Dining out in Italy often results in language barrier frustrations and needing to book an unexpected international flight because you left your wallet on the kitchen counter. Nosh on foreign fare close to home with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of Italian cuisine and drinks at Cerami's Italian Restaurant in Flowood.
Sicilian-bred parents helped stock Fred Cerami's culinary arsenal of Italian eats with a stash of authentic family recipes infused with an American flair. A trip to Cerami's signature Salad Wagon, the repurposed hot dog cart that funded Fred's college education before it retired to spend time with its food truck family, accompanies each of the menu's entrees. In the Cajun pasta, a Cajun cream sauce presides over a marriage of spicy Southern flavors to tilapia and crawfish, trailed by a bridal party of angel hair noodles ($21.95). Flaunt fearless chompers while attacking the caprese flatbread pizza ($9.95) or the cannelloni florentine's house-made pasta crêpe, stuffed with a cheesy medley of spinach and ground beef ($14.95). Meanwhile, the seared tuna delights taste buds with a cooked-to-order slab of yellowfin tuna covered up in a white-wine butter sauce atop a bed of angel hair pasta, where it dreams of award-winning synchronized swimming routines ($21.95).
The Italian flag drapes Cerami's patriotic eatery, frosting a tableside awning and vibrant linens with scarlet, white, and green hues. Vines of luminary orbs wend their way through the hunger haven, bathing diners and linguini-weaved wall tapestries in muted lighting.
Cerami's Italian Restaurant
Fred Cerami’s first venture into the food industry was selling hot dogs on the streets of Hattiesburg. He loved feeding people, but wanted to incorporate his Sicilian heritage and generations of family recipes into his work. So in 1977, he left the streets, came inside, and laid down his roots within the kitchen of Cerami’s Italian Restaurant. Today, Fred’s daughter Alissa runs the restaurant, but not much else has changed. The kitchen still churns out homemade ravioli, lasagna, and spaghetti with meatballs, Italian flags still adorn the walls of the dining room, and Fred’s old Hattiesburg hot-dog wagon is still there, enjoying its healthier second act as an all-you-can-eat salad bar.