I’ve lived in C-U for almost my whole life and I must admit that I have never eaten at Timpone’s Restaurant. I hear about it all the time but I never actually made it there. One of the major reasons is that it’s located in busy Campustown, but I now find myself exploring campus more and more as I discover new (and old) restaurants here in C-U. One of these restaurants worth the search is Timpone’s.
The restaurant is tucked away next to the Canopy Club, and unless you’re looking for it, it can be tough to spot. We quickly found parking and crossed the street to the entrance. I brought my mom along with me as my culinary research partner. We opened the heavy wooden doors to expose the art deco vestibule. As I walked through the second set of double doors, I could see that the art deco theme is carried into to the bar and quaint seating area. The main floor is has a unique layout. I wasn’t really sure where to go at first. Right as you walk in there are a set of heavily carpeted steps that lead upstairs. I got the attention of the bartender who directed us to the main upstairs dining room. We headed up to see what it had in store for us.
We were welcomed graciously by the host and led to a booth where we settled in to look at our surroundings. The main dining area had warm colored walls, soft tufted booths and gentle music playing slowly in the background. It was very relaxing after a long day. We sat and soaked in the serenity of the atmosphere as we went over our menus.
Our server for the evening was friendly and experienced. He took great care in describing the specials and the ingredients that went into them. We settled on the tomato-based chicken soup made with small rectangular shaped house-made pasta and fresh vegetables ($8). When the server set the bowl in front of us, the heavenly smells of fresh garlic and tomato began to swirl around us. The pulled chicken was tender and the broth had a sweet garlic flavor. The acidity of the tomato base balanced out the dish nicely. The vegetables were cooked to a beautiful texture and the fresh herb croutons that garnished the dish gave it a delightful salty crunch. I would come back just for this soup!
For my entree I chose a more traditional dish of pappardelle with a classic bolognese sauce ($16). Pappardelle is a thick wide noodle that looks very similar to wide fettuccine. At Timpone’s they make a majority of their pastas in house, including the pappardelle. The pasta was cooked to a perfect al dente and the sauce was rich and meaty with a hint of saltiness from the pecorino. When the dish was first set in front of me I thought the portion size was a little small. After eating about half of the dish I quickly changed my mind. It was so filling that I couldn’t even finish the whole portion.
My mom heard that Timpone’s was also known for their pizza so she had to try it. She ordered one of the mouth-watering pizza special they had that evening ($13). It was a spinach pizza topped with artichoke hearts, bell peppers, black olives, sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese. The crust was thin and crispy and the artichokes were slightly sweet with a tender bite. The goat cheese added a nice tangy flavor and the sun-dried tomatoes and olives created a delicious savory finish.
As I relished the last bites of my memorable meal, I found myself daydreaming about the fabulous parties I could have at Timpone’s. There is a lovely private area that can be reserved for special occasions. We had such a wonderful evening it made me want to share it with friends and family. The staff was attentive and the ingredients were fresh and seasonal. The food has a beautiful simplicity about it that Tuscan cuisine is known for. I’m so thrilled that after all of these years, I finally had the opportunity to visit this local favorite. I look forward to going back soon and trying more fresh pasta dishes.
Timpone’s is located at 710 S Goodwin Ave, Urbana, and is open for lunch Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; for dinner Monday through Thursday, 5 to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m.
All photos by Rebecca Wells.