Live, from Peoria, Illinois, it’s Saturday Night starring this week’s host, Rizzi’s Italian Restaurant with special guest stars, Keli and Chad and featuring the Ready For Prime Beef Player, Marty Wombacher. Now please welcome this week’s host, Rizzi’s Italian Restaurant!
Here we are at Rizzi’s Italian Restaurant on Sheridan Road. This is one of my favorite restaurants and we’re here because this is a special Saturday MBIP dinner tonight!
A month ago to this day on August 11th, I had an MBIP coin-counting contest on facecrack. Over 370 people guessed but only one person won and that person is Keli Lynn! And she almost nailed it! The coins amounted to $471.58 and Keli’s guess was $462.33! She was just $9.25 away from the correct total! Pretty amazing! Since she won, she and a guest gets a dinner and 50 bucks from the $471.58 cash. We messaged each other on facecrack and after I found out that Keli had never been to Rizzi’s, we decided to have the celebratory winner dinner here!
I’m early, as usual, so let’s go inside. There’s tonight’s specials, but I already know what I want. I’ve been here many times and know the menu by heart!
Autumn was the pretty hostess for the evening and she led me to our booth. My plan was to take some photos of the place before Keli and her guest arrived, but as you can see, it’s pretty crowded, so I decided to wait till after dinner to take the photos when things have died down a little in here. I went back to our booth...
And Eric the waiter appeared with an ice-cold bottle of Budweiser! The evening is off to a wonderful start!
While I was waiting for Keli and her guest to arrive, I took another shot of the dining room and one of the lit-up ceiling fan spinning overhead.
Then the special guests arrived! That’s the coin-counting wizard, Keli on the left and her fiancee, Chad on the right. They live in Morton and Keli owns a clothing boutique called, Thr3ads with her two sisters and Chad is an electrician.
Here’s Keli with her 50 bucks from the MBIP coin cash fund! See, people really do win here on MBIP!
Keli gave me a business card for her boutique and I really liked the logo and asked her who designed it. When she told me I couldn’t believe it, it turns out that De Ingles from Smiley Graphix designed her logo! I’ve been friends with De and her husband John for decades now and some of you may have seen them right here on the blog as they’ve been guest stars many times! Here’s two of their appearances: a one and a two. And now, before going any further, we have to cue this up! Oh, and here’s a shameless plug for John’s high school football scores app thingy. Okay, let’s move along here!
Keli and Chad are really nice people and after some conversation and drinks, our dinner arrived! There’s Eric with our cheese pizza and we also got the Chicken Rollatini and the Tortellini and Steak pasta. We also had the Arancini fritters and stuffed mushrooms for appetizers, but I forgot to take pictures of them. Hey, give me a break, I’m meeting new people and it kind of threw me in the beginning!
There’s Keli and Chad digging into dinner and we all really enjoyed it. You can read more about it in the review below, but if you like Italian food, you definitely should try Rizzi’s out. Everything is made in-house and is so delicious! As you can see from the pizza, I think there’s going to be some leftovers to take home!
By the time we were done with dinner, the place had emptied out, so I went and took some pictures of the quaint and cozy restaurant. As you can see, booths line both walls with tables in the center. There’s artwork on the walls along with photos of Bekim Rizvani and his family who own Rizzi’s. There’s a wooden wine cabinet loaded with fine wine and the sign on top points us over to...
The bar! I love the bar in the back of the restaurant. There’s the lit-up inventory of bottles and more wine in a rack off to the side. And there’s Chad, the bartender who keeps the whole bar running. He’s one of the friendliest and best bartenders in Peoria and it’s always a pleasure to see him! Everyone here at Rizzi’s is really friendly and they make you feel at home in here.
Wine glasses hang overhead and they’re adorned with the Rizzi’s logo.
Meanwhile back at our booth, the leftover food has been boxed up and Eric took a goodnight photo of the three of us in our booth. Thanks to everyone at Rizzi’s for a wonderful and delicious celebratory coin-counting winner dinner! Congratulations to Keli for winning the contest and thanks to her and Chad for joining me for dinner! We really had a good time and I’m sure you’ll see them again here on the blog as we’ve agreed to have dinner again in the future! We’ll see you all tomorrow!
I asked Keli and Chad if they minded if I ordered the meal for the evening and they graciously let me take charge of our meal. We started off with the stuffed mushrooms and Arancini fritters for our appetizers. The stuffed mushrooms are cooked in a butter sauce and stuffed with a generous amount of spicy Italian sausage and cream cheese. The mushrooms alone are tasty in the butter sauce but when you add the spicy sausage and the rich, creamy cheese it’s really a taste-treat! The Arancini fritters are also a great appetizer that you can only find at Rizzi’s. They’re crispy fried fritters filled with melted ricotta cheese and served with marinara sauce. That’s another winning appetizer and sometimes when I come here alone, that’s all I get for dinner. But since there’s three of us tonight, there was more to sample!
We ordered three entrees for our main course and split them between us. We got a cheese pizza to start with and it’s a pizza pie done New York style and this is the closest thing to a real New York pizza you’re going to find in Peoria. I lived in New York for 19 years and had plenty of pizza there so trust me, this is authentic NYC pizza and it’s delicious! Our other two entrees were the Chicken Rollatini and the Tortellini and Steak pasta. The Chicken Rollatini are chicken breasts rolled up and stuffed with mozzarella and parmesan cheese, prosciutto, spinach and onion. We got it served with linguine and it’s topped off with a mushroom bordelaise sauce. This dish has so many flavors going on it’s like putting a smorgasbord in your mouth! Like so many other items on Rizzi’s menu, you won’t find this dish anywhere else in Peoria!
The pasta dishes are the specialties of the house and the Tortellini and Steak did not disappoint. The steak medallions are served on top of the tortellini and it’s pan-seared top sirloin. The tortellini is tri-color pasta stuffed with cheese and served in a light cream sauce with onions, mushrooms and spinach. The steak was cooked to perfection and the savory flavor of the sirloin steak blended nicely with the rich pasta and sauce. We all agreed this was one of the best Italian meals we’ve ever had!
Four Galloping Gourmets—If you like genuine, home-cooked Italian food and pasta, you need to try out Rizzi’s if you haven’t already. The food is spectacular and the restaurant is cozy, comfortable and very welcoming!
4613 N. Sheridan Road