Charley Horse Grill to become Ristorante Milano
I ate there on Friday. I needed only a light lunch, so I ordered only two items. Can't really tell much from that, but for what it's worth:
Minestrone wasn't bad. Seemed to be made with canned stock and tomatoes, but the other veggies in it seemed fresh. Pasta pieces slightly overcooked, but it's probably hard to keep pasta al dente when it's sitting in a vat of soup for a long time.
Calamari (fried) were quite good. Squid was tender, batter fairly light. Sauce was just okay, but I have that problem with most Italian restaurants' calamari sauce. Portions of soup and calamari were huge. I took some of the calamari home, but, like most calamari, they're not nearly as good once they cool.
Staff were eager to please, still working out the glitches, though (e.g., some delays in getting the food out of the kitchen). I met the chef, talked to him a bit. Nice chap.
There was a lunch buffet set up. I didn't consider it, since I wasn't very hungry. It had some pasta putanesca, some meatballs, some usual salad bar items, a few other things. I think the staff said the buffet was $7.95
It's not Roberto Donna, but it's not the Pines, either. I wish them well. I'll go back again in a couple of weeks when my appetite is bigger.
I have the menu in hand. Touts "authentic Italian cuisine." Looks to be a standard mid-price Italian menu with the usual suspects: minestrone, fried calamari, antipasto; 9 pasta entrees ranging from $9.95 to $12.95; several meat dishes including rack of lamb for $21.99 ("Colorado lamb baked and served table side"); some chicken; some seafood. Spotted a handful of cars in the parking lot over the weekend.
i truely believe that the problem here is that the building shape and parking lot still remind those passing by, perhaps subconsciously, of the Pizza Hut that it once was. as long as it has the shape of a Pizza Hut, folks are going to perceive it as the culinary equivalent of a Pizza Hut, regardless of what food is offered within. if there is an option to knock down the building and start over, that would be my recommendation. if the building must stay, i think the site would do better as a Long & Foster real estate office rather than as a restaurant.