CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. — There is no shortage of incredible restaurants in West Michigan. But with so many options, how do you choose where to indulge? I – Riley, a 13 ON YOUR SIDE digital producer – have set out to find the tastiest spots in the area and am documenting my journey in a now on-air series called 13 Eats.
13 Eats is all about highlighting the best restaurants in the West Michigan area. This week, I’m headed to the place you all at home voted as your favorite restaurant in Cedar Springs – Nonno’s Homestyle Italian and Pizzeria.
Owned by a husband-and-wife based in Cedar Springs, Nonno’s Homestyle Italian offers everything from pasta and pizza to burritos and steak dinners. Upon my first visit, it became obvious the restaurant is a beloved pillar of the Cedar Springs community, with crowds packing in on a Wednesday just after they opened to get a taste of Nonno’s delicious Italian cuisine.
Co-owner Roberto LaFranca tells me Nonno’s borrows their name from the Italian word for grandfather, representing the tried-and-true Sicilian recipes passed down from generation to generation that make up their menu. Hope you’re hungry – let’s dive in.
We started with the Baked Meatballs ($8.00), which included four meatballs coated in their homemade meat sauce and topped with baked mozzarella cheese. Each forkful had a perfect mix of flavors: savory, tender spiced meat with sweet tomato sauce, topped with their creamy baked cheese that made mouthwateringly long strings when you pulled your silverware away from it. Truly, it was an excellent dish for a great price.
Next came a profusion of their most popular main courses, starting with their Lasagna ($13.00), made with layers of homemade pasta, mozzarella cheese and their masterful meat sauce. The dish piled high on my plate, tender noodles sandwiched between endless layers of cheese and meat sauce. Such a classic, it would make a perfect meal for a hungry dinner guest.
A large bowl of Fettuccine Alfredo with Shrimp ($14.50) arrived next. The steam wafting from the dish smelled like the most decadent seafood and rich alfredo goodness. Their house-made sauce is absolutely luxurious, with a silky butter taste and the perfect little hint of garlic. Topping the pasta with a bite of their tender shrimp is absolutely the right move in my book.
Next came the Tortellini with Rosa Sauce ($13.00). The cheese-filled tortellini were buttery soft on the inside, making it a perfect light pasta for a lunchtime meal. The Rosa sauce is a shining star among all Nonno’s other winners – creamy, but with a sweet and savory tomato flavor, truly it was the best of both worlds.
Finally, a classic Chicken Parmesan ($16.00) arrived. The dish consisted of a thin chicken breast fried and topped with melting cheese and a thick layer of marinara next to a bed of homemade spaghetti. The chicken was the perfect size for a forkful of meat and pasta, with a crunchy fried coating on the outside made tender with the hearty tomato sauce and cheese on top. A true masterpiece for a great price, this is a dish I’ll be ordering every time my Italian craving strikes (always).
When you walk into Nonno’s, the intoxicating smell of freshly baked bread and bubbling mozzarella cheese fills the air. You can see directly into the kitchen, where workers are ladling steaming marinara on a variety of Italian dishes, making you eager for the meal to come.
The walls of their large dining room are lined with a mix of metal and dark wood pallets, and hanging Edison bulbs swoop overhead, giving the room the feel of a cozy outdoor patio that makes you want to sit and stay a while. The interior perfectly matches everything you can expect from their food – comfort-filled, homestyle goodness.
For how much people love the place, I was not expecting it to be located next to a Verizon store and a Tractor Supply Co. But right when you walk in the front doors of that unassuming Cedar Springs strip mall, you’re hit with the overwhelming sense of familiarity. You’ll see a quote painted on their brick accent wall, “At our table, you are always family.”
In every way, the restaurant has achieved this ambiance – the friendly staff, the cozy interior and the delectable food all make you feel like you're sitting at family dinner passing around dishes perfected over generations. Great prices, great people and great food; Nonno's Homestyle Italian and Pizzeria is everything you need it to be and more. This place feels like a hidden gem that I'm lucky to have discovered.
Be sure to keep up with my 13 Eats journey to see where I’ll go next week!
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