Buca di Beppo: Let kids eat spaghetti and get whacky

Let kids eat spaghetti, get whacky

Buca di Beppo: Let kids eat spaghetti and get whackyIn the spirit of family gatherings over the holidays, our family-friendly restaurant pick for December is Buca di Beppo. Sure it’s a chain restaurant – with more than 100 locations worldwide – but our kids love it, and we can’t resist the smile-inducing decor.

What’s the story?

Buca di Beppo is an American restaurant chain that was founded in 1993 in the basement of a Minneapolis apartment building. Its name means “Joe’s basement.”

How’s it Italian?

Buca di Beppo: Let kids eat spaghetti and get whackyTo encourage sharing, plates of pasta, pizza, salads and breads are served family style, making the dining experience more of a social engagement.

It’s not a place to eat alone, unless you like lots of leftovers.

You’re also likely to hear the music of Frank Sinatra, whose parents were Italian immigrants.

What’s with the decor?

The chain is known for its amusing, vintage photographs plastered closely together on the walls.

During our last visit, I spied portraits of Sophia Loren, Luciano Pavarotti, Joe DiMaggio and a nun wiping a baby’s bottom.

The maze-like layout also adds to the chaotic feel, making it hard to find the bathroom, which is plastered in even more amusing pics.

For large parties, reserve the Pope table – it’s big, round and has a bust of the Pope as its centerpiece.

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Biggest complaints

I’ll be the first to admit that I can’t cook, but when I do, it’s usually spaghetti. So the idea of going out for dinner to eat spaghetti isn’t usually my first choice. That said, our kids like spaghetti. (And nobody wants to share a big plate of eggplant parmigiana with me.) But the idea of spending $27 for a large plate of spaghetti with marinara sauce is a bit much. Capeesh?

But if you want to save money, join Buca’s eClub to receive emails and occasional $10 coupons, which will at least buy you another glass of chianti.

Why do we keep going back?

We go for our kids. They like the food and they get to be as loud and goofy as they want, because other kids and adults are acting the same way.

Also, the food is pretty good. They’ve got pasta, pizza, salad, fresh garlic bread and yummy cannoli and tiramisu for dessert. And, there are always leftovers.

There are two Columbus-area locations – in downtown Columbus and Worthington. Our favorite is in the Arena District at 343 N. Front St., Columbus. For more information, visit www.bucadibeppo.com.

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