A popular complaint among Wittenberg students is the lack of unique and independently owned restaurants in the Springfield area. Sure, we have the CDR and Post 95, but what happens when we inevitably get bored of eating at the same places, every single day?
At first glance, one might think of Springfield as a city of chain restaurants filled with staples like Applebees, Olive Garden, and Buffalo Wild Wings, which leaves us with no other options but to belly-up to these culinary giants and eat their overpriced, under-tasty food. In reality, Springfield is home to several hidden gems that will make you reconsider the nature of the town.
One of these gems is Linardo’s Villa, located at 2230 E. Main Street. According to the restaurant’s website, it is a “family owned and operated full service restaurant that has been serving the Springfield community since 1971.” The restaurant specializes in Mediterranean cuisine with a focus on Greek and Italian dishes.
Upon entering Linardo’s, one can feel the combination of ancient Greece and a Tuscan villa in every room. Symbols of both cultures can be seen throughout the establishment. Although the building does not look spacious from the road, once inside, one gets a true glimpse of how large this building is with a dining room, a banquet hall, and a full bar all available for customers to enjoy.
As far as food goes, their selection of appetizers is vast and accessible for all types of palates. I sampled the gyro, feta, and olives. Their gyro, or pieces of lamb meat, was served as several slices of half an inch thick of meat accompanied with larger-than-expected slices of feta cheese. It also came with an adequate amount of pitted black olives and tzatziki, or cucumber sauce. This traditional gyro without the pita was deliciously prepared as a “combine it yourself” type of appetizer.
Next up was a traditional Greek salad. What appeared to be a fairly plain and ordinary salad was actually a salad mixed with ingredients not present in a Greek salad one might purchase at a local chain restaurant. It included a large slice of feta cheese in the middle surrounded by mixed greens, a slice of fresh beats, and an anchovy. Although this sounds like an odd combination, the mixture of salty, sweet, and cheesy made this salad one to remember fondly.
The list of house specialties at Linardo’s definitely helps them express their admiration for the uniqueness of Mediterranean cuisine. I decided to go with one of my favorite meals: sautéed frog legs. For those who have never tried this delicious meal, frog legs can be described as a more tender and rich version of grilled chicken. However, the breading on my frog legs took away a little of the richness and made the meal seem more watery. Aside from the breading, the amount of meat on every leg was more than expected, and the mixture of herbs the legs were cooked in made for an overall enjoyable meal.
The prices at Linardo’s are reasonable for the amount of food you receive, and the service from the wait staff was pleasant and helpful. The atmosphere was a little uncomfortable as it is not an extremely crowded establishment and the dining area was extremely quiet, but the exotic nature of the food provided enough excitement to make up for it. Overall, the experience was a good one, and I was pleasantly surprised at this authentic Mediterranean restaurant right here in Springfield, Ohio.