You Voted: Best Happy Hour in Coral Springs Goes to Tavolino Della Nonna


By: Dan I. Cook and Kimberly Pekala

Last month Coral Springs Talk took a poll for the best Happy Hour and readers decided that Tavolino Della Nonna was number one.  Our Facebook followers even swore by this place, so a deal is a deal and we set a date for us to stop by and find out what everyone was talking about.

First things first:

There always seems to be a side story with me when I write. This time it involved my daughter, Madison. She came home from Coral Springs Charter School and began to tell me about how her favorite teacher of all time asked her to write for the school newspaper. Being a writer, I was really excited to hear this news. Her favorite teacher’s name is Mrs. Kimberly Pekala.

Now, as my daughter is talking about Mrs. Pekala she got that spark in her eye like she was talking about Santa or a trip to Disney. This teacher must be something spectacular for my daughter to get so excited. I’m thinking, I have to meet this chick. I told my daughter this and she said that Mrs. Pekala read my reviews and loved them. When Madison said that, I sat up a little straighter, puffed my chest out, and if I were smoking a pipe I would have lit it up.

Happy Hour at Tavolino Della Nonna

Happy Hour at Tavolino Della Nonna

Now I had to meet her teacher. Within moments I had a crazy idea to have Mrs. Pekala co-write this review with me. I ask my daughter if she had a twitter account. Bingo!

Yes, I’m crazy and so I sent her a tweet telling her she’s my daughter’s favorite teacher etc… I then float my idea to her about co-writing this review with me. She says no.


She told me that her students are very important to her and they take up most of her time. She added that she likes to concentrate on them during the school year. However, could we do it during the holiday school break?

I’m talking to the Mary Poppins of teaching here. I love this woman now, and me being me, I’m not gonna wait or take no for an answer. I assured her that there is no heavy lifting to this review because it’s just about a restaurant not the Game of Thrones series.  She finally said she was in. Hooray!

Then here came the setting of the hook folks. I told Mrs. Pekala, that I’ll treat her and her husband, as a thank you for all her hard work with her students. She was very polite and gracious saying it wasn’t necessary. In my mind I’m like, there was no way in hell I’m gonna let the Mary Poppins of teaching pay, especially if I’m asking her to work.

So all is good and the date was set to hit Tavolino.

I told her my rules for writing reviews which was basically there were no rules. I write what comes into my mind. It’s called inspiration. I told her that’s what separates me from other food and business writers. Basically, just be yourself.  So here’s a review from a true Coral Springer, Kimberly Pekala, who was born in Coral Springs and graduated from JP Taravella High School. Kimberly teaches English and Journalism at Coral Springs Charter School, has a BA in English, an MFA in Creative Writing, an MEd in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in English from FAU.

Review of Tavolino Della Nonna

By: Kimberly Pekala

As a parent and a teacher, I don’t get out much, so when Dan invited my husband and I to happy hour at Tavolino Della Nonna, I was pleased to accept. It’s hard to find “grown-up” time as a parent, and it’s hard to maintain it during a night out with my husband because Coral Springs is not as large as you might think – we run into my students everywhere! Granted, that’s part of the charm of our community, and why my husband and I wanted to return. It’s a community that feels like home.

Menus light up! Steven and Kimberly Pekula.

Menus light up! Steven and Kimberly Pekula.

This sentiment was reinforced during happy hour at Tavolino. Upon arriving, we could see familiar faces milling about the entrance amongst the outdoor seating. The bar curved just inside the front door, which felt like a welcoming position. After greeting Dan and his wife, we had the chance to meet other residents enjoying their night out, some of whom were the parents of, or people who knew of, my students. I can’t express to you what a revelation it was to discover where the adults hang out, as opposed to the kids. Don’t get me wrong, I love my students, but their parents are far less likely to take my picture while I’m eating and post it on Instagram!

Meatball Sliders

Meatball Sliders

The bartender, Danielle, got our drinks right away, and we spent time marveling over their light-up drink menu. Frankly, every restaurant should invest in this little innovation because it allows you to enjoy shadowed ambiance and still be able to read the menu.

