HomeSportsSalvino's combines Italian restaurant with sports bar

Salvino’s combines Italian restaurant with sports bar

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PLAINWELL, MI — The ambiance screams sports bar, with large-screen televisions lining the wall.

Much of the menu — lasagna, stromboli, ravioli, rigatoni, tiramisu — reflects Italian restaurant.

Don’t want Italian? Salvino’s Ristorante Sports Bar & Grille in Plainwell also has burgers, burritos and wraps.

“We have something for everyone,” said Ronnie Tolefree, general manager of the Salvino’s.

To be clear, there are actually two Salvino’s, founded and owned by Silvana Vitale and Salvatore Uccello.

The first restaurant opened about 20 years ago in Wayland and was originally named Uccello’s, not to be confused with the Uccello’s restaurant chain in metro Grand Rapids.

In 2015, Vitale and Uccello opened the Plainwell restaurant and named it Salvino’s Ristorante. Soon after, they made that the new name of the Wayland business, too.

The two establishments have the same menu and same general ambiance, although the Wayland restaurant includes a banquet room.

“We’re an Italian-American sports bar,” Tolefree said. “What I like to specialize in is customer service, guest relations with my team. I want people to feel very welcome to be here. I try to keep a fun environment, energetic. But I also strive for quality food and a beautiful, clean place, because obviously everybody eats with their eyes first. I try to create the ambiance for everyone to be happy.”

Dishes wait to be delivered at Salvino’s Ristorante in Plainwell, Mich. on Thursday, April 18, 2024.Devin Anderson-Torrez | MLive.com

While it’s an expansive menu, the emphasis is definitely on Italian fare — entrees include Italian-stuffed meatloaf ($15.99), Italian sausage and peppers ($17.99), Italian chicken cordon bleu ($21.99), chicken marsala ($18.99) and original Sicilian pizza ($15.99 for 9-inch size).

The most popular item on the menu, Tolefree said, are the Pizza Dunkers ($9.99). It’s an appetizer of fried balls of pizza dough, lightly dusted with spices and served with pizza sauce and cheese. For an extra $1, the balls are tossed in garlic parmesan cheese.

Salvino’s is also is known for its pizzas, Tolefree said. The pizza dough and sauce are made from scratch, he said, which makes for a “fluffy” hand-tossed crust and a sauce that’s both sweet and savory, with cheese in the sauce. The Salvino special pizza includes pepperoni, spicy capicola, ham, sausage and bacon on a crust dusted with garlic and Parmesan cheese. ($15.99 to $24.99, depending on size.)

There’s also a selection of flatbread pizzas for those preferring a crispy crust. Salvino’s has a stuffed pizza, too.

The chicken wings are another house specialty, Tolefree said.

“I will say, our wings can whip anybody, and you can put that right in the paper,” Tolefree said. “Our wings, you can put them head to head with anybody’s and we will win.”

What makes them so good?

“They’re bigger and it’s just how we prepare them,” Tolefree said. “How they’re cooked and seasoned. My team puts a lot of love in their food.”

Salvino’s offers 10 bone-in wings for $14.99 or boneless for $11.99. Sauce options include garlic parmesan, barbecue teriyaki, mild or hot buffalo and Asian ginger honey sriracha.

Vegetarians also have a number of options at Salvino’s, Tolefree said. In addition to vegetarian pizzas, the restaurant allows people to create their own pastas, picking a type of pasta (including a gluten-free option), choice of eight sauces (tomato, meat, sausage cream, seafood alfredo, tomato cream, pesto cream, alfredo and sweet bell pepper) and choice of add-ins (meatballs, sausage, salmon, shrimp, chicken and/or mushrooms).

The bell pepper sauce is a personal favorite, Tolefree said. “It’s made with yellow and orange bell peppers in a tomato cream sauce.”

Salvino’s Ristorante

A beer is poured in a chilled glass at Salvino’s Ristorante in Plainwell, Mich. on Thursday, April 18, 2024.Devin Anderson-Torrez | MLive.com

Keeping with the sports bar vibe, Salvino’s offers 40 beers on tap and an array of wines and craft cocktails.

On Mondays, Salvino’s offers half off most pasta entrees. Tuesdays, it’s two burritos for the price of one. Both specials are from 4 to 8 p.m., dine-in only.

On Sundays, it’s “children eat free” day — families can order a free entree off the children’s menu for every adult entree ordered. There also are drink specials most days of the week.

Salvino’s in Plainwell is located at 1290 M-89, in front of Walmart; phone is (269) 685-1649. The Wayland restaurant is located at 700 W. Superior St. and phone is (269) 792-6211.

Hours at both establishments are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays.

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