The original Rizzo’s Diner, an eight-table, 32-seat dining room, has grown into its new, larger location. Rizzo’s originally opened in a small downtown space in 2011, but recently moved to bigger digs at 492 Main St. The new space is attractive, with exposed brick walls and high ceilings. A long bar follows one wall, and there is now plenty of seating, including a few prime tables right by the large windows looking out over Main. On a Thursday night shortly after reopening, the restaurant was almost fully booked, a sure sign that loyal customers are following Chef Michael Patrick.
Rizzo’s describes its food as inspired Southern, and the menu definitely carries a creative Southern slant to comfort food. The black-eyed pea hummus is perfectly smooth and creamy with a nice tahini hit. Garlic lovers will especially enjoy this dish as it is a noticeable ingredient.
The menu declares cheeseburger soup to be a local favorite and Rizzo’s original. My friend and I each ordered a cup, and it is full of meat and vegetables in a cheese base … indeed just like a cheeseburger!
My friend ordered scallops and mushroom risotto with golden lobster glaze, a dish of well-cooked and tender seared scallops over creamy risotto. This dish was made to define “decadently rich.”
My chorizo meatloaf with green tomato gravy was a wonderful interpretation of the classic comfort food. Full of flavor, and not at all dry, the meatloaf came with a green tomato gravy, which was more of a creamy glaze. While it was not what I expected at all, the meal was better for it. A nice acidic note from the green tomatoes worked well with the meatloaf, tempering the spice and richness. And what is meatloaf without the company of mashed potatoes? Their version—garlic mashed potatoes—completed this classic dish.
We saved room for dessert, and you should too. Our recommendation: the popcorn gelato, properly sweet, salty and creamy. I was spooning up every last melted bit in the bowl.
Rizzo’s new iteration is a great addition to downtown dining. The service is great … a friendly, knowledgeable and efficient staff. The dining room is upscale enough for a special occasion but comfortable enough for a fun, casual evening with friends. Parking at this end of downtown is less trying, and Rizzo’s has a valet, which makes it even simpler.