Sep 252002
Authors: Chris Ortiz, Jessup Borra

So you finally built up the courage and ask out that guy or girl you have been noticing in your art appreciation class but therein lies the real dilemma – what to do for that significant first date. Well check your breath because we are about to give you a few ideas to impress that special person.


For me, I think mood and the atmosphere can really make or break a date. For young people looking for a nice romantic place to get to know each other, Canino’s Italian Restaurant offers just that.

The restaurant, located on College Avenue, on the outside doesn’t resemble your typical restaurant. Build in 1902, the restaurant was home to a furniture store and the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity before it was bought by the current owner in 1975.

A weekday date might help you avoid a rush at the restaurant, otherwise make reservations

Inside, the building resembles its past. From the wallpaper to the tabletop the place had a little taste of an Italian home.

Jess and I were sat upstairs in a room that was probably used as a family dining room or a chapter room. I wasn’t too impressed with the paper napkins or the promptness of our server but intimate setting was perfect for a little romance.

For dinner I ordered a Pollo Italiano, chicken saut/ed in olive oil and garlic with a hint of rosemary and pasta served on the side. The meal was served with both salad and soup. The salad was nothing but your typical house salad but the French onion soup was pretty good. Jess had a Pesto Pollo, baked chicken topped with a homemade pesto sauce served with bow tie pasta.

As you and your date wait for your delicious dinner to arrive, a great story to tell is how the current owner, Clyde G. Canino III, met his wife in the restaurant a year after it opened.

The dinner came just in time. The chicken tasted just as good as it read on the menu.

The bill came up to be $32, a little high for a college budget but definitely worth it to those who want to set the perfect mood for a hope-to-be perfect night – plus it might impress your date.


Let’s face it – girls don’t really ever have to plan the first date. I’d call that a definite perk for womanhood – however, many guys say that they like it when girls make the first move.

Romance, thoughtfulness, (and the act of throwing down a fair amount of money) are bound to impress girls. But what interests most college guys are entirely simpler: beer, television, pool and pizza. Old Chicago has all of that, so it was a natural choice. Actually, my first choice was Coopersmith’s, but there was a 45-min. wait for dinner on Saturday night. Most places downtown were packed, so reservations might be in order.

We still had to wait about 10 minutes for a booth at Old Chicago. Our waitress proceeded to take our drink order, and then ran around her section in a panic, yelling to her manager that she had “no idea what was going on.” She brought us our main course, then remembered that we had ordered an appetizer about 20 minutes ago, so we got some free Italian nachos out of the deal.

The meal was actually quite tasty. Chris had a three-topping pizza for $17.58, and I got a Kick’n Chicken sandwich for $7.29. There are also occasional beer specials to choose from.

Overall I would say a place like Old Chicago’s is satisfactory – although it’s nothing really original and unique, it’s got a relaxed, fun atmosphere.

Canino’s Italian Restaurant

613 S. College Ave


Sun-Thurs 11-9

Fr-Sat 11-10

Old Chicago

147 S. College Ave


Sun-Sat 11am – 2am (kitchen closes at 1)

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