Visiting the vintage storefront at 316 N. 4th Street in Burlington is like going to Italy without leaving Iowa.
"If you want to experience a little Italy, we have it right here in Burlington," said customer Deb Maxey.
This is La Tavola. In Italian, it means "the table."
"In our family, like any other house, life evolves around our kitchen table," said owner Cheryl Falcone.
And inside this Burlington bistro, the lunch crowd is lucky to get one of three dozen seats. Intimate and interesting, reservations are a must for most evenings.
"Sit down, relax and enjoy the meal," recommends owner and chef Carlo Falcone.
The husband and wife team work together each day.
"It was love at first sight," Carlo recalled.
A ritual they've repeated since meeting in New Jersey more than 20 years ago.
"It's what we love to do," Cheryl said.
This is old-school Sicilian cooking that Carlo brought from his homeland. All of it is simmering with flavor and love.
"You actually cook with passion," Carlo said.
These are tough choices for the taste buds.
"It's good to come with your whole family," said customer Alex Yacko. "The food is really amazing every time you come."
La Tavola is open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. for lunch and 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. for dinner.
"The authentic food, you can't beat it," added customer Shane Williams.
After nearly seven years of success, La Tavola is a terrific addition to downtown Burlington. It's just right for family celebrations or business lunches.
"I think it's certainly unique for Burlington," said customer Vincent Gaffney.
Ryne Whalen is an artist with the pizzas and strombolis.
Molly Christensen keeps everything running smoothly in the dining room.
"We want people to come in with their good friends," Cheryl said. "Have some good wine and good food around the table."
"Great experience, good people and good meal," Carlo added.
Carlo and Cheryl's creations offer a new twist on familiar favorites. Taste and tradition that keep customers coming back to Burlington.
"It's awesome that such a small Iowa community has such a wonderful place to go," Deb said.
La Tavola offers an "Over-Worked Mom Dinner Special" available to go at (319) 768-5600.
"They truly care about your experience," Alex continued. "That's also nice."
This Mediterranean Mom-and-Pop restaurant is everything you could imagine.
There are picture-perfect pizzas and creamy, crunchy cannolis. This hidden gem makes you feel right at home.
"It works," Cheryl said. "Hopefully, it will be like this years down the road."
"We couldn't ask for a better place to be," Carlo concluded.
A friendly place with fantastic food, you'll want a table at La Tavola.