Considered comfort fare by many, Italian cuisine easily pleases palates with savory herbs, hearty sauces, and pasta imprinted with photos of Italian nonnas. Taste comfort with today’s Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of Italian fare at Rocco Ranalli's Cafe & Pizzeria in Lincoln Park.
Rocco Ranalli's, a family-owned café and pizzeria, has been churning out authentic Italian cuisine amid a cozy neighborhood-bar setting for more than 30 years. From the menu rise the aroma of the chicken parm sandwich ($9.95)—breaded chicken breast served with marinara sauce and melted provolone on a Tuscano roll—and the angus beef-laden classic burger ($8.95). To appease appetites pining for piping-hot pizza ($10.95+), diners can stretch jaws around pan, stuffed, thin, or gluten-free dough disks adorned with any of Rocco Ranalli's 35+ toppings ($1.50+ each), such as sun-dried tomatoes and genoa salami. The menu also makes room for specialty pizzas such as the barbecue chicken ($15.95+), crowned with cilantro, red onions, barbecue sauce, and grilled chicken, all arranged into a scary face designed to keep neighboring diners from trying to steal a bite. Rocco Ranalli's rounds out its edible collection with savory sandwiches, salads, and five sweet-tooth-satisfying desserts, as well as a hodgepodge of local and imported beer, such as Lagunitas IPA and Great Lakes Eliot Ness.
Exposed-brick walls and dark woods surround high-back booths and gingham-clothed tables as patrons chatter over plates of precious, life-sustaining food. A troupe of 23 flat-screen TVs flickers inside the cozy dining room, which is framed by Italian-inspired artwork. Outside, a patio invites patrons to absorb sunshine during the warmer seasons or whenever challenges arise that require outdoor furnishings and below-freezing weather.
For the restauranteurs behind Rocco Ranalli's Cafe and Pizzeria, keeping Chicago well fed is a family affair. Run by the Ranalli clan since the 1970s, this neighborhood joint at the heart of Lincoln Park still serves the pizza, sandwiches, and brews that made it a Lincoln Avenue insitution to begin with. In the kitchen, chefs wrangle the ingredients necessary to master their own huge menu, which includes everything from barbecue pork sandwiches to chicken parmesan and beer-battered fish ‘n’ chips. Their pizzas pair standby flavors such as the Meat Lover's italian sausage, pepperoni, and bacon with unorthodox favorites such as the Mexicano's taco-style ground beef, salsa, and refried beans. A menu of eight Ranalli specialty sandwiches also honors the neighborhood itself, with names like The Redline, The Lincoln Park, and The Blue Demon working in conjunction with gourmet ingredients including fried eggs, sauteed mushrooms, smoked gouda, and balsamic glaze. At the bar, barkeeps serve brews from the restaurant's extensive craft beer list, which includes more than 50 labels. In the warmer months, mealtime revelries also unfold on Rocco Ranalli's gargantuan patio, where diners can soak up mid-meal sun amid Lincoln Park's bustling din and rustling leaves.
Near North Side
1925 N Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60614