We ordered a few appetizers: the Margarita Pizzola, Nonna’s Meatball Sliders, and the infamous Tavolino’s Signature Pear Pasta. The pear pasta certainly lives up to the hype. It’s rich and creamy, with a sweet pear tang. My husband and I finished that one off first, and I assure you, we squabbled over the last bite. The meatball sliders were also very flavorful – enough to compel us to ask Edward Pozzuloi, the owner, what blend they used for their meatballs. He was pleasant and obliging, and his son Eddie Jr., who manages the restaurant, was wonderfully amiable. He is also a graduate of my school, so we enjoyed talking about his experience transitioning from student to adult amongst our staff, as many of them frequent the restaurant. Two (other than myself) were there that evening, which certainly complemented the community atmosphere.

Chocolate Volcano dessert

Chocolate Volcano dessert

Pozzuloi encouraged us to try to the Chocolate Volcano dessert, which was a rich, but not heavy, cake bursting with chocolate and topped with vanilla ice cream and several flavored sauces in an intricate design. It was beautiful and delicious. To cap off the extravagance, Pozzuloi brought out a platter of desserts for us to share. Though I was already well-past my limit, I did sample one of Tavolino’s Signature Cookies, an amaretto cookie of decadent flavor. Later in the evening, at home, we sampled the other desserts, and I assure you, they were all impressive, but the cookies truly stand out.

The food was wonderful, and the ambiance was pleasing, but I think what made the experience so enjoyable for my husband and I was that the restaurant encapsulates what we love about Coral Springs: the owners are an ingrained part of our community, and the patrons we socialized with shared our history in it. That being said, my husband and I are planning to make it more of a priority to make some “grown-up” time and get out and about again. We encourage you, other parents, to joins us. Sure, our city is well-known as a family-friendly place, but there’s space for the adults to be adults, too!

About Happy Hour at Tavolino’s

Happy Hour goes from 4:00- 7:00 p.m. Tuesday – Friday.  It is a progressive menu which means that as it gets later, the prices rise. From 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. house wines and certain mixed drinks are $4.00. From 5:00 – 6:00 p.m., those items are $5.00. From 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., those items are $6.00. There are also selected items on the bar menu that follow the same pricing.


Kim said it all. It’s easy to see why this place was voted number 1. Thanks to everyone who participated in our poll.

Four beers filled to brim.



Remember to tell them Kim, Dan and Coral Springs Talk sent you and Stay Hungry!

Tavolino Della Nonna

10181 West Sample Road
Coral Springs, Fl. 33065

Tuesday- Thursday 11-10
Friday 11-11
Saturday 4-11
Sunday 4-10

About Dan I. Cook

avatar Native of Broward, Food Warrior, Beer Ninja, Wine Fraud, and Former Marine. I will give you an honest opinion of my experience. I write for free and I dine with my OWN money. I don't want coupons or gifts. So go screw yourself if you think that will work to make your review better. Whether it's high-end food or the dollar menu, I will steer you in the proper direction. I love Broward and especially the Coral Springs area. I take pride with what I type and I hope you enjoy my twisted take on food reviews or as I call them, Food Stories. LOL. Stay Hungry!


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  • CSparent

    Great example for the kids. Having a teacher write about a Happy Hour at a Bar?

    What kind of a writer are you? You write: “I have to meet this chick”. Isn’t that kind of sexist? You call your daughters teacher “a chick” ? Do you also call her honey? What other names do you call her? . Great example for your daughter.

    Then you write: “WTF” ? What is that supposed to mean? Do you want your daughter to write like that? Can you stand in front of your daughter and her class as a proud parent and give them details about “WTF” means?

    Great example for the kids. Keep up the good work.

    • Bip Van House

      Actually, I thought the writing was nice and down to earth, with a lingo matching someone who exists today, and not in 18th century England. Additionally the article got me wantin to not only go to this bar, but also move to Coral Springs. Ease up Cowboy.

      • Dan I Cook

        Thank you for writing that. We had fun writing this together. Kim did a awesome job and after meeting her and seeing how she writes I totally understand why my daughter loves her.

    • Dan I Cook

      It’s obvious you don’t read my reviews on here or Yelp. I’m not a cookie cutter review writer. I write what is going thru my mind with no censorship. It’s me being me. Let me ask you a question. This teacher is NOT allowed to have a life outside of school? Where did she write about drinking or getting drunk or doing shots or beer bongs? Please point that out because I missed that part in our review. Kim did a fantastic job explaining how tough it is for her to go out and have a good time because she is a teacher. Your post is an example of that. She is not a nun living in a covent who teaches school. She is a regular woman who happens to be a teacher. Last thing, it’s great to Monday night quarterback with no picture of yourself. Kim did nothing wrong so leave her alone. Make fun of me all you want because I don’t care what your no face self has to say.

