Let's Eat

. January 24, 2013.

Mangiamo Italian Grill
105 West Michigan Ave
Sun-Mon 11am-10pm
Tues-Sat 11am – midnight

As a resident of Saline, I can say that our city has anxiously awaited a new restaurant downtown. It’s not that downtown is without restaurants, but when the family-
friendly Kelly’s/Saline Café closed its doors over five years ago, Saline lost one of its favorite family go-to spots.

Thus, it was not surprising to find a large crowd waiting to eat at Mangiamo Italian Grill, the new restaurant occupying the spot vacated by Kelly’s/Saline Café. Opened in March, Mangiamo’s is owned and operated by members of the Toarmina family, who also run Saline’s popular ice cream shops, Mickey’s Dairy Twist and Mickey’s Downtown.

Italian atmosphere

Mangiamo oozes Italian atmosphere, from the wine bottles and grapevines displayed at the entrance to the huge brick pizza oven prominently placed in the center of the restaurant. Fanning out from the oven are several different dining rooms and the bar area. My family of four ended up sitting in the bar area, which was dimly lit and buzzing from the sound of diners and TVs.

Dinner Toarmina style

The menu boasts salads, baked subs, burgers and entrées such as Chicken Marsala and Baked Lasagna. Entrées come with soup or salad and bread. Chicago-style pizza, with a full pound of cheese and up to five toppings, is available as well as numerous hand-tossed Toarmina style pizzas. I asked our server what made a pizza Toarmina style? Her reply was that it’s simply the name of the owners.

Kids can choose from spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, chicken tenders, or a hamburger for $4.99 including a drink. My seven-year-old son wanted pizza. Since pizza was not offered in a kids’ size, we got him a small hand-tossed half cheese, half pepperoni. My four-year-old daughter selected mac and cheese.

Delectable entrées

The adult version of mac and cheese sounded intriguing to me—Gouda maca cheeza. It included cavatappi noodles tossed in mozzarella, provolone and smoked Gouda sprinkled with applewood bacon. “Yes, please!” My husband, after considering the lasagna, decided on the chicken Parmesan. We both selected a dinner salad over soup.

After ordering we were served warm bread, lightly seasoned and doughy, a seeming variation of the dough used to make the pizza crust. Our dinner salads were fresh and bright.
The pizza came out first and looked authentic, not mass-produced. The cheese bubbled and the thin crust was lightly charred.

“Holy smokes!” exclaimed my husband, as a trail of gooey cheese climbed down from the slice he lifted to serve our son. “How would you describe it?” I asked my son as he devoured his pizza.

“Uh, incredible.”

Perfecting prepared

The al dente noodles of my Gouda maca cheeza swam in copious amounts of cheese. It was rich, yummy and enough for two people. The smokiness of the Gouda was detectable in every bite. In contrast to my gourmet macaroni and cheese, my daughter’s came straight from a blue box. However, that’s the kind that kids like to eat and my four-year-old was happy.

“This chicken Parmesan is breaded perfectly,” stated my husband. “These people know what they are doing.” That’s high praise from the son of an Italian woman.

We enjoyed our food and seemed to be taking half of it home with us for later. This did not stop us from trying the house-made chocolate cake for dessert. Our gigantic piece was light but decadent and enough for four—or ten!

Mangiamo means “Let’s eat” in Italian. With its generous servings of tasty dishes, this is one restaurant that inspires you to live up to its name.

To avoid wait Try lunchtime, weekdays, or else go early on Fridays and Saturdays. You can also call in orders to go.
Noise level high
Bathroom amenities located on both sides of the restaurant; men’s and women’s have changing stations
High chairs Yes
Got milk Yes
Kids’ menu Yes
Anything healthy for kids Spaghetti may be the healthiest choice.
Food allergy concerns Nuts are present in some dishes and ice creams. The restaurant was unable to guarantee whether ingredients from outside sources were nut-free. As always, call ahead with specific questions.

Katy M. Clark is a freelance writer from Saline.