Italian cuisine remains one of the most revered and scrutinized foods out there. And with so many native Northerners now in the Tri-W area, we certainly have our share of self-described connoisseurs. Fortunately, Mario’s Italian Restaurant, founded by New York transplants John and Martha Fisichello aims to give them and everyone else a truly memorable and enjoyable dining experience.
Lifetime restaurant owners, the Fisichellos opened their first Charlotte-based Mario’s Pizza in 1986 and as of February 2015, relocated to the current Chestnut Arbor location at 2945 Matthews Weddington Road. Together with John’s sister Connie and her husband Craig, who’s assumed the role of head chef, they are proud to offer casual, delicious, and comfort Italian cuisine to their loyal and ever-growing customers.
Their sizeable building is split into two distinct restaurants – Mario’s Italian Restaurant, that caters towards families and John’s Place, a large bar that caters to diners 16 years of age and older. Both establishments offer the same, full menu, and both allow for a rentable banquet space that frequently caters to wedding rehearsals, baby showers, and corporate events. John’s Place has an indoor/outdoor patio space that can accommodate 100, and even includes corn hole and bocce ball to make for an especially lively party or just a fun evening out!
The traditional Italian menu offers a wide selection of brick oven and New York style pizzas, along with the always popular chicken parmesan, stromboli and calzones. And as of recently, they’ve stepped up their game to serve more high-end dishes like salmon, filet mignon and the fan favorite double bone pork chop! Furthermore, every Saturday, all-day, they prepare a prime rib that is, according Owner John, “THE best in Charlotte!”
Also, not to be forgotten is their Sunday brunch, offered as of the last two years, from 10am-2pm. Per usual, “everything is made from scratch, on the premises,” says John, “and it’s a best kept secret that there’s never a wait for brunch!”
In addition to diners getting to choose the experience they have, whether it be more family-friendly at Mario’s or date night at John’s, they also can take advantage of a call-ahead, drive-up window. Great for those with an army of kids in the back that want a really good slice of pizza, or equally desirable for those just wanting to have a nice meal to enjoy in the comforts of their own home, the drive-up window is always a popular feature!
Matthews resident Meaghan Nocella praises, “It’s sort of everyone’s go-to family restaurant. It’s in the neighborhood, warm, welcoming, and really good, authentic, Italian food! A lot of us are from up north and used to a good supply of Italian restaurants and this is reminiscent of that.”
With a staff that have largely been there for 10-15 years, loyalty and consistency is ingrained in the Mario’s culture, and it shows in everything they do.