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Dining with Dawn: Not Just Pizza at Cemeno's

This Joliet staple has a good pie, but it might be the other offerings that draw you back again and again.

Eating at Cemeno's Pizza in Joliet might easily be summed up by one quote:

"This is damn good chicken," Wayne Parratore, Patch ad manager said.

I concur. It is the chicken at Cemeno's that got me hooked and made me a repeat customer. That and the Ranch fries.

I had lunch with Parratore and Joliet Patch's this week at the restaurant that is a Joliet staple. If you have lived in this town all your life, you probably work at this place, or at the very least know someone who did.

Let's be honest, Cemeno's is best known for its pizza. And while I cannot eat a regular pizza anymore (only the gluten-free option), I admit that when was hosted here, I ate the toppings off a couple slices. And, what I had was really good. The cheese was ooozy and the sausage was real Italian sausage.

This week I opted for a small antipasto salad and Ranch fries. I love their Ranch fries, which are french fries, topped with melted chedder cheese and bacon and served with ranch.

I am a ranch snob. I am really picky about ranch dressing and the one at Cemeno's not only passes the test, but I also am considering buying a bottle. You can purchase one at the cash register.

My salad was good. Not better or worse than anywhere else. I did clean my plate, though. Ate every bite. Except the hot peppers, but I am a wimp. In previous trips, I have had the spinich salad topped with grilled chicken. The chicken is marinated before it's cooked and placed on my greens and that makes all the difference in the world. Cemeno's is actually my favorite restaurant to order grilled chicken salad.

Parratore had the chicken florentine sandwich. The online menu describes this sandwich as follows: Marinated chicken breast smothered in sauteed mushrooms, Spinach and mozzarella cheese. Served on a tomato foccacia roll with pesto mayo sauce (contains Pine Nuts). What came to the table was a downright pretty sandwich and it was this one that caused the earlier outburst about the chicken.

Sorensen had the meat ravioli with the signature sauce and said it was very good as well.

Parratore and I probably have lunch twice a month to talk business and enjoy the culinary offerings of Joliet. Our last lunch was at one of my favorite Joliet restaurants - .

Parratore is busy getting to work selling ads on Patch for the town in which he lives - Joliet. If you were out at the Taste of Joliet this past weekend and scored a Patch frisbee or sunglasses, it was likely that Parratore was the one throwing them out into the crowd.

He found his way to Joliet years ago from his native Norridge when he was offered a job at WJOL. An adventurous spirit, Parratore might order a sandwich to go from Cemeno's, so that he could take it hiking or golfing or something outdoors. Well, most anything outdoors. Except for maybe one thing.

"I'm an adventure seeker," he said. "No, I don't jump out of planes."

Are you a business wanting to advertise on Patch? Contact Parratore at Wayne.Parratore@patch.com.

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