Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

January 22, 2013

BUSINESS CONFIDENTIAL: At Fratela’s, it’s the small things that make this Italian restaurant excellent

JACKSONVILLE — If you get to the bottom of a huge bowl of pasta and you're still using rolls to sop up the rest of the sauce, odds are, you've just had an excellent culinary experience.

And so it was at Fratela's Italian Restaurant —  1800 South Jackson Street, Suite A — on this particular, cold, Tuesday night.

People don't sop up pasta sauce with bread because the food is mediocre. They certainly don't completely devour entire bowls of caesar salad or gobble who-knows-how-many delicious garlic rolls because the grub is "kind-of" okay.

No, what we have here is a convergence of the many little things that make up an excellent culinary experience:

• Friendly, informed, delightful waitresses;

• Timely service;

• Delicious, quality food;

• A diverse menu; and

• Affordable prices.

Pasta isn't the only amazing dish here. The quality of Fratela's pizza alone — in my opinion — could easily support a franchise.

There's also chicken parmigiana, chicken marsala and shrimp fettuccine Alfredo,

Before your entree, you could try the delicious Fratela appetizers such as fried cheese, stuffed mushrooms and chicken wings.

Fancy a sandwich? There are delicious hot subs here as well as a fully-stocked bar.

This past Tuesday I visited Fratela's with the intention of sampling some hot pasta, then taking a little something to my teenage son, who was sick with a fever at home.

I was astounded by the quality of the food, the service and the general atmosphere.

Don't get me wrong: This wasn't the honeymoon bliss of a first-timer. I've been at the restaurant several times before, usually for lunch.

As a matter of fact, the staff at the Jacksonville Daily Progress made a point last month to have their annual Christmas lunch there and it was easily the only place in town I could have envisioned for such an event.

But despite all those previous, positive experiences, Tuesday night was different — even better than before — for some reason. There was something about the way the restaurant functioned that night that simply CLICKED.

As I stated earlier, my waitress was delightful. She was eager to help, informative without being annoying, and she knew the restaurant's menu well. What she didn't know about, she simply asked a colleague who was just as eager to provide customer service.

What really pleased me as a customer was the fact that my waitress actually listened to me. When she learned I was trying to figure out what to feed my ill son, she waited a beat or two, then recommended a tasty Toscana soup with ground beef, russet potatoes, onions and carrots in cream sauce.

My son, who had been suffering from a rampant fever and a queasy stomach, adored the tasty dish.

And the bill? Not that much really. It was certainly affordable.

I've invested my own slogan for the restaurant: "At Fratela's, a bowl full of pasta is a 'bowl lot of love.'"



Reporter Ben Tinsley covers the business beat and writes the column Business Confidential for the Jacksonville Daily Progress. Have a business tip? Call Ben Tinsley at 903-586-2236 or email him at btinsley@jacksonvilleprogress.com.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Crews working to repair power after storm

    According to Oncor, a little more than 200 people remained without electricity mid-morning Thursday in the Jacksonville area after powerful overnight storms.

    July 24, 2014

  • Old Jville Bearden Store.tif Longtime furniture store changes hands

    For the better part of a century, Bearden Furniture Co., Inc., has been the go-to place for local residents wanting to beautify their home.
    Furniture and accessories, carpeting, window treatments – even electronics at one point – were offered at the Commerce Street store, but on July 1, the family who started Bearden's sold the company to Louisiana-based Ivan Smith Furniture company.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Athens woman confesses to killing daughter

    A 25-year-old mother is in the Henderson County Jail after telling authorities that she had killed her four-year-old daughter, Monday
    morning.

    July 24, 2014

  • Bullard: District names Jan Hill as deputy superintendent

    Bullard Independent School District is proud to announce Jan Hill as Deputy Superinten-dent. Hill will assume the new role effective immediately.

    July 24, 2014

  • ‘Christmas in July’ drive benefits area foster children

    Sure, December is still more than five months away, but Cherokee County residents are getting the chance to start spreading some holiday cheer a little early this year during the annual Christmas in July donation drive, benefitting the county's Rainbow Room.

    July 24, 2014

  • 2014-2015 Jacksonville Leadership Institute opens enrollment

    What is Jacksonville Leadership Institute?
    Jacksonville Leadership Institute is a program through the Jacksonville, Texas Chamber of Commerce. A new class is formed each September.

    July 24, 2014

  • Jacksonville continues its mosquito spraying schedule

    The City of Jacksonville will continue implementing its summer mosquito spraying program next week by spraying areas 7 and 11.

    July 24, 2014

  • RuskProtestMain.tif Rusk protest highlights views concerning border issues

    Several Texans gathered Saturday in Rusk -- not only to protest the recent federally-sponsored flood of illegal immigrants into the U.S., but to demand state officials to do something about it.
    Nearly 20 concerned citizens gathered at the intersection of U.S. highways 69 and 84 Saturday afternoon, waving flags and hand-lettered signs asking for secure borders and better action on the matter.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • RISD board mulls $16M budget

    Local school board members are considering a $16,671,955 proposed general fund budget for Rusk ISD's upcoming fiscal year – which begins Sept. 1 – but are nowhere near close to adopting the budget, said Lesa Jones, assistant district superintendent for finance and operation.

    July 22, 2014

  • National Night Out to return to Jacksonville

    National Night Out ( NNO) festivities will be returning  to Jacksonville this year.
    Jacksonville Police Crime Prevention Officer Detective Tonya Harris said all Jacksonville residents are encouraged to participate this year by sponsoring or attending a National Night Out party on Oct. 7.

    July 22, 2014