Tufano’s Vernon Park Tap

1073 W. Vernon Park


Tufano’s, which was recognized with a James Beard award in 2008, has been run by the same family since 1930. They make the most perfectly textured, garlic-drenched broccoli and shells in the city. A bustling Little Italy fixture, the restaurant has a packed bar in the front and a clientele of raucous extended families that have been patronizing it for generations. But in the summer you can enjoy this deceptively simple pasta dish (I’ve never been able to get it right at home) at an umbrella table next to a fountain and under a tree, on the lovely sliver of a brick patio that makes up the building’s side yard. Add an order of succulent, garlicky lemon chicken or sausage and peppers, a glass of Chianti, and a gentle breeze and—although the Beard award was for an “American Classic”—you could be in Rome. Prices are reasonable, but bring cash: they don’t take credit cards. —Deanna Isaacs