Rafael’s – Royal Treatment

Friday, January 17, 2014 - by Willie Mae

Lois and I were headed to an antique shop in Cleveland and decided to grab some lunch. Lois was hankering for Italian and, when I saw Rafael’s Pizza and Italian restaurant located at 2324 Treasury Dr., I thought it would make a good story since I had not tried it before.

When we walked in, it was nice and clean. It wasn’t a restaurant that seats you, like I had thought. You order at the counter like a fast food place. The young man at the counter was so polite and had very good customer skills. It made the place seem less like a fast food place and more like a small business owner’s restaurant. I still was not sure yet what type of place this was.

Lois and I sat down with take-out menus until we were ready to order. I wanted the cannelloni for $5.95 with a side salad for $1.75 and Lois wanted the lasagna for $6.25 with a side salad. After shopping we were quite hungry because we left early and did not have breakfast.

When I ordered at the counter, I had to pay first and there was a place for a tip (even though I had no idea how our meal would be). I gave a good tip because the boy was very professional and helpful when I ordered. He gave me a number, but it wasn’t his phone number – guess I was too old for him.

Lois and I helped ourselves getting our drinks and plastic ware and sat down at a booth. The booths were low and Lois barely reached the table. She wanted to ask for a booster seat.

Lois was so hungry she grabbed her Diet Coke and said, “I could make a meal just on this Diet Coke!”

When they called out numbers, customers went up to get their meals. The next thing I knew, that sweet boy brought our food to our table. We had number 30, but the last number they called out was number 28. I wasn’t sure if we were brought ours so efficiently because we were two old ladies or if it was because I was a good tipper, but I enjoyed the royal treatment!

The first thing Lois noticed was that her lasagna didn’t have cheese on top like my meal did. I handed her the cheese in a jar that was on the table. Surely, she wouldn’t find anything wrong with lasagna – how can you do lasagna wrong? It had cheese inside but was smothered with tomato sauce. Actually, our meals looked a lot alike except for my cheese on top.

I teased Lois that she wouldn’t like this meal either just because of the missing cheese and she said, “I don’t care. It could be rubber and it would taste good!” I guess I need to bring her on my jaunts when she is starving more often!

Our bread looked great. It was a hoagie-size roll that was toasty on the outside and soft on the inside. It was already buttered so we didn’t have to do it. With the styrofoam plates and plastic ware and ordering at the counter, I realized this was a fast food type place, sort of like Fazoli’s, but it looked like a full service restaurant and, with the staff so professional and courteous, it felt like a real restaurant.

My cannelloni was good, but it did have a taste of the fast food-put-together-quickly-food. Lois liked her lasagna fine too, but we agreed that it wasn’t what we expected.

The price was exceptional for the large portions we were served. I could only eat half of mine and I said, “Whew, I’m through.” Lois was still eating and said, “Don’t tell ME your troubles.” Poor thing’s sugar must have been about to bottom out. She reached to try a bite of the cannelloni that was left on my plate. I asked her if she liked it and she said it tasted just like hers and she couldn’t tell the difference.

It wasn’t the full service, chef-prepared restaurant we were hoping for, but for a quick and economical meal with impeccable service – this place definitely gets a thumb’s up.

Hours:

Sunday – Thursday  11:00-10:00

Friday and Saturday 11:00 – 11:00


Local Restaurants Team Up To Fight HIV

Local restaurants are encouraging families to help make a difference by enjoying a meal with family or friends during Dining Out For Life, an event to be held on Thursday.  During this annual event, patrons can dine at one of the participating restaurants in the Chattanooga area and that restaurant will donate a portion of the day's proceeds to fund HIV/AIDS care, prevention, ... (click for more)

Christopher Coats Named Top Steak Master In Regional Competition

Chattanooga native and current resident Christopher Coats, culinary team member at the LongHorn Steakhouse in Chattanooga, was recognized as the regional winner of the company’s Steak Master Series competition. This honor is bestowed upon the top performing culinary team members in the company. He is one of just 60 team members from LongHorn Steakhouse to achieve this distinction. ... (click for more)

Sources Say Domestic Incident Involving Mayor's Aide Came After Husband Confronted Her And Mayor Behind Restaurant; Berke Says Charge "Absolutely False"; Fletcher Says Gave Shelter To Lacie Stone; Case Handled Like Any Other

A domestic disorder involving a top female aide to Mayor Andy Berke was sparked after her husband recently confronted the aide and the mayor in a parked car behind a Mexican restaurant, several sources said.   Mayor Andy Berke said late Tuesday night, "Last weekend a member of my senior staff was the victim of a domestic assault involving her husband. Upon being arrested ... (click for more)

Attorney For Bobby Stone Hits Berke, Fletcher For Commenting On Pending Case

The attorney for Bobby Stone on Wednesday said it was "fundamentally wrong" for Mayor Andy Berke and Police Chief Fred Fletcher to comment on the case in which Mr. Stone is charged with domestic assault against his wife, Berke advisor Lacie Stone. Attorney Lee Davis said the comments were unfair and "a disservice to the court." Mayor Berke denied any inappropriate contact ... (click for more)

Case Handled Like Any Other? - And Response

It is interesting that Chief Fletcher would deem the handling of the Mayor's encounter as typical or normal. Is the Chief asking the public to believe that all misdemeanor domestic violence arrests include a 4-hour taped interrogation, and delayed reporting after a visit to the Chief’s house. Of course, we believe that Chief Fletcher. April Eidson * * *  I ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Christian Schools Bully, Too

Earlier this week, after I shared a story about bullying written by a very brave mother, it opened a floodgate of emails from parents and students who have been forced to endure such madness in our elementary, junior and senior high schools. Discipline is the No. 1 problem in our schools. Because of it, or because of a lack of it, no wonder our children cannot achieve all that ... (click for more)