Little Italy, Big Yum

Joe's Italian
Joe's Italian, Alabaster, Alabama
When people think of Alabama, they think of barbecue, grits, okra, and maybe even collard greens.  None of which I would touch with a ten-foot pole.  Most people, when they travel through this state wouldn’t think they’d find this little gem of a restaurant, family owned, and operated, very Italian restaurant.  Authentic Italian.  Yes…here in Alabaster, Alabama.

I came to know about Joe’s Italian thanks to a good friend of mine who suggested it when I was home for the holidays one year.  He and his family went there for dinner with friends as they were passing through and they fell in love with the food.  I know why.  Family recipes, family operated, family oriented, good, old-fashioned authentic Italian food.  This isn’t Olive Garden or those chain Italian places.  No…this is the real deal.  This is the food that Giuseppe and Elvira Bertolone (Joe & Mamma) served when they opened up their first restaurant in California.  It’s a family tradition…and so is their food.

The menu is authentic Italian.  Pastas of every walk and flavor, paninis, soups, sandwiches, and yes…pizza!  And because it’s Italian, plenty of options for a vegetarian.  Always a plus!

Mamma's Cannoli
Mamma's Cannoli at Joe's Italian, Alabaster, Alabama

Every other time I visited, I have gotten the eggplant parmesan.  But I went for something different this time.  The Spaghetti Aglio, Olio and Peperonicino (which I ordered with mushrooms and broccoli) sounded like spicy Italian goodness.  I opted for the salad, rather than the soup, but my roommate ordered their tomato basil soup with her Tortellini al Pomodoro and I sampled it…delicious!  Their salad, crisp and fresh!

Portions are big so come with a big, hearty Italian appetite.  Savor the flavors, the atmosphere, the way the staff really wants to get to know you.  And when you fill up on their delicious food, find a little more room for one of Mamma’s famous desserts.  Keeping with tradition, we tried the cannoli…and it was different.  Not as good as the one I had back home, but it was good.  The prize however came on Mamma’s Sampler, a plate full of pieces of her homemade cakes.  The Strawberry Cake is her most famous and the most popular for a reason.  It was the most amazing cake I have ever had, and since I’m not big on cakes, that’s saying something.  I even had a second sampling of that one.

Mamma's Cake Sampler
Mamma's Cake Sampler at Joe's Italian, Alabaster, Alabama

Come hungry, leave full.  That’s a good Italian motto.  Even better…it’s a good Italian restaurant run by good people who really want to give you a good time and serve you a little bit of their history through their delicious food.

It doesn’t get any better than that.  And I’ll be hard-pressed to find a better Italian restaurant anywhere where the food and desserts can leave you as full and satisfied as the story and the people who operate, run, and serve you there.

A little bite of Italy with big taste in an unexpected location – Alabaster, Alabama.  It’s worth the trip.

Spaghetti Aglio, Olio and Peperonicino
Spaghetti Aglio, Olio and Peperonicino (with mushrooms & broccoli) at Joe's Italian, Alabaster, Alabama

One Reply to “Little Italy, Big Yum”

  1. Ok, grits aren’t *that* bad. Although, I do prefer cheese grits. =)

    Man, I miss Florentine Pastry back in Utica. THAT is some awesome cannoli. And rum babas, and almond cookies, and sfogliatelle, and chocolate pusties, and…

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