Now that the “Interesting Times” appear to be well and truly on their collective way, it gives all of us the chance to renew old friendships, with those you haven’t seen in a long while. Just such an occasion happened recently when my dining partner invited our old friend the Pet Whisperer to join us and fellow dine-around bunch member the Retiree for lunch at the nearby Giovanni’s Family Restaurant.

First impressions

Giovanni’s has undergone some renovations since the last time my friends and I dined here. Its interior dining areas have been re-arranged and updated with new décor, new tables sporting black granite tabletops, sturdy chairs, and a set of clean restrooms unobtrusively accessible at the back.

Italian Nachos with Chicken

In honor of the occasion, my dining partner suggested we each order a course apiece, to be shared between the four of us. The Pet Whisperer started us off with a big platter of Giovanni’s excellent Italian Nachos ($9.99), ordering the grilled chicken version instead of Italian sausage. Giovanni’s takes lasagna noodles and deep fries them until crisp and crunchy, then tosses them in a creamy cheesy Alfredo sauce with black olives, diced Roma tomatoes, banana peppers and sliced jalapenos (these last two items were left off at the request of my dining partner) then topped with parmesan and shredded mozzarella cheeses and baked until molten. As our appetizer platter of Italian Nachos passed from hand to hand around the table, we all agreed that the Pet Whisperer had chosen a very good starter for our shared four-course meal.

Giovanni’s Salad with grilled chicken

I ordered the salad course for our table, choosing a signature Giovanni’s Salad ($10) with grilled chicken instead of gyros-style lamb as the added meat. Our server made sure the salad met the “Three C’s” of making a good salad. It had to be Crisp, Crunchy and Cold, and my salad was all three at the same time. Since it would be shared, I made sure there were no bell pepper slices that my dining partner didn’t like, or slices of pickled pepperoncini that the Retiree abhorred. This left a salad of cold and crisp lettuce and greens, together with some crunchy house-made croutons, both black and Kalamata olives, crumbled feta cheese and some grilled chunks of properly-marinated and grilled chicken, just right for a dollop of Giovanni’s savory Greek salad dressing to top it off.

Spinach and broccoli calzone

My dining partner opted for one of Giovanni’s spinach and broccoli calzones ($8.99) a sizable circle of pizza dough onto which has been placed a sauté of spinach and broccoli florets together with some feta and mozzarella cheeses; folded in half and then baked until the inside is molten and the outside crispy and crunchy. Reclining upon its serving platter, this Giovanni’s calzone appeared to be smiling at my dining partner, its ramekin of marinara sauce a mere afterthought on the same plate.

10-inch vegetarian pizza

The Retiree wanted her daily requirement of veggies in the form of a 10-inch Giovanni’s vegetarian pizza ($9.99), and was rewarded with a plethora of sliced mushrooms, diced red onions, broccoli, black olives, tomatoes, some feta cheese crumbles and topped with melted mozzarella cheese. Cut into six pieces, each of us had a whole yummy slice. What to do about the remaining slices of pizza was solved by the Pet Whisperer, who promptly cut the two of them in half. After enjoying each mini veggie pizza slice around the table, everyone was content.

The bottom line

Giovanni’s remodel is a welcome change for this classic neighborhood restaurant. The setting is pleasant, the service friendly and professional and the food just keeps getting better and better.

If you want to commemorate your exit from “Interesting Times” with delicious food, happy servers and comfortable surroundings, why not take a trip to Boones Creek and stop in at Giovanni’s Family Restaurant?

It’s a great place to stay awhile.