The restaurant has been part of Erie’s east side for more than 75 years.
There’s something to be said for the tried-and-true establishments in Erie. That describes Ricardo’s Restaurant perfectly.
For more than 75 years, Ricardo’s, 2112 E. Lake Road, has been a staple of Erie’s east side. It has forever been a popular lunchtime spot for GE Transportation and now Wabtec employees, and it’s also a key dinner destination, both for couples and families.
My wife, Marissa, and I recently visited Ricardo’s and had the same positive experience that is indicative of why the restaurant has been able to not only survive, but also thrive during so many different eras.
Ricardo’s is known for its filet mignon, and it’s true that it’s a pretty special dish. I have had it on a couple of occasions, and it has always delivered on the hype.
However, during this visit, I was specifically in the mood for Italian, which is what led me to order chicken parmesan. Marissa went for the cube steak dinner. The chicken parmesan was delicious. Perfectly breaded and not overcooked, it practically melted in my mouth, but what really made it was the sauce. I’m a sucker for a sweet red sauce, and Ricardo’s was practically perfect.
Marissa’s cube steak was also very tasty, perfectly tender and juicy throughout.
Each of our meals also included a salad, pasta sampler and fresh, deep-fried zucchini. This was in addition to the actual sides that came with our meals; mine included spaghetti while Marissa’s came with hash browns.
What really is remarkable is the amount of food we received given the overall cost of the meal. I do not know if there is anywhere in Erie that can compete with the amount of high-quality food that Ricardo’s provides at such a low cost. The emphasis here is on high quality. Ricardo’s deep-fried zucchini is irresistible, and I’ve already touched on how good the restaurant’s red sauce is.
In fact, as I sat there during the meal, I actually said to Marissa, “This type of restaurant must only exist in Erie. There cannot be another restaurant that can provide such good food at such a reasonable price.”
OK, so maybe that’s a somewhat hyperbolic statement, but I’m sticking to it.
Clearly, we’re not the only ones who share this opinion. We visited during lunch, and Ricardo’s was slammed with what looked to be a mix of Wabtec employees and local residents.
The lunchtime rush was indicative of what we already know. While Ricardo’s may not have all the bells and whistles of other restaurants, what it does have is quality food and reasonable prices. As long as that continues, there is no reason to think it cannot survive for another 75 years.
WHAT’S SO SPECIAL
Ricardo’s has long occupied a special place on Erie’s east side and that’s not by accident. Restaurants come and go, but this one has stood the test of time because of its commitment to quality and its very reasonable prices. There are many places in this town where one can go to get a steak, but very few restaurants can offer the kind of steak available at Ricardo’s at such a good price.
What to know: 2112 E. Lake Road, www.ricardosrestauranterie.com, also on Facebook.
Price range: Lunch, $7.95 to $14.95; dinner, $9.95 to $21.95.
Hours: Mondays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; closed on Sundays.
Credit cards: Yes.
Reservations: Not needed.
Wheelchair accessible: Yes.
Child-friendly: Yes. A kids menu with all items priced $4.95 offers hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken strips, spaghetti, ravioli and shrimp.
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