By: Dan I. Cook
With over 230 locations around the United States, this joint is hardly hidden and it’s part of a corporate machine owned by the same company that owns Outback and Bonefish Grill. Despite that, I still enjoy this place immensely. As much as I write about local mom and pop joints, I’m a sucker for places like Carrabba’s where the food and service are consistently good.
The Hidden Treasure
First off, Carrabba’s Italian Grill has half-priced appetizers and drinks from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m at the bar. Now what makes this a hidden treasure are the seats that face the cooks. If you are a foodie like me, watching the chefs cook right in front of you is a treat. If you don’t watch the Food Network or the Cooking Channel you will not understand the “cool” factor this free entertainment provides. If you are facing the open kitchen, the seats to the right are called the pasta bar and the seats to the left are the pizza bar. I always sit at the pasta bar.
I love watching the chefs work the sauté pans and grill as well as watch the head chef who works between these two stations. This chef orchestrates the timing of each order. That spot, which is the number one position, is the toughest. When the number one is humming on all cylinders, it is a beautiful food symphony.
Cast of Characters
The interaction between the managers, servers, and chefs are reality television at its finest. Victor Sullivan is the proprietor of this restaurant and when he expedites the plating and organizing of each order, he is a force to be reckoned with and all the staff steps up their performance when he is around.
This rings true with his kitchen manager, Junior. This dude looks like he could play linebacker on a professional football team. He runs a tight ship and you can see the entire staff respects both of these men. It’s funny watching the servers interact with the chefs. The chefs are gods, and I have yet to see a server win in a debate with a chef.
Overall, I have seen some fantastic teamwork in this store and it’s great to see this action live within a few feet of your nose.
One last tip, if the chefs are not busy, you may receive a free sample of food to try. It’s just another added bonus when sitting in these seats.
There is nothing like drinking cold beer and watching other folks work. These employees/managers bust their asses and it’s entertaining to see, just being honest. Go experience this hidden treasure and get to know this crew.
Remember to tell, Victor, Junior, Al, Andy, Eric, James, Joe, Dillion, Jesus, John, and my main man from Mexico, Jose, that Dan and Coral Springs Talk sent you and Stay Hungry!
Carrabba’s Italian Grill
2501 University Dr Coral Springs, FL 33065