Mulberry Italian Restaurant

64 Jackson Avenue

Lackawanna, New York

In the shadows of the Bethlehem Steel Plant, in the City of Lackawanna, Bethlehem Park was once home to hundreds of families of immigrants, mostly Italian, who built their futures on the promise of the American Dream. It is only fitting that down these narrow streets lies a hidden gem of an Italian Restaurant. Mulberry Italian Restaurant prides itself on authentic Italian cuisine, prepared fresh daily, and served in grandiose portions that would have met with both of our Italian grandmothers’ approval.

It was Mr. Diner’s birthday and for what has now become an annual tradition, we made our trek to Lackawanna’s 1st Ward. If you have never been to Bethlehem Park, this once proud ethnic neighborhood on the edges of the abandoned steel mill property is well past its glory days and you might wonder if you made a wrong turn or were given bad directions. Don’t dismay. We assure you that you are not lost. Once you arrive, there is plenty of parking to the side and across the street from this unassuming building, which used to be the Park Grill, local watering hole and gathering place. All of this only adds to the overall charm and pleasant surprise at what lies inside. Those of you who remember Roseland on Road Island Street on the West Side of Buffalo may have a bit of déjà vu.

As you walk in the entrance, the bar area is friendly and inviting. Everyone is looking like they are having a great time. Tonight we were seated quickly. As we ordered our wine for the evening, Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Reserve 2007, recommended by our waitress, we took in the framed pictures on the walls, a hodge-podge of iconic Buffalo locations, sports heroes and classic pictures of Marilyn, Sinatra and The Rat Pack. Appetizers for the evening included Fried Zucchini Blossoms with Sweet Corn, Roasted Mushrooms, Truffle Vinaigrette, and Arugula Pesto, and the Eggplant and Buffalo Mozarella Napoleon with Kalamata Olive Tapenade, both from the specials menu. Meals in and of themselves, they were exquisite.

The house specialty at Mulberry is the self-proclaimed “World Famous Lasagna”. Each night features the day’s special lasagna, with noodles made from scratch, and layer upon layer of heavenly fillings. Expect to have leftovers, because this lasagna is the size of a brick and is as tall as it is wide. Tonight’s feature was Meat Lovers Lasagna – with meatball slices and Italian sausage, for Mr. Diner. This lasagna has no peer. Ms. Diner enjoyed the Pasta alla Giuseppe, shrimps, red onion, garlic, roasted red pepper, diced hot red pepper, roasted roma tomato, artichoke hearts – large portion with jumbo tiger shrimp, plenty of artichokes, not for the faint of heart. Delicate pasta, light sauce with strong garlic flavor, it was almost too spicy, although Ms. Diner was completely satisfied.

For a taste of gourmet Italian cuisine, service with class, in a location with tons of character, we highly recommend Mulberry, Lackawanna’s hidden gem.

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