetto’s amicable staff seats guests at tables adorned with white tablecloths in a room of rustic browns and reds lit warmly under hanging lights. Supporting local artists, the eatery also enlivens its Thursday and Saturday evenings with live acoustic music.
Every spring and summer, Janine’s Frostee puts on a classic Americana clinic with hearty helpings of diner classics, fresh seafood, and ice-cream concoctions. The traditional drive-in, a local haunt since 1956, scoops 36 Gifford’s Ice Cream flavors, swirls 15 varieties of soft-serve and frozen yogurt with a choice of 14 different sundae toppings. Janine’s entertains roadside diners with live music every Friday night and an annual classic-car show.
The chefs at this small, authentic eatery appease appetites with a slew of classic Mexican fare, including burritos, tacos, enchiladas, and favorite entrees. Diners can stoke hunger fires with meat-infused taquito bites or fajita nachos, piled high with cheese, onions, peppers, sour cream, and either chicken or steak. Hearty enough to combat extreme hunger and put dents in passing cars, california burritos provide homes to spiced meat, cheese, rice, and beans. The chimichanga del mar hides generous hunks of crabmeat, scallops, shrimp, and veggies under a deep-fried tortilla cloak, and street tacos, despite their name, are better to eat than they are to drive over.
Amoroso's Ristorante & Lounge’s wood-burning brick oven pops outs pizzas topped with homemade meatballs, crispy chicken, olives, and ranch dressing. The chefs also chop, boil, and bake their way through platefuls of three-cheese ravioli and veal parmesan. On select nights, a corner of the dining room converts into a cozy stage with live musical acts and shadow-puppet shows.