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Italian restaurant offers authentic taste

Megan McFadden and Jessica Stoller | Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Have you been craving that home-cooked Italian flavor that is lacking in these parts? If so, look no further than the South Bend yellow pages – that’s what we did! After flipping through amusement devices, attorneys at law, bar supplies and baton twirling instructions, we came upon the restaurant section.

Jessica’s heart began to pitter-patter and Megan gasped. There were many choices. However, one ad in particular boasted “Homemade cooking just like Mamma used to make,” and we could search no longer. Cosimo and Susie’s A Bit of Italy, just off of McKinley, was in our dining destiny.

Since this first encounter, we have frequented Cosimo and Susie’s for many occasions, including birthday celebrations, romantic rendezvous and family get-togethers. Each time was a unique experience, far better than the last. From specialty lasagna Fridays to tortellini Tuesdays, Cosimo and Susie’s provides the perfect atmosphere for your dining delight.

One cannot remark on the atmosphere at Cosimo and Susie’s without first mentioning the area surrounding the tiny restaurant. Town and Country shopping center is an experience in and of itself – neon palm trees, Gwen Stefani blaring on a loudspeaker installed in the parking lot, the world’s largest piano warehouse and a karate dojo are among the few pleasures you’ll encounter on your visit. Once you enter the restaurant itself, however, the mood changes completely. For reasons unknown to everyone but Cosimo, the motif of the small, hometown restaurant has an Italian/film/religious flare. The restaurant is also very dark, but not in a scary way. Usually some sort of Italian music is playing in the background, but Cosimo and Susie showed their versatility by playing NPR for our entire first visit. In the end, the atmosphere receives three sporks.

The food at Cosimo and Susie’s is by far the best thing about the restaurant and Mishawaka, for that matter. Jessica generally orders the cheese ravioli, or the mostacolli al forno, while Megan usually feasts on the meat ravioli. If you decide to visit on a Friday or Saturday night, you are in for a saliva-inducing surprise! Cosimo and Susie only serve their amazing meat lasagna on Friday and Saturday nights, but it’s worth the wait. Little Cosimo in his cute chef’s hat makes the best marinara sauce this side of the Po River. It has an outstanding texture and seasoning to tickle even the most critical of tastebuds.

Not only is their pasta a divine experience, but all entrees come with a yummy house salad and toasted garlic bread, deeming them worthy of a record-setting six-spork rating. Can we rate higher than five sporks? Heck yes we can!

The service at Cosimo and Susie’s is generally pretty friendly, but sometimes a little slow. Chit-chatty regular customers and the wait staff sometimes cause short delays. Even Susie herself is a waitress at this fine establishment. With frequent visits, the restaurant becomes more homey and appealing. Occasion-ally, even Cosimo himself will grace your table with his presence. On our last visit, Cosimo was scolded for “talking with the ladies” after a visit to our table. The service receives four sporks.

Overall, Cosimo and Susie’s A Bit of Italy deserves a rating of four and one-third sporks. It’s the perfect restaurant for any occasion, and a great way to avoid the humdrum of the dining hall.

So load up your friends and save yourself a voyage through the yellow pages by dropping by Cosimo and Susie’s. And who knows, you might see South Bends finest food critics there … or us.

Megan “Mostacolli” McFadden and Jessica “Spaghetti” Stoller are students at Saint Mary’s College.Megan McFadden and Jessica Stoller can be contacted at [email protected] and [email protected] views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.