Instead of a visit to the local pizza joint, a trip to Ranalli's Up North feels more like an adventure to a shabby-chic antique shop run by nomadic bohemians displaying the worldly (and not so worldly) goods picked up on their travels. Bedecked in schizophrenic decor, the dining room sits like a treasure trove, waiting for hungry souls to scavenge its lost gems.
If you can overcome the hodgepodge of eclectic posters (Mariah Carey to James Dean), artwork (impressive works to garage sale-style), and knick-knacks (Chinese checkers, candles, maps), the extensive menu choices just might boggle your mind. Of course, there's Chicago pizza (pan-style, double-decker or stuffed) with a smorgasbord of topping options and cheese varieties to satisfy the most high-maintenance of pie-eaters. A large, which serves three to four people, costs around $15, depending on how you accessorize it.
But if pizza doesn't suit your appetite, Ranalli's cooks up an interesting assortment of regional tastes. Whether you're hankering for a Mediterranean steak salad, jumbo Louisiana fried shrimp, enchiladas or chicken kabobs, you'll find something that suits your tastes. Meals average about $10.
However, as mentioned, the real treat of Ranalli's comes with sitting down in the family-room like dining area. No table and chair set matches (choose from cozy arm chairs to furniture that resembles school bus seats), and diners can entertain themselves with Trivial Pursuit cards, or study the extensive Matchbox cars in the display case.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Paige Gray