Sometimes it’s fun to leave the city lights behind, if only for a few hours. We recently crossed the bridge for Uncle John’s, a little Italian spot in Crawfordsville, Ark., occupying the building that housed the movie theater known locally as the Gay Buzzard and later a laundromat. The Marconi family opened Uncle John’s 25 years ago.
About 20 of us filled a big table in a room decorated with murals depicting locals in an Italian street scene, we passed the wine (you take your own, corkage fee may apply), and eventually we dug in. The food was typical of old-style Southern Italian — and I mean Southern U.S. of A., not that there’s anything wrong with that. In fact, there was plenty right with it.
The spaghetti, stuffed shells and ravioli were all good; the lasagna ($12.25) was a delicious, gooey, cheesy delight. The red sauce was medium-bodied, not heavy, but with some substance. A crowd favorite turned out to the spinach-stuffed shells ($12.25) in a white sauce, but I found this out too late to snag a bite.
Don’t miss the bread pudding ($3.25) if you make the trip. A moist and custardy version, it’s rich and sweet, topped with a light bourbon sauce.
Take a crowd and make a night of it. On a Friday night, you can go for the catfish if Italian isn’t your thing. Sandwiches and steaks, which are hand cut so you can request how thick you want yours, are also available.
— Jennifer Biggs: 529-5223
Uncle John’s is at 5453 Main St., Crawfordsville, Ark. It’s open Tuesday through Saturday from “about” 9 or 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, until 8:30 p.m. on Thursday and until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Call (870) 823-5319 for more information.