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7 Jones St., Norcross:
Phone: 770-300-0250
Recommended dishes: Antipasto platter, chef salad, club sandwich, Key lime pie
Price range: Appetizers $2.50-$8.95; salads $5.95-$8.95; sandwiches $6.95-$8.95; entrees $7.95-$13.95; desserts $2.25-$5.50.
Payment methods: American Express, Visa, Master Card, Discover; no checks
Reservations: Yes
Verdict: Tempting fare, huge portions and a warm, inviting space add to historic Norcross' more recent charms.
For the chicken piccata, a bed
of buttered noodles is served alongside chicken breast smothered in a white wine lemon butter sauce and topped with capers.(NICK ARROYO/STAFF PHOTO)


Paizanos restaurant- 
The  recomended dish is Antipasto Platter. (NICK ARROYO/STAFF PHOTO)


Where casual fare meets upscale
is perfect for both date night and lunch

For AJC Gwinnett News
Published on: 02/02/07

Even before paying the bill, the signs begin appearing. The belly's swollen, eyes are getting heavy, lethargy sets in.

After facing the large lunch portions at Paizanos, it feels like siesta time. This meal should've come with a
bed roll on the side.

Another time, another place

At first glance, downtown Norcross � its historic buildings, old train depot and general
small-town allure  looks stuck in the '50s. But step into a trendy gift shop or a restaurant
like Paizanos, and the time machine surges back to present.

Paizanos is upscale enough for date night. Dim lighting, mellow music, warm hardwoods
and Italian delicacies unite. But it has just the right casual groove for customers in jeans and
T-shirts to feel at home while tackling a pizza or a lunch-time sandwich.

Fresh starts

First comes the antipasto platter. Cooks decorate layers of prosciutto, salami and
cappicola with grilled zucchini, Kalamata olives and roasted red peppers.
We order a side of bread and use it as a palate. It's nearly a meal in itself.

Customers can start the proceedings either high brow (Prince Edward Island mussels)
or low (cheese fries with brown gravy). The ample platter satisfies, so we'll experiment next time.

A variety of salads look tempting, so we dive into the chef. Turkey, roast beef,
 ham and provolone are rolled together, sliced and tossed throughout a bed of greens with
cheddar cheese and bacon to boot. The multicolored protein wads prove tastefully amazing.

Pastas and entrees

The grass always looks greener as we peer over at a neighboring table. A pile of manicotti arrives steaming.
We skip the pasta choices and go for the chicken piccata, because it comes with a bundle of buttery noodles. The white wine lemon butter sauce is fantastic. Thankfully, we use it to lube the almost overcooked chicken that's dressed up with capers.

An encore visit may require a taste of baked ziti or the chicken Francese, a house favorite,according to our waitress.
She pops open a second bottle of San Pellegrino water and we continue to gorge.

Pizza, pizza, pizza

Paizanos boasts 14 different specialty pizzas, all with New York-style monikers. The Upper West Side, for instance, features grilled chicken, Roma tomatoes and Kalamata olives. Get fancy with the Park Avenue, a gourmet white, or the meat fest known as the Bronx Bomber.

We order the two-slice lunch special and choose the toppings. A pair of bigger-than-big slabs arrive.
I see a to-go box in our future. Other baked goodies include stromboli and calzones.

Lunch only

A lengthy list of sandwiches and wraps is exclusively on the lunch menu. Our turkey club is, you guessed it, enormous. Texas toast sandwiches the contents � turkey, bacon, American cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo. It comes with our choice of a side. We opt for the homemade chips; crunchy, not too greasy and extremely delicious.

A final bow

Our waitress informs us that Key lime pie is available, although it's not on the menu. Temptation, temptation, temptation. Conservative in size, the tart and creamy slice still delights.

We seal the deal with a cannoli. Generous squirts of whipped cream and scattered chocolate chips doll up the crunchy shell. Rich and flavorful.

Despite a yawn or two, the remains of the day face us. "Coffee, please."





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