THE DISH: Piazza Popolo


Piazza Popolo

Piazza Popolo

--1611 Satellite Blvd., Suite 17, Duluth


-- 770-497-4449

-- Open since: January

-- Location: Piazza Popolo is at the intersection of Satellite Boulevard and Old Peachtree Road in between Starbucks and Five Guys.

-- Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays

-- Owner: Frank Tripoli

-- Atmosphere: The restaurant's entrance naturally divides the space into two rooms with a host stand. To the left is an area for large parties and the right opens up to the main dining room.

The walls are decorated with reminders of Italy and hefty caricature chefs. The short list of beers and wines are on display on a small table near the entrance way to the main room. There is a television mounted on a wall for those who like to watch the tube and eat at the same time.

Piazza Popolo likes the no-muss-no-fuss approach. They want their guests to feel comfortable to come here for a fast lunch or after a long day of work with the kids.

"We don't try to make it fancy, we try for more casual," Tripoli said. "You don't have to dress up to come here and you still get a nice dish."

-- Menu: The menu covers all Italian food -- antipasto to zuppa. Tripoli and his crew make a lot from scratch, including the marinara sauce and ravioli. None of the other pastas are made fresh in the kitchen -- it would take up too much time to prepare each day.

Tripoli's recipes are a mixed collection from members of his family, including is nonna (grandmother). He learned these recipes while growing up watching his family prepare meals. Other recipes, like the pizzas, he learned while living in New York City.

"I learned how to make the thin crust pizza," he said. "A lot of people who used to live in Jersey come here (Piazza Popolo) to eat the pizza."

If you save room for dessert, order the cannoli. Tripoli makes the sweet, creamy filling and orders the shells from a baker in New York City.

"We would make the shells here, but we don't sell enough cannolis for large production," he said.

They have gluten-free options for the pasta and pizza because the owner also has gluten allergies.

"I wouldn't be able to eat here without the gluten-free menu," Tripoli said.

-- Things you might not know: Tripoli was born and raised in Rome, Italy. He moved to the U.S. in 2000.