I think most people will agree that they enjoy Italian food, and one of the best Italian restaurants resides on Park Ave; Pannullo’s. My brother was a server at Pannullo’s for years, so I’ve been lucky enough to see, and taste, Pannullo’s on another level than a lot of other patron’s Don’t just take my word for it. Pannullo’s boasts a 4.4-star rating, out of a possible 5 stars, on Google reviews. Also, Scott Thompson (you may know him as Carrot Top) is known to frequent the establishment. During my visits, I tend to see the same people. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that if a restaurant has a healthy flow of regulars, you’re probably going to become one yourself.
A Portal to Italy
As you walk in, you’re usually greeted and seated right away. I think the longest I’ve ever waited, to be seated, was about 10-15 minutes and that only happened on one occasion. You can sit outside or inside. Inside has a Tuscan décor that almost makes you think you’ve traveled to Italy. The staff is friendly and attentive, and the owners are usually seen pitching in. Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra play over the radio and it’s just generally a pleasing atmosphere to be in.
If you read my article about 310 Park South, you know how much I love their bruschetta. You can read that review here. Pannullo’s has bruschetta too! If I had to choose, I would prefer the bruschetta from 310 Park South for one simple fact, the balsamic glaze drizzle. I don’t know if that is a traditional Italian touch or not. Maybe that’s why they haven’t added that to their bruschetta at Pannullo’s. Either way, it’s still delicious. Even better, Pannullo’s offers free bruschetta to anyone who orders their pitcher of Sangria. They don’t offer that special all the time, but if you walk in on the right day, you can take advantage of their bruschetta/sangria offer. My girlfriend and I just took advantage of that on our last visit during the Winter Park Art Festival. She is a sangria lover and, although I don’t usually drink sangria, I have to say that it was very fruity and refreshing. 9/10 foodie reviewers would recommend.
Made From Scratch
The main thing I love about Pannullo’s is that they may be one of the only restaurants on the block that makes 95% (roughly) of their cuisine from scratch. In this day in age, it’s harder and harder to find restaurants that make their entire menu from scratch. It’s a necessary evil when it comes to Italian cuisine. That goes a long way with me. They have a semi-open front house kitchen so you can watch them prepare salads, bruschetta, and pizza as you sip your sangria. You could give me almost anything from the Pannullo’s menu and I would be happy with it. From bruschetta and pizza to Caesar salads and eggplant parmigiana, Punnullo’s truly has something for everyone. Their traditional menu offers everything you would expect to see at an Italian restaurant but is executed much better than most establishments.
Punnullo’s also boasts the “best happy hour in town” and if you go out, ever, you’ll know that’s true by their prices. From 3:00 P.M. – 6:00 P.M., Monday through Thursday, they offer select appetizers for $6.00, and their bottled beers, draft beers, and house wines range from $3.00 – $5.00. Not a bad tab, eh? If you can go anywhere else in town, order 5 bottle beers and an appetizer for a total of $21.00, I’d be VERY impressed. If you can think of a place in Winter Park that can beat their happy hour prices, I’d like to know so I can do a review. You can email us here and put “Attn: Matt” in the subject line.
Thousands of People Agree
You’ve probably guessed, or already know from other food review articles, that I love food more than the average person. So please understand when I say that Pannullo’s has some of the best, homemade, well-executed Italian food in town, I’m not exaggerating. The only reason that Pannullo’s doesn’t have a Google rating higher than 4.4 is simply that, on occasion, people seem to make a habit of leaving them bad reviews. Not because of their food, but because these people tried to get away with something unethical at Pannullo’s and the owners would not cower down and embrace the “customer is always right” philosophy. I think anyone that has ever worked in customer service or hospitality will understand where I’m coming from. You can’t please everyone and when you can’t, or simply refuse to fulfill a ridiculous request, their first line of attack is the internet.
The Customer is Not Always Right
Don’t get me wrong, Pannullo’s does NOT make it a habit of upsetting their customers. Quite frankly the contrary is true. They want you to feel like you’re at your Italian friend’s house for dinner and take care of you. But, since their owners are always in the building, they have simply decided that they will exercise their right to refuse service to anyone, for good reason. That, my friends, is something I can and will stand behind 100%. Especially if you’re there to try and wiggle a free meal out of the visit, or if you’re acting unethically or rude towards their wonderful staff. A staff that has been nothing but efficient and hospitable on every one of my visits.
You can tell that the owners are from New York when you hear them ask someone to leave. I think that adds to the atmosphere they’re trying to achieve, and it makes me want to give them even more of my business. Simply put, the entire staff is phenomenal, but they’ll be damned if someone is going to come in to ruin their day. So come in, be polite, enjoy your food, and you’ll have nothing to worry about.
There’s nothing left to say. Their menu is extensive and full of Italian staples. The dishes are always executed well, made from scratch, extremely flavorful, and healthily proportioned. What more could you want? But they do have one other heavy hitter on the menu that I feel the need to talk about. Pizza. Pizza is good everywhere but being able to find this quasi New-York style mixed with traditional Italian pizza is a difficult task.
Their chicken alfredo pizza is top-notch. I am about 6’0” tall and weigh about 175 lbs. I shouldn’t be able to eat an entire 14-inch pizza in one sitting. Normally I don’t make a habit of that unless it is the chicken alfredo pizza from Pannullo’s. I will drive 20 minutes away to pick one of these up and drive it home. You owe it to yourself to, at the very least, order one of these bad boys for yourself. You will be glad you did. Tell them Park Ave Magazine sent you. You can view their full menu here. Also, be sure to check out their Facebook page and Instagram page. Also, check out their website here.
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