Sunday, March 9, 2008


This is my new favorite restaurant, Gloria's Little Italy. My other favorites are Brick Oven--I call it that in case there are newcomers in the Provo/Orem/Happy Valley area and don't know it is really called "Heaps." Ottavio's, Carrabbas--they have the best dish I have ever tasted, honest it is, J-Dawg--can't really call this a restaurant but the hot dogs, and the price, can't be beat. Chuck-A-Rama is on the list because you can eat whatever you want and the food is always good. I know there are folks who say, "What? Chuck-A-Rama?" But they go there themselves so I better not hear from them.

But today's new favorite is Gloria's Little Italy on 279 East 300 South in Provo, Utah. Phone number 801-805-4913. I will be calling to see what the daily special is . When we went it was eggplant Parmesan, my all time favorite choice at Italian restaurants.

Here are the owners, Mauro Bonfanti and Gloria. They met in Italy at the beach when Gloria was only 13 years old and Mauro was 21. She lived in Piza and he lived in Pistoia. He was finished with his military service and knew a good thing when he saw it. I think her friend was dating his cousin so he got to know her through them and after a while he asked if she would be his girl. "My mother wouldn't like it," she said. But he was patient and when she was old enough she did become his girl and when she was 18 they were married in the Mormon Temple. They are both converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

They had friends in Utah and came for a visit a few years ago. They loved it here and applied for green cards. After three years they were successful.

Mouro is a jeweler and works for a highly respected jewelry store in the area. Maybe his experience with jewels has helped make this restaurant the little jewel that it is.

This is Gloria with her daughter, Letizia who is 21 and available, in case any Mommas have a young man who needs a date for Friday night. Letizia was delightful, cheerful, her English was perfect and she is smart--she will graduate from BYU next April. She was our waitress. Gloria and Mauro have two other children, a boy, Samuele, 25 and a girl, Katy, 13. They all work at the restaurant when they are not in school. Now I ask you, does Gloria look old enough to have a 25 year old boy? No, she doesn't.

Here are the things you see as you walk in the door.

Then you walk down these steps to the first dining room.

Here is Phil, checking out the lunch menu. I know what I want--the daily special.

Phil ordered a panini. I didn't get a photo before her hungrily took some bites.

I chose wisely. Mmm. Eggplant Parmesan. I was not disappointed. It was delicious and affordable--$7.99.

This is the romantic room upstairs. There are skylights and at night you can see the moon.

I will leave you with this beautiful shot of the fruit tart. Just like a jewel, perhaps like some that Mauro sets into silver or gold.

If you live in the area you owe it to yourself to check out Gloria's Little Italy. The food was good and Letizia and her parents were simply delightful.


SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Thanks for making me hungry! I love eggplant parmesan subs (about 2 zillion points on Weight Watchers).

kacey said...

I'm salivating over those first pics of food in the display counters! Hey, my husband's favorite is eggplant too. And I am a panini lover myself!

What a great write up you did on this restaurant!

Kathy said...

I LOVE this post!
I love food.
I love visiting new cities and exploring the local restaurants.
This would be a great 'retirement career'; traveling to new places, finding restaurants, eating the daily specials, taking pictures and writing a blog.
You did good!
Now I have to go eat lunch.....

Colette Amelia said...

OK now are you and Phil Utah's travelling goodwill? Thank you so much for the book marks! you are so clever.

Now I am thinking Phil must be retired...or you have a big trust fund that just hires him out as your chauffeur so you can go about the town taking photos of trees, the chocolate shop the hot dog shop and Gloria's Little Italy...and let me say what a great job you and your trust fund and Phil are doing!

Pam's Place said...

Ok, Lynne, how long have you been keeping this secret?

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

Dear Friends,

Let's all meet at Gloria's for lunch and then I'll tell you all about myself and you can tell me all about yourself and we will eat and laugh and tip the waitress an obscene amount of money to put us upstairs, out of the way, where we won't disturb the other diners. How does that sound?

Is it a date?

Cindy said...

I want to meet!! This place sounds wonderful! I love it that you introduced us to the owners! I will be there in April for my son's graduation!!! I will have to check out this place! I love Italian food! I love Italians!! Oh, I am Italian!! LOL

Anonymous said...

I love this place! It is sooo good! All of the pastas are also excellent and not too expensive it has excellent service and a great atmosphere another great place nearby is on main street in springville called kranky franks I personally like it better than j-dogs.

Anonymous said...

1. You can't order "a Panini" because the word panini is plural. You can order a panino. Besides, all panino means is sandwich. It's not even a certain type of sandwich. I know you might think it's a hip/cool word but, sorry, just sandwich. But then again, you probably order "a biscotti" also, even though it is plural also.

2. Why are you referring to Provo as happy Valley? The phrase was originally coined by Penn St. Come up w/ something original and stop ripping of others ideas.

3. Their food is great, best I've had since living in Italy. Ottavio's and Carrabas are just Americanized crap. But, most you and others posting don't sound like you would know the difference anyway.

4. The ambiance and decor are crap. You get nice cheap tables and chairs w/ vinyl table cloths, and if you are lucky, get to sit with an indoor AC unit right next to your table. There is nothing romantic about it. By BYU standards, I guess you might consider it romantic.

5. you should check the spelling on the page, it sucks.

Anonymous said...

J Dawgs not a restaurant? Are you out of your mind? Only the second most popular eatery in Provo according to Give me a break! Better than Kranky Franks? I don't trust a thing I read here. That place is a blatant rip-off. Try coming up with something original Kranky. J is original and fresh. That's where my money goes. Please.

Anonymous said...

"ripping of others ideas"... for someone who is so critical of others, Mr. Anonymous sure makes a lot of mistakes himself. Yes, I'm sure it was a male.

Anonymous said...

hey suck it. krankys is way better than j-crap. krankys is the best.