Rudi Mucaj & Nahshon Lora
Goshen: a center for quality dining in northern Indiana. Known for its quality restaurants like Tony’s, Los Primos and Maple Indian Cuisine. All of these establishments epitomize the cultural excellence that Goshen strives for. You can find these restaurants in the heart of downtown Goshen.
Among these fine establishments lies the low point of Goshen dining, Venturi. If you enjoy elitist bourgeois culture, then you will also enjoy eating at Venturi. To put it plainly, the feeling of eating overpriced bogus Italian cuisine at Venturi’s is comparable to the feeling of being trapped in a car while having dysentery.
We had heard so much about it. “The best pizza place ever!” “The food is just yummy!” “The environment is cozy, and the staff is extremely polite and welcoming.” “Oh the pizza is to die for.” “After eating there, any other food will taste like sand.” “It’s alta clasa food.” And on, and on, and on…
Not a single bad word, even an implied one, had we heard about this pizza place. Everyone praised this restaurant so highly that one would think the chef was no one else but Anthony Bourdain. So, as two good paesans, we excitedly embarked up a journey to savor the delights of Venturi.
But, wonderful feelings do not last long. That sheer eagerness which had engulfed us about visiting the restaurant was shattered to pieces right after stepping inside.
Who would have thought that the small, dark and suffocating cabinet war bunkers of London during the Blitzkrieg had an offspring with a train station? Benches, chairs, and tables put so close to each other that accidentally one might reach for the neighbor’s plate instead of his/her own. It takes every ounce of energy one has to not listen or join the conversation going on at the nearby table.
Yet, we sat down. The staff was friendly, indeed, and for a moment we cheered up, thinking that the rest of the evening would go smoothly and nicely. But, once again we learned the hard way that “hoping at Venturi’s” is a fictive notion.
The menu—half of it in Google Translate Italian—proudly vaunted its original Neapolitan pizza. “Original Neapolitan pizza?” One of us almost fainted. No real and proud person, idea, or food that has ever come out of Napoli is referred to as Neapolitan. The right and real term is Napolitan. Everything less or more is just fake identity.
The appetizers did not start out very strong. We soon realized that we paid seven dollars for a plain piece of toast with a slice of tomato recklessly place on top. This would’ve been enough to send many men wallowing away in sorrow, but we held strong in the name of research.
Despite the disappointment of the appetizers, we ordered two pizzas and patiently waited, while listening to the couple next to us talking about the broken leg of GiGi (which might have been either their cat or child). Finally, the most praised food ever came.
Just one question: Does the chef ever taste the food he/she prepares? Good Lord Almighty! If that pizza was a country, the US would have invaded it: that’s how much oil it had. One of us even thought that he heard the pork oinking through the prosciutto.
Thus, we finished as soon as possible, paid as if we had feasted at Restaurant Ritz in Paris’ Rue Montmartre, and left beguiled on how people consider this overpriced, undercooked and insular restaurant a high class one. Even a Casey’s gas station in a one stop sign town (most Midwest towns) makes a better pizza and has a better atmosphere.
You want to eat at the best place in Goshen? Then, dearest pal-o’ours, go to Tony’s. Located right next door to Venturi, Tony’s is quality dining that will remind you of home. Upon entering Tony’s you are welcomed by the aroma of quality grease and the sounds of your fellow Goshen residents having well-educated real-life conversations.
The waitresses are friendly–they even call you “hon”– and the food comes fast. Tony’s is a place where variety and affordability are primary values. If you value your restaurants having traits like “modern aesthetics,” “quality ingredients,” “traditional methods of preparation” and other lifeless qualities, then Tony’s is not the place for you. But if you enjoy a friendly proletarian environment where you are welcomed as you are and receive quality food, then dear brother, sister and comrade, Tony’s is your place. Tony’s can be a lovely destination for a date night and can also be the place you go to get something to eat after a long day’s work.
As responsible Goshen students and global citizens, it is our duty to not allow the low points of Goshen dining to overshadow the high points. The city of Goshen values issues like community, diversity and accessibility, all qualities that Tony’s exemplifies. If you would like to leave your dining experience with both your pockets and your bellies empty (not to mention your cultural baggage), then eat at Venturi.