Giovanni’s Restaurant, Dover NJ

I went to Giovanni’s restaurant for my birthday with my parents… well, I tried to. We showed up on my birthday, Wednesday Sept 22nd and there was only 1 person there, the owner. He was very nice and all. He said it would be no trouble for him to turn on the lights and seat us. Yes, you heard me… turn on the lights. He motioned us over to the seats we were in last time as he switched on the lights in the place. I don’t get it… seating for 120, excellent food and…. nobody was there.

It’s kind of funny actually. I had called a few days earlier asking if I needed a reservation if we showed up on Wednesday night. He said something like, “No, you should be alright.” Well, he was right.

I’m saddened because I went to this place a few months ago with PPG. There were only a few people in the place when we went back then but we were so hungry (and I had to pee soooooooo bad) that we stayed. The food was, in a word, perfect. He served us Italian standards in a straightforward manner, strachatelli, eggplant rolatini and a few other dishes. We were overpowered by just how…. fresh and … correct… the food was. No curve-balls, no “Bam!” just unflinchingly perfect.

Rrrrrreww! This happens so often to me. I discover a good thing and it turns out that it’s about to be closed. Earlier in September, I went to Montclair to see a play. Turns out the production company has just lost their lease and I was seeing one of the last performances. Hurumph.

I want to know what the story is behind this restaurant! Maybe I’ll go down there sometime and ask.

So we got back in the car and my dad became the worst backseat driver… It was awful. I got my relief by playing the race card: they wanted me to pull over and ask for directions so I did. I asked two well dressed, articulate Hispanic men for directions. While we’re talking, my mother starts yelling from the back seat to go because she’s scared. Dad does the same thing. It was as though I had two screaming children in the car. She was banging against my seat and screaming. He was barking orders at me. And I was talking calmly to the nice gentlemen. He didn’t know the restaurant but it was nice to have an intelligent conversation, albeit short with someone during my ordeal.

In case you’re wondering, my defense for stopping and talking to these gentlemen was: They were well dressed. Their movements were completely unthreatening and well mannered, they spoke well (though with a strong Spanish accent), we were in an almost exclusively Columbian part of town, and I kept the car in gear, ready to pull away if need be (as I do with most car stops at night).

So we ended up going to Charlotte’s Web restaurant. It wasn’t awful. But as usual, they declared that this was some of the best food they had ever eaten in their lives. I spent the majority of the evening trying to not be smothered.

But I will say that my birthday cake was terrific. I told Noni that my favorite ice cream is ice cream sandwiches. So she bought some… and on my birthday, she made me a cake that is layers of ice cream sandwiches, Cool Whip and fudge. Yummy kudos!

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