Luigi's Pasta House

By WEEK Reporter

February 17, 2011 Updated Feb 17, 2011 at 7:41 PM CDT

A restaurant in Canton has split-personalities. On one side of Ari's Place, you'll find an old school diner.

On the other side, fine dinning, Luigi's Pasta House.

On the square in downtown Canton is Luigi's Pasta House. Luigi's is adjacent to Ari's Place, which is a Chicago-style diner where you find home cooked grub. Ari's and Lugi's are really one in the same. Luigi's is a little more upscale. Ari's a little more small town café. Both are run by the cook, Ari Lleshi, who's a man on a mission when he's in the kitchen.

"We prepare everything here. And it is like you are racing against time. And I am in my own element back there because I know I am my own boss," said Ari Lleshi.

Doesn't matter where you sit. You get treated the same on either side of the wall. Chuck and Kathy Franklin are on a date in Luigi's place.

"He said I'll take you anywhere I want. Want to go to Peoria? No. That's an hour each way. It is just nice to be able to be close to home," said Kathy Franklin.

"It is just a nice quiet atmosphere. A little nicer than your average Mom and Pop place. Something a little more special," said customer Gene Stanko.

Photographer Doug Smith and I started with a pasta appetizer. The Chicken Di Gornio is panned seared chicken. Onion. Mushrooms. And a white wine mixed with heavy cream. Ari uses a heavy pasta noodle in place of a bow-tie pasta to make it unique.

Ari's steaks are hand cut. Doug had a ribeye. Tender to the touch and melt in his mouth good. I had the parmesan encrusted sirloin. Its pared with a fettucinni noodle topped with roasted garlic tomato cream sauce.

Finally, the gut busting dessert. Doug had chocolate lava cake. Its diet busting badness, in a very good way. I had blackberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream.

We'll start those spring diets another day.

Our bill with drinks, $44.43 plus tip. A fine meal for a real deal.

Ari's Place and Luigi's Pasta House seven days a week. The diner opens at seven am daily. Luigi's dining room opens at lunch. They're both on the east side of the Canton Square.

Ari's Place and Luigi's Pasta House
29 East Side Square
(309) 647-0526