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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    A classic hole in the wall

    Liam Foley/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

FioRitos is an italian restaurant on Grant between Tucson and Country Club.
    Liam Foley/ Arizona Daily Wildcat FioRito’s is an italian restaurant on Grant between Tucson and Country Club.

    The small, red building sits crammed between Grant Road shops. A worn out drive-thru distracts passersby like a stain on your shirt. The windows facing the road are decorated with solid green awnings, but the front door is missing. The restaurant looks like it’s draped with an Italian flag.

    Light from the kitchen spills into the dimly lit parking lot out back. The aroma of parmesan and homemade marinara has a magnetic pull towards the plain windowless door, hidden from the untrained eye, that seems to be the only way in.

    It’s a strange set up for fine Italian cuisine, but behind the back door entrance lies a haven for romantics and pasta lovers alike.

    For more than 25 years, Fio Rito’s has mastered basic Italian dishes of spaghetti, ravioli, ziti and lasagna, but it’s the hole-in-the-wall atmosphere that separates it from the Olive Garden.

    The differencebetween the dingy outside appearance to the candle lit interior is drastic. Large paintings hang from the walls of the simple square room featuring a classy bar. It’s quiet and cozy, great for conversation and relaxation.

    The menu is pricey. Entrees range from $11 cheese ravioli to $27 Italian-style New York strip steak. The plain bread and boring salad doesn’t earn any bragging rights to kick off the meal, but the rest of the night exceeds expectations.

    Fio Rito’s puts an intriguing twist on fried calamari ($11.50), adding hot peppers, olives, tomatoes, garlic, and parmesan cheese to a menu tradition. The flavors blend to perfection without overpowering the crispy squid.

    For the main course, the baked ziti hits the table piping hot. Smothered in gooey ricotta and mozzarella and drenched in authentic marinara, it’s a dish to satisfy a huge appetite.

    Other menu highlights include eggplant parmigiana ($13.50), penne with Italian sausage ($15) and chicken marsala ($17.50).

    Fio Rito’s also has a knack for pizza. Their special pie is topped with sausage, onions, mushrooms, green peppers, pepperoni, mozzarella and provolone (small $13.50, extra large $22.75).

    The drive-thru is in operation and carry-out orders are encouraged, but you can’t get a real taste without dining in and discovering the Tucson gem hidden behind a shady back door. It’s the ideal place to splurge on a romantic date or escape the hustle and bustle outside for an hour or two.

    Fio Rito’s

    Italian Restaurant

    2702 east grant road

    325-6913

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