Live, from Peoria, Illinois, it’s Saturday Night starring this week’s host, Rizzi’s Italian Restaurant with special guests, Ben Lowrey (A.K.A. B Löwd), Bekim and Chad. Now please welcome this week’s host, Rizzi’s Italian Restaurant!
We actually skipped a month in our year of monthly vegetarian Saturday Night Meals, so we thought we’d go and do our veggie dining at the start of April. And as always, that’s Ben Lowrey behind the wheel driving us to this month’s meatless destination. Ben suggested this vegetarian idea and we’re now in our 8th month of meatless meals with four more to go! In addition to driving us to our monthly vegetarian meals, Ben’s also a DJ who spins and makes music under the moniker of B Löwd. He’s going to be at Rail II on Farmington Road on April 14th, you can see the details for that show here and he’s also going to be at City Heat May 5th for their Cinco De Mayo celebration. You can listen to some of Ben’s music by clicking right here. Okay, now it’s off we go for another vegetarian Saturday Night meal!
This month we thought we’d try an Italian restaurant for our meatless meal and I think that Rizzi’s Italian Restaurant is one of the best in Peoria and beyond. They have authentic Italian cuisine here and there’s also several vegetarian options. That’s Araceli greeting us at the hostess station near the front door and we decided to go sit at the bar which is located in the back of the restaurant.
There’s Ben seated at the bar and there’s our view from where we’re seated. Gary was getting some food to go and said he’s been a regular here for years. In the bottom photo is Bekim, who owns the restaurant and Chad who’s doing bartending duty tonight. We placed our vegetarian order and now it’s time to take a few photos while it’s being prepared.
In addition to authentic Italian dishes, there’s also a great selection of wine in here and glasses hang over the bar waiting to be filled.
Here’s a shot from the back of the dining room and there’s comfortable booths lining up both walls. There’s a corner table up front for cozy dining!
Rizzi’s is family-owned and Bekim’s parents opened the restaurant back in 1995 and business has been booming ever since. There’s some family photos on the wall and that arrow in the bottom photo is pointing me back to the bar...
Where it looks like our monthly meatless Saturday Night meal is just about ready to be served!
Ben’s meal came with a salad and he said the house-made dressing was unbelievable. I didn’t get a salad, so I had some of the bread here and it’s really good bread! Crusty on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside of the loaf. It doesn’t even need butter!
We ordered two appetizers to start the meal off and the top photo is Arancini Fritters and at the bottom is Eggplant Rollatini.
I’ve had the Arancini Fritters here many times and I think it’s my favorite item on the menu. They’re crispy on the outside and rich and creamy as you bite into them and the melted ricotta cheese hits your taste buds. Normally I’m not big on eggplant, but Chad recommended the Eggplant Rollatini so we tried it and I’m glad he recommended it. It was so delicious and actually tasted like it had meat in it!
Now it’s time for the meatless main courses! Ben got Linguine with olive oil, garlic and broccoli and I got a Calzone stuffed with cheese and broccoli.
I’ve never had a Calzone here and after eating this one I wish I would’ve tried one sooner! It was so delicious and the broccoli was really a nice substitute for meat.
We were the last ones in the place and there’s the bar going dark as closing time sets in. On our way out I saw this “Dining Out” review and I certainly agree with the headline. Rizzi’s still impresses and if you’ve never been you should definitely try it out! Thanks to Bekim and Chad for the wonderful dinner, service and hospitality! And thanks to Ben for driving and joining me for another vegetarian dinner! We’ll see you all tomorrow.
Our meal started off with a salad and bread and it was all uphill from there! The two appetizers we had were fantastic! I’ve had the Arancini Fritters every time I come here and they never disappoint! The real surprise for me was the Eggplant Rollatini. It was really rich and tasty and the eggplant was a great meat substitute!
I haven’t had a Calzone since I lived in New York and I don’t know of another restaurant that serves them here in Peoria. These are authentic Calzones and the outside is crispy and inside they’re filled with rich, creamy mozzarella and ricotta cheese. I got broccoli as an extra ingredient and it was a nice crispy addition. Ben loved his linguine and his one-word review sums up the entire vegetarian dinner: “Amazing.” I whole-heartedly agree!
Four Galloping Gourmets—Rizzi’s is a family-owned and operated restaurant that’s been serving authentic Italian dishes since 1995. They’ve got quite a few vegetarian options on the menu and I can’t recommend the Broccoli Calzone enough! And if you’ve never tried the Arancini fritters, they’re worth the trip here alone
4613 N. Sheridan Road