· Open since: Aug. 6, 2008

· Location: Italia Cafe is off Clayton Street in Lawrenceville.

· Hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. weekdays, 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 5 to 11 p.m. Fridays, 5 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 5 to 10 p.m. Sundays

· Owner: Lawrenceville resident Giorgio Esperati, who was born in Rome, Italy

· Atmosphere: The building that houses Italia Cafe was previously a Kentucky Fried Chicken, a Chinese restaurant and, most recently, a Mexican restaurant. After a total interior overhaul, the restaurant boasts porcelain floor tiles from Italy and stonework made with Georgia stone. Italia Cafe offers regular and high-top table seating inside and a spacious patio area with umbrella covered tables and chairs for guests who want to enjoy their meals outdoors.

· Menu: Italia Cafe offers authentic Italian dishes with two exceptions: "Americanized" versions of chicken alfredo and spaghetti with meatballs, according to manager Marcus Schwab, who said meatballs aren't served with spaghetti in Italy.

Italia Cafe's menu features fresh and baked pastas, pizzas and calzones, house specialties, seafood, salads and appetizers. Customer favorites include spaghetti ai frutti di mare - spaghetti with shrimp, mussels, calamari and squid with fresh tomato chunks - and the house special tagliata toscana - ribeye steak with arugula and shaved parmesan served with the vegetable of the day, a potato or green salad.

Pizza lovers can create their own pies using a combination of fresh ingredients such as mushrooms, bacon, onions, bell peppers, black olives, pepperoni, ham and various cheeses.

Italia Cafe serves beer and wine.

· Things you might not know: Every six weeks, Italia Cafe offers free wine tastings where guests can sample four Italian red wines and four white wines. The next tasting will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. July 17. The restaurant hosts live music beginning at 5 p.m. every Sunday.

If you have a restaurant you would like to see featured in The Dish, call Staff Writer Deanna Allen at 770-963-9205 ext. 1321 or e-mail deanna.allen@gwinnettdailypost.com.