Tidbits: Ronnie Grisanti's
Ronnie Grisanti serves longtime favorites from family recipes in Sheffield Mall in Collierville.
photographs by Justin Fox Burks
Meeting old friends in new places can be nerve-wracking, which is exactly how I felt driving to Collierville one recent Friday night to reacquaint myself with Ronnie Grisanti’s Italian Restaurant, located for the past year inside the Sheffield Antiques Mall. A frequent guest at Grisanti’s previous midtown location, I worried that the restaurant’s popular cuisine couldn’t traverse such an unconventional setting. Silly me. I parked (the lot was crowded) and followed a lively group through the mall to the restaurant in the back, an unpretentious nook separated from vendors by a simple wooden divider.
I typically don’t stray off-menu at Grisanti’s, but the seafood special sounded appealing: pan-seared sea bass with lemon butter served over a pretty mold of Italian spinach. While the fish was just fine, our robust Chianti and garlic bread made me yearn for the handmade pasta dishes floating by our table: manicotti stuffed with spinach, beef, sausage, and herbs; lasagna al Forno; four-cheese ravioli; and the Elfo Special, an almost legendary plate of vermicelli tossed with garlic butter, mushrooms, Parmesan, and a remarkable number of plump and tasty shrimp.
Offering dinner on weekends when the mall stays open until 10 p.m., Grisanti’s also serves lunch Monday through Saturday, augmenting entrees with pizzas, paninis, and a two-cheese Tuscan butter in tomato broth with toasted bread for dipping.
“I’ve gone back to the menu I started with: old-school Cucina Toscana based on family recipes that are 100 years old,” Grisanti says. “I think it’s the best Grisanti food I’ve put out in a long time, and I’m honored and humbled by its reception.”