Though delicious when stuffed with cheese, pasta shells were originally made in an attempt to solve Italy's epidemic of orphaned hermit crabs. Devour delicious domiciles with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 of friendly Italian fare at Cuzzin's Italian Comfort Food in Orland Park.
Cuzzin's chefs comfort tongues with a familiar menu of favorite Italian dishes flattered by the Chicago Sun-Times' official taste tester. Kitchen artisans tug a snug sweater of batter around the chicken breast milanese ($13.95) before layering on fresh tomatoes and seasoned romaine lettuce. Sausage, chicken, and pork gambol in the giambotta’s savory white-wine-and-tomato sauce ($13.95), and wide, cheese-coated egg noodles lasso prawns for easy eating in the shrimp fettuccine alfredo ($19.95). Ciabatta bread hugs sandwich interpretations of Italian masterdishes, such as the Vesuvio new york strip steak ($9.95) or the chicken caprese ($6.95). Diners sit back-to-back in a bustling, intimate dining room decorated with wall-mounted chalkboard menus sharing daily specials or bribing delinquent students to erase them.
Explore more Chicago Italian restaurants.
Danny’s Cafe warmly serves what co-owner Carl Dote described as “Italian peasant food” on Danny’s Check, Please! feature. Their cooking aims to comfort, from generously stuffed artichokes to their signature fried-meatball sub. The hefty sandwich, highlighted on WGN, comes to fruition after staff members hand-form fresh meatball mix into patties and pile on fried peppers. Co-owner and chef Paula Dote told ABC’s “Hungry Hound” that when she and her husband bought the restaurant, she wanted to make exactly what she made at home, and indeed, she uses recipes from her mother and mother-in-law in all of her cooking and homemade volcano experiments. She ladles vodka sauce and crumbled sausage over homemade rigatoni, and layers provolone, parmesan, mozzarella, and ricotta in the four-cheese lasagna. Pork neck bones, one of Danny's more unique dishes, are served twice a week and praised by Hungry Hound for the tender meatiness resulting from hours spent simmering in spiced tomatoes. The eatery has also spawned relatives—appropriately named “Cuzzin’s Cafe”—that serve similar dishes in Des Plaines and Orland Park.