Carrabba’s Italian Grill is one of America’s most popular Italian-themed chain restaurants, with about 250 locations throughout the country. What started as a family-owned restaurant in 1986 is today a certified behemoth (it’s the second-largest Italian-themed chain restaurant, behind Olive Garden), but our pick for America’s best Italian restaurant chain hasn’t forgotten its family roots.
Photo by Loren A. via Yelp
Those two Houston locations that initially sparked Outback’s interest? While they may look like all the others (they’ve been thoroughly renovated by now), they’re still owned by the Carrabba family, separate from Bloomin’ Brands.
Called Cucina Sicilia, the cooking show can be found on your local PBS station; the duo prepare Sicilian classics, some of which can be found on the Carrabba’s menu.
The dish, which tops a chicken breast with goat cheese, sundried tomatoes, and a basil lemon-butter sauce, was created by Mandola and was named after Bryan, Texas, the town where Carrabba’s parents settled after immigrating to the U.S. in the early 1900s. You can find the recipe here.
If you sign up for their loyalty club, you’ll receive updates about new menu specials, as well as invitations to events including wine tastings, special dinners, and cooking demonstrations.
Surprisingly, the unhealthiest item on the Carrabba’s menu is Cavatappi Franco, which tops spiral-shaped pasta with grilled chicken, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli, olives, garlic, olive oil, and ricotta salata. A bowl contains 1,266 calories, 76 grams of fat, and 1,917 milligrams of cholesterol.
A handful of Carrabba’s locations in the Tampa Bay area have recently begun experimenting with home delivery. No word on whether this will become permanent or if more locations will roll out delivery as well.
Carrabba’s added 20 new items to their menu in January, and they really pulled out all the stops to promote it. One million customers received a voucher for a free appetizer, entrée, or small plate, and between January and early March all customers received a flat 20 percent discount off their checks. Pretty generous!