    • Dan I Cook

      My daughter knows what WTF means. Are you living in a bubble? Does your kids have cell phones? Do they text? Do they go on any social media sites? You better take those blinders off because if your kids are in high school they are well versed in what I’m talking about. But then again I’m sure they are perfect Angels and are oblivious to what’s gonna on around them just like YOU!

    • Barb

      Gotta say the WTF caught my eye and thought it was not needed but had nothing to do with the teacher, that was just a tie in. Thought it was a cute article. I don’t know many kids however who read any sites like this and besides that would involve actual reading and an interest in more than just what is going on with them.

      • Dan I Cook

        Thank you Barb. You are right, My intro had nothing to do with Kim’s review. That’s how I write not her.

        My Yelp reviews would never fly on this site because of the profanity I use on there. On Yelp I type like most people talk which is with profanity. I don’t expect everyone to agree with that, but that is life in the 21st century.

    • Julia Jenkins

      CSparent it’s a shame that you do not know Kim Pekala personally, but I do. She is an incredibly gifted teacher, the kind that inspires you and that you remember fondly for years after you graduate. I’m quite sure her students are not going to be negatively affected by her restaurant/ bar review. It was well written, and appropriate for the website it was published on. It also makes me want to eat there. Your reply is actually a great example of what we should actually avoid teaching our kids – intolerance. Our kids should learn to hesitate and to think before they jump to hasty and angry conclusions. Your comment is also conveniently anonymous, and unfortunately that happens a lot on the internet. It would be more appropriate for you to meet Kim Pekala and give your opinion to her personally – I’m sure you would quickly realize how absurd your concerns are after meeting her. Great job Kim. You are and will continue to be a great example to our kids and the Coral Springs community.

  • Mrs. Pekala

    CSParent– If your child is a student at our school, I’m happy to discuss this issue with you, though I honestly don’t think it is a cause for concern. As it happens, I also taught religious education in Coral Springs for several years at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton on Coral Ridge Drive to much younger students, but I don’t think even they would have batted an eye at my imbibing a glass of wine outside of the Holy Sacrament. After all, our Savior didn’t make water into wine so everyone could stare at it. I think it was His expectation that it would be enjoyed.

    If you’d like to take a moment to review the Broward County Professional Code of Ethics for Teachers (which can be found here:, I think you’ll note that having a glass of wine with dinner with my husband in a public place, and even reviewing the services of the establishment providing said glass of wine,—and even further, accepting a parent’s invitation to do so
    at their expense (considering that their child is no longer in my class, of course)— falls well within said code. I can save you the trouble by assuring you that I checked myself, because when you’re a teacher, people have a tendency to look for any reason to discredit you and your ability to perform responsibly in your profession, no matter how well-qualified your students, parents, coworkers and administration believe you to be.

    Best to you this holiday season.

  • nvlo

    As always, I enjoyed reading the review. Being a Coral Springs resident for almost 21 years, it’s great to get ideas on new places to try. I also enjoy the easygoing style in which it is written.
    It’s a shame that we are living in an era of extreme political correctness where truth is discouraged and thoughts are censored. I honestly believe that there are some that wake up in the morning looking for opportunities to get offended. What a shame.
    To Dan and Mrs. Pekala, thank goodness that most humans have many facets and can vary their behavior and speech depending on the situation. Personally, I’m not a professional all the time, nor a mommy, nor my husband’s lover…that would just be weird.

    • Dan I Cook

      Thank you. The whole idea of this was to be different. If you want a normal review where the whole meal is broken down in components and dissected, people can go read posts from other writers. I’m not normal LOL or classically trained to be a writer. That’s what makes me special. Kim’s part of the review was outstanding and you can tell she knows how to write and how to connect with a reader.

      I’ve written close to 500 reviews and I would say this one is one of my favorites.

  • Guest

    A happy hour review with no mention of cocktails or wine offerings? WTF!

    • Ironic50

      Ease up all this politically and verbally correct BS is killing me. Some people just need to get a life. Great writing and keep on doing your column love it.