Bismarck really needs a good Italian restaurant. And if your response to that statement is, 'we have that,' you don't understand Italian food.

I understand the German heritage and it's great we're clinging to that. My family is German. It's fine. But let's get real. Let's pay some homage to Italian, a country which I'm sorry to say, knows food a little better than Germany.

I can't even spell lutefisk or fleischkuekle without Googling it first. You know what's easy to spell? Pasta. Admittedly, Parmigana (Parmesan) can get tricky. But it rolls off the tongue nicely.

Now I understand that Italian places exist here. National chains don't count so let's leave the endless breadsticks and salad conversation that accompanies Olive Garden out of this.

Johnny Carino's is good. It serves its purpose and they do fine. I like it there. MacKenzie River has some decent options. Outside of that, it's just pizza. Plus, our Italian restaurants don't even have table cloths. A real Italian restaurant has table cloths. That's just science.

Look at the picture at the top of this post. Look at how happy Tony Danza, of Italian descent, is at that Italian restaurant with table cloths. You can't get that kind of happiness in a non table-clothed Italian establishment. It's impossible.

What Bismarck needs is really good family-style Italian food. One of my favorite spots in New York City is Tony's Di Napoli. Here is a look at their dinner menu. The bottom of the menu says the portions feed two to three. That's true if I am at the table. But for most people, those portions could probably serve four people.

But that is a real Italian restaurant. And I promise you any of the dishes you taste at Tony's Di Napoli taste nothing like anything you'll get anywhere in Bismarck. Granted there's a lot more Italians in New York City than in Bismarck. But if we can get the right people behind a legit Italian restaurant, you may never eat anywhere else again.

Regardless of the quality though, the options in Bismarck are definitely limited. Carino's, Olive Garden, and MacKenzie River are all we've got. Everything else is just pizza. We should not allow this to continue.

For what it's worth, October is National Pasta Month and according to the North Dakota Wheat Commission, two-thirds of the nation's durum wheat comes from this state. And durum wheat is used to make pasta. Why are we giving all the durum wheat to everyone else? Let's keep it right here and make some awesome Italian food!

The time is now to do this. Someone get an Italian on the phone and let's get this thing going.

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