A longstanding Monmouth tradition
February 7, 2014
Kelsi Ford / The Courier - A kitchen worker rolls out dough as fresh pizzas wait to be taken to customers at the Italian Village in downtown Monmouth.
The Italian Village, located on West First Ave. across from the Wells Fargo Bank, has been providing delicious pizza and Italian food to Monmouth citizens and students for generations. And for good reason too. Originally from Macomb, Italian Village proprietor “Pizza” Lou Pavlic brought his handmade dough recipe to the town of the Scots some 40 years ago.
And not much, it seems, has changed. As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Upon entering the restaurant, the visitor is met with a ‘70s and ‘80s style arcade corner – with, of course, a pinball machine – and situated on the back right wall is a working jukebox. A large vintage photograph of Wallace Hall adorns the wall opposite the jukebox, only one the Italian Village’s shout-outs to the Fighting Scots – nestled in the corner of the menu sits Monmouth’s old mascot, a threatening, pirate-esque Scot. The spacious dining room, with only a counter separating the pizza being made and the people waiting to eat it makes for an excellently personal yet unencumbering ambiance. The service is on par with most restaurants in town—since most restaurants in town boast a friendly and amiable waiting staff. Perhaps that only downfall to restaurant is the potential hour long wait if you order your pizza upon arrival. If you’re in a hurry, the restaurant recommends you order ahead. The Italian Village allows carry-out or delivery with a surcharge of a dollar.
Of course, the wait is worth it, especially for the sausage pizza. Easily the most mouth-watering pizza in town, the Italian Village’s sausage is “ground up like sloppy Joes” and perfectly complements the generous layer of cheese better than meatballs with spaghetti noodles. Speaking of the American-Italian classic, the Italian Village also boasts the pasta in half-serving and full-servings. To top it all off, the Italian Village doesn’t just have Italian food coming out of their kitchen. They also have an array of deli sandwiches. Of note is the “Poor Boy,” a heaping combination of ham, salami, cheese, lettuce and tomato that would make even Tony Soprano’s mouth water. The sandwiches are made quickly and the cost of the “poor boy” is similar to Subway’s BMT.
One doesn’t get the full Italian Village experience, however, if the cheesy-garlic bread is skipped. Appetizer or companion to any meal, the Italian Village’s cheesy-garlic bread looks similar to basic cheesy-garlic bread. But looks can be deceiving as the first bite into the bread succulently combines a crisp crust with a supple, fluffy interior. The mixture works perfectly because the crust doesn’t crumble, as some crispy bread is inclined to do. The Italian Village’s own marina sauce is served with the bread for no extra charge.
I’m ashamed to say that in four years of living in Monmouth, I have only frequented the Italian Village once. With prices not any more demanding than a blow-off class (a medium-sized sausage pizza runs $10.83), this restaurant should be frequented at bi-weekly or just as much as one goes to a blow-off class.
The Italian Village is open from 5-10 p.m. on weekdays and 5-11 p.m. on weekends. It is important to note that they only accept cash. The Italian Village is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.