I know firsthand that a college student gets her full share of pizza, but a quick delivery from Papa John’s doesn’t quite do the trick when there’s a craving for true Sicilian Italian food. Mr. Dominic’s, located at 4699 Lake Avenue in Charlotte, has homemade Southern Italian cooking to satisfy even the most voracious Italian hankering.

The wide range of menu options consists of traditional Italian dishes, from greens and beans to eggplant parmesan, served with their notably well-liked marinara sauce. More endless choices include chicken, veal, seafood, steak, pork and pasta dishes. They also serve dishes for the more adventurous appetite, such as sauted frog legs. Not only is the food served in quality, but also quantity, which allows for ample leftovers to be enjoyed the next day.

Mr. Dominic’s has been dishing up delectable dinners for over 25 years, so don’t be fooled by the building’s run-down, decrepit exterior. At first glance, you might be tempted to hop back in the car and drive 20 minutes back to the Olive Garden, but take a step inside and you will immediately understand what lures people in time after time. As it is always busy, reservations translate into a 15 to 30 minute wait. However, it is worth the wait, so be patient. The atmosphere is bustling and people are packed tightly waiting for their tables, as the aroma of homemade pasta wafts from the kitchen. While waiting to be seated, you can enjoy drinks from the bar or warm yourself by the electric fireplace while surveying the scene.

The dining room is compact with tightly arranged tables, giving an intimate family-oriented experience, however, personal privacy is limited so be prepared to befriend your neighboring tables.

My most recent experience at Mr. Dominic’s was celebrating a friend’s birthday. The friendly environment set the perfect mood for a celebration, and the sociable atmosphere resulted in the entire restaurant joining in on a round of “Happy Birthday.” It is this type of environment that makes Mr. Dominic’s an ideal place for dinner out with family, friends or someone special.

Generous portions and a reasonable price range are required restaurant characteristics for college students when choosing where to spend those precious few dollars. Not only does Mr. Dominic’s fulfill this prerequisite, but the food is worth the wait – and I’m not known to be patient with my food – which makes it a great spot to dine. If you’re willing to take a short drive for some tasty Italian and an enjoyable dining experience, Mr. Dominic’s is an ideal choice.Putterman can be reached at


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