Robert Reese found a great restaurant in our town Jacksonville.
Think about this- what would you do with a used, empty, train station? Some would tear it down, but thankfully that did not happen in Jacksonville.
"The original owner was an architect...and they bought the building and decided to try to make a restaurant out of it," said Co-owner, Jeff Weeks.
"It was actually pretty run down when they bought it, it was either condemned or about to be condemned, and they changed it or rebuilt it or whatever, and made it into a restaurant."
Weeks and his wife bought the business...
"I am the third owner of the restaurant," said Weeks.
Kept the name...
"It's always been Lanzerotti's..." said Weeks.
And built on a reputation for great food.
"My favorite is chicken picatta, which I eat fairly regularly, once or twice a week...And then our hand-cut filets, we're know for those too, I cut all the steaks myself, the filet's-we get the tenderloins," says executive chef Bill Wade.
"I came to Lonzerotti's expecting typical Italian food, and it turns out they serve something a little different," said customer, Kari Waters.
"What I've done here, is I've tried to adapt a menu with a Creole influence into an Italian theme...It's pasta, but it's not the traditional pasta with a tomato basil base or an alfredo sauce...this is one that's loaded with flavor," says Wade.
So what should I try?
"Why don't I cook you a pasta jambalaya, and a shrimp Creole?"
Sounds good, but the reality is...it tastes even better! Like the man said, layers of flavor and just the right about of heat! This Creole/Italian fusion thing is incredible.
One thing-you would expect a train station to have an occasional train pass by, and that does happen at Lonzerotti's.
"What I really have fond memories of is when my son, whenever I bring my son here, he loves the train tracks. And he loves to see the trains, and he loves to hear the whistles, and he loves to feel the vibrations whenever the trains go by," said Waters.
"You know when a train is coming, the windows rattle, it's a pretty big spectacle," said Weeks.
We weren't able to experience the passing of a train, but even train-free, Lonzerotti's is a place to remember.
Lonzerotti's executive chef Bill Wade prepares daily specials. Wednesday is Creole night, if you like the hot stuff!