Unpretentious and flavorful, a lesser-known Prescott restaurant

By Morgan Rosenberger and Amber Faigin
Staff Writers

Though not necessarily romantic in the typical sense, LaBruzza’s has been the site of three marriage proposals, including one on the night we visited (he hid the ring in her dessert!). This says something about the special atmosphere of the restaurant, which feels a bit like coming home for dinner with family.

Gabe LaBruzza opened his first family-owned and operated restaurant on White Spar Road in Prescott, June, 1988. But the building was small, and the restaurant’s followers were many, so they moved to their current location, on Iron Springs road just north of the Walmart, in January, 1991. LaBruzza is a large part of the business’s daily flavor, as he is often seen visiting with customers throughout the night. The menu features the recipes of LaBruzza’s mother, who came from Palermo, Sicily.

The charmingly kitsch atmosphere, accented with red, white and green, features strings of lights and paintings depicting Italian scenery and food.

The packed house proved to be worth the wait. As we were waiting for a table, LaBruzza told us, “Don’t go anywhere, especially if it’s your first time here.” Seated shortly thereafter, we were pleased when a waiter brought bread and salad almost immediately.

The Spaghettini, topped with a rich and savory homemade sauce and mild, hearty, freshly-made meatballs, surpassed our craving for Italian. It came to the table piping-hot and more quickly than expected, given the full house. The servings come in generous portions, so prepare for leftovers.

Their Eggplant Parmesan, a notoriously tricky dish to prepare — excellent. Savory and tender, covered in flaky breadcrumbs — every delicious bite, we relished.

Authentically Italian in taste, their cappuccino comes highly recommended. The subtle taste of cinnamon flavored the bitter coffee to perfection. Sweet enough to enjoy, but not bogged down with sugar like most cappuccinos found today, this drink was perfect from beginning to end.

Given its very affordable pricing, an evening at LaBruzza’s would be a perfect date night for college students, or a casual dining experience for the sumptuously inclined. Overall, a great hole-in-the-wall to visit, no matter the occasion.

Overall: *****
Food: *****
Service: ****
Atmosphere: ****
Pricing: $$

This article appeared in the April 2011 print edition of The Raven Review.

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