Patio of the Week: Franco’s Ristorante Italiano

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

The air may be cooling off, but there are still good patio days that will come and go in the next month that you aren’t going to want to miss out on.

Classically cool weather deserves a classically cool patio with something hearty to keep you warm.

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Franco’s Ristorante Italiano at the end of the Oregon District is definitely a classically cool spot delivering up satisfying Italian dishes that will keep you feeling warm.

The restaurant, which opened its doors in 1976, is named after Franco Germano, the original owner who passed away in 2018. His recipes and vision were born in his hometown of Duronia, Italy, and he worked overtime to deliver on the flavors and traditions he was steeped in to all who entered his doors.

The menu is packed with Italian dishes you would expect to find (think Lasagna), but there’s one dish that’s long been an icon on the Franco’s menu — Franco’s “World Famoso” Spaghetti.

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What do you get when you pile on fresh roasted garlic, Romano cheese and egg with a good quality olive oil over a bowl of pasta and then add mushrooms or spicy sausage or both? The answer is a very happy diner.

Go for both and order a side of peas and dump them in to round out the bowl with a pop of green and another layer of flavor. This has been a favorite dish of mine for years. It’s a wonderful Italian treat and never fails to leave me wanting more.

Franco was larger than life and his famous spaghetti is a plate of pure joy. Magnifico!

It’s a recipe that has been served to hungry customers in Dayton for more than 45 years and if you haven’t had it, it’s time.

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Other house specialties include classics like chicken, veal or eggplant parmigiana or a fresh lemon and white wine piccata served with your choice of chicken, veal, tilapia or shrimp. There are also more interesting dishes like the Avvoltini di Manzo Braciole, a thin sliced New York strip steak rolled and stuffed with egg, sausage, celery and carrots covered with Italian sauce served with a side of spaghetti.

There is also a nice selection of steaks, chops and rack entrees including a veal chop buonissimo 10 oz. rack covered with a marsala demi-glace sauce with peppers, onions and mushrooms and served with rosemary potatoes and fettuccine garlic and oil. I could also mention the other pastas, pizza and calzones, but we’re here to talk patios.

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Just outside of Franco’s front doors lies a patio in the round sitting right on Fifth Street. It has plenty of seating and is a great spot on both weekdays and weekends to start the evening with a filling, flavorful meal and plenty of fresh air. It’s large with plenty of room to spread out and enjoy a meal without the disruption that can happen when tables are shoehorned into a patio space.

Credit: Alexis Larsen

Credit: Alexis Larsen

It’s certainly a prime outdoor spot both day and night to take in a meal and conveniently located near the Oregon District, Wayne Ave. and downtown Dayton if you are looking to extend your time out.

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Contact this contributing writer at alexis.e.larsen@hotmail.com.

HOW TO GO

What: Franco’s Ristorante Italiano

Where: 824 E. Fifth St., Dayton

More information: 937-222-0204 or www.francos-italiano.com

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