Restaurant Review: The Italian Inn in Fort Worth, Texas

The Italian Inn has been a unique restaurant to dine in since its opening in 1967.  Located in the shopping center on Camp Bowie, the restaurant has a deceptive entrance.  It doesn’t appear to be interesting at all.  Entering through large, double wooden doors with graffiti covering them might make you think twice about your decision to eat here.  However, you are about to embark on a unique journey of Italian food, singing wait staff, live piano music, and the chance to literally write on the wall.  This review of the Italian Inn is the result of many pleasant, special dining experiences I have enjoyed over the years in this celebrated restaurant.

Going through those large doors you emerge into another, quite unexpected (but only if you haven’t been there before!) restaurant world.  The atmosphere is like nothing else you will find in Fort Worth.  In dim and relaxing lighting, you are immediately greeted with a staircase, as the restaurant is located in a basement, one full floor underground.  The staircase, stairs, and walls are covered with graffiti.  Everyone who dines here is allowed to write their name, a favorite saying, or anything they want, anywhere they want in the building.  As the Italian Inn has been open for over forty years, there is quite a bit scribbled on the walls.  You may see a line on the wall that states “Mary and John, First Date, 9/12/96” and pause to wonder if Mary and John spent many anniversaries in celebration at the Italian Inn, checking on their message.  This is an excellent place for a first date in Fort Worth!

After descending the stairs, you are immediately greeted with a cheerful host who will show you to your seat.  You can eat a table, or in a private booth.  The walls are lined with many wooden booths, complete with double doors so that you may dine in complete privacy, out of sight of other diners.  The booths are covered inside and out with signatures of past guests.  Each booth also has its own wall lamp, so lighting is not an issue.  You will be able to see the menu inside the booth.

The menu is simple, easy to understand Italian food.  Appetizers include Fried Calamari, Stuffed Mushrooms, and Shrimp Scampi.  Dinner choices include selections of chicken, pasta, veal and steak.  Your dinner will include a trip to the salad bar, where you have a choice of salad, pasta salad, and two rotating soups.  The soup choices tend to be basic, normally including something like Vegetable or Chicken Noodle.   A children’s menu is also available.  If you have selected a booth, after ordering your appetizer and drinks, your wait person will close the doors to your booth.  Each time you are checked on, or food is being delivered you will hear a quiet knock.  The tables in the main area of the restaurant tend to be seated with families or large parties, while the booths tend to be seated with couples.

The Italian Inn is the home of singing waiters in Fort Worth, almost a lost art that you can still enjoy here.  During your meal, actual wait staff will play the piano and serenade you as you eat.  Everyone working at the Italian Inn is multi talented.  They must be able to wait tables, and they must be musically inclined.  If you are looking for a unique, awesome, private place to take have a first date in Fort Worth, Italian Inn fits the bill.

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