Geraldi's is a lovely little Italian secret nestled at the corner of Center Street and University Avenue in Fayetteville AR.
It is an affordable, unassuming Chicago-style Mom and Pop tucked in the corner of an obscure strip center off the beaten track. It isn't a white gloves and linen kind of place. More like a seat at the family table when you drop by unexpectedly.
The menu is somewhat limited, but what they do they do deliciously well. Spaghetti, Lasagna, Calzone and excellent pizzas are all served with copious amounts of fresh toasted garlic bread. Bear in mind, however, that the pastas are all prepared in a traditional style - bathed in a meatless "momma just made it" marinara. You want sausage or meat? Order it included and wait while they cook it up fresh.
The garlic in the marinara is generally perfect and the hint of basil is always well-balanced. I've heard-tell that their hand-tossed pizzas are just this side of heaven, but I've always gone for the pastas or Calzone with spicy Italian sausage.
Having visited several times, there has always been a certain freshness and adventure to the flavors - never the dull taste of pre-fab frozen sauces. And you can always ask what the chef is most proud of today - odds are he will come out and tell you what and why.
The wine list is short but excellent, including several Arkansas native labels. Post Familie and Wiedekehr reds, whites and rose's are usually available.
Service can be "spotty" if you are in an American hurry - but even then, patience is a virtue. If ever you have enjoyed an Italian family dinner, the anticipation of the wait as the bowl comes your way adds to the experience. Ya want a quick Big Mac? Go get a quick Big Mac. Otherwise - work on that beautiful basket of fresh toasted garlic bread.
For lunch, you can get out at about ten bucks a head. Lasagna with sausage and a glass of Post Familie red will ring up at about $15.
If you are out to impress your date at a "dinner with the Don", Geraldi's ain't the place. But for a hearty meal at the family table - go to Geraldi's.
Table for one, please - at the back.