You know The Salt Project loves good grub - but did you know we like to feature only local restaurants? Like - no big chains that every city has - because, how BORING is that? Sure, we run to the fast food places like everyone else, but when we really want to eat - when we really want some SOUL FOOD - we go to the locals...
..like Rovali's Ristorante Italiano in Ogden on Historic 25th Street. Let's talk about why Rovali's is the poster child for eating local.
1. The History
Rovali's is in a historic building that's haunted. Straight up.
2. The Drinks
Now, I'm not a coffee person, but apparently if I was, I would be raving all about their Rovali’s Cafe Cannoli. Expresso and Cannoli filling - it sounds so amazing (I thought you needed to know). I'm normally a water kind of girl (water with no ice to be exact, or hot water), but I went away from my norm and chose the Lavendar Lemonade. (They grow the lavender in their home garden!) Stephanie and Brittney chose the Hot Chocolate. Rovali's also has a crazy expresso bar, beers on tap, wine (hand picked by owner, Alex), Italian sodas and more. There are ten pages of all the drinks on their website!
3. The Food & Desserts
We go for the food right? I mean, that's why you stepped out the door in the first place. The last few times I've been out with my husband, we've struck out. We hit a few local hot spots on our road trip and everything was terrible. I'm all about leftovers, and when I'm not willing to take the food home, you know something was wrong.
At Rovali's, I literally was licking the plate by the end.
We started out with some Fried Ravioli. The outside was crusted with something divine while the inside was filled with a tender, flavorful meat. Their sauce was sooo good. I had actually made a pot of spaghetti that morning and felt slightly guilty that my husband and kids had to eat my sauce when I was enjoying Rovali's Sauce. (Rumor has it that they are going to start selling sauces in local stores soon!)
You guys, seriously, so good.
I got the Eggplant Parmesan, because, YUM. I was told that it would be the BEST Eggplant Parmesan I'd ever have by Alex (the owner). Period. It truly was the best Eggplant Parmesan I've ever had.
Brittney asked Alex for his suggestion and ordred the Pesto Pasta with chicken and mushrooms.
Stephanie was all traditional and chose the 3 Cheese Lasagna with Vegetable Sauce, but with a Giant Mama's Meatball on the side.
We quickly shared bites of each meal. Each were delicious. No joke. The pesto was just right, not too oily or strong - fresh and delicious. The Lasagna was layers and layers of goodness, and the Eggplant Parmesan was crusted perfectly with mushrooms and sauce. Not surprisingly, each of us decided that the dishes we each ordered were the best. (Also, I did take home leftovers - and honestly - it was even more tasty. I'm a firm believer that everything is always better the next day and cold! Sadly, I only had a few bites left...)
The Desserts. Oh man, don't get me started on the desserts. I chose the Chocolate Chip Mint Cake, Stephanie had the Eclair Pie, and Brittney had the Cannoli. Each had their own unique taste. I usually eat the cake and scrape off the frosting, but... here is where I decided licking the plate was very important. None were too sweet or soggy. Each was bliss.
4. The People
One of the other reasons we love to eat local is because of The People. Alex (pictured above) is the owner and truly is a people lover. Alex was born and raised in Ogden. His family was raised on 25th street (back when it wasn't such a good place.) Alex found it ironic that he has not so fond memories of 25th street, but then he opened up Rovali's on the same street as his father's home. Rovali's is a family business. His wife waited on tables, his daughter is the general manager, his other daughter is the baker, his two son-in-laws are in the kitchen and his 7 year old grandson sometimes waits on tables. I mean, talk about a family business!
While we chatted through dinner, four different customers walked by, tapped him on the shoulder and said "Great as always!" or "This is my friend from Florida, I had to bring her." One of the guys who said hello has been a regular for 10 years. That alone is probably the best thing you could ever see as a customer. You can tell Alex knew each of his customers and treats them as family.
I worked as a waitress in high school and college and I saw first hand how strong customer loyalty can be. One time, I dropped a whole plate of sweet and sour pork on my customers new leather purse. She still came back multiple times after and we even laughed about it.
(just a tip, Cannoli's must be eaten with your hands. Don't attempt to use a fork, you'll regret it.
5. The Experience
How many of you have a restaurant you go to because you LOVE the whole experience? The food, the family, the desserts, the music, the twinkling light hanging over your head, the perfect night of magic? Rovali's is situated on Historic 25th Street in Ogden, one of THE most charming streets in Utah. They have the big store windows on the front and the big patio with lights twinkling in the back.
They also host local singers and events. Their Poe Nights, that they host yearly, sell out every year. (It's already sold out. I know, we are bummed too.) They also have candlelit dinners with local artists at Christmas. If you guys have never been to a restaurant that has live music, you really need to add it to your bucket list. While there wasn't live music the night we went, they did have a KILLER playlist going that night. Alex chooses his artists very carefully. I could just imagine a live band playing in the background on the outside patio.
They'll also be hosting a Frank Sinatra Night, December 12th. So mark your calendars and buy your tickets early!
Thanks to Rovali's for the Girls Night Out! We'll be back.
We want you to go and meet Alex and take in the whole Rovali's experience. We want to hear about it too! Let us know if you think it was just as amazing as we did. Don't have a sitter? Don't worry, THEY LOVE KIDS. Contest ends Saturday October 10th at Midnight.
To enter for a chance to win a $25 Gift Card, leave a comment below about your favorite Italian dish!
Extra entries on our Instagram.
This looks delicious! I need a night out!!!
You have described Rovali's perfectly! They do make an eggplant parmesan to site for, always treat us like family, have a great ambiance, and terrific live entertainment... Well worth a try if you haven't been there yet!
I love discovering good local restaurants! They are seriously the best! Basically I'm a sucker for anything with a good pesto sauce. Or Bruschetta! Mmmm.