OGDEN — If you’re looking for a family atmosphere with plenty of quality Italian food, look no further than Rovali’s Ristorante Italiano on Ogden’s Historic 25th Street.

Alex Montanez, owner of Rovali’s, wants 25th Street to be a destination for people around the globe, not just for those in Ogden or in Utah.

Though he’s been a lifelong Ogden resident, his restaurant got its start in Layton before moving to downtown Ogden after four years. He said there’s no beating a location like 25th Street.

Since 2010, Rovali’s has called Ogden home, serving hungry customers for the past eight years. Montanez sold his prior business and decided to open the restaurant, choosing to focus on his family.

Ever since Rovali’s started, it’s been a family affair. The two head chefs, Chef Ro and Chef Miguel, are Montanez’s sons-in-law. His daughters are the restaurant’s baker (Andrea) and general manager (Felicia). Alex’s wife, Kim, handles the finances. His grandson Nico is getting his start as a busboy.

“It’s not about the money,” Montanez said. “It’s more about the family.”

And at Rovali’s, you’re treated as such.

Montanez always tries to remember the names and faces of those who dine at his establishment. He tells stories of people who have returned to the restaurant only to be surprised when he remembers their names, orders, and where they sat during previous visits.

As far as the food goes, it’s often compared to what mother used to make, and sometimes better, Montanez says.

If you ask what his favorite dish is, he’ll say it’s the Linguine with Clams, a dish of sautéed seafood over pasta with olive oil and clam broth. Montanez says the Eggplant Parmesan is the most popular dish, sure to satisfy your comfort-food craving.

If you have a picky eater, everyone is sure to enjoy the Proscuitto Tortellini, with pieces of cured ham served with Alfredo sauce over tasty tortellini, according to the owner.

But what is the best-kept secret on Rovali’s menu? Montanez says it’s the pizza. If you like a little bit of everything on your pie, try the House Pizza, topped with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, sausage, mushrooms, onions and bell peppers.

While you’re enjoying your meal, enjoy one of Rovali’s signature cocktails, created from scratch by the restaurant’s staff.

Rovali’s holds a number of unique events, including — most recently — the 4th annual Sinatra Birthday Bash, complete with the legend’s favorite dishes. The menu included Seafood Linguini, signature Martini, and homemade Cannoli.

Around Halloween, tickets often sell out for the annual Poe Night, which features poetry enthusiasts reciting the many works of Edgar Allen Poe.

If you’re looking for entertainment to help ring in the new year, consider buying your ticket for Rovali’s New Years Eve Dinner Show. With two shows available, those who attend will be treated to dinner specials and live music. You can get your tickets online at Rovali’s website (www.rovalis.com) or by calling 801-394-1070.

Whether it’s for a special event or just a night out, Rovali’s is sure to satisfy your cravings for Italian cuisine and give you a meal you won’t soon forget.

Jacob Scholl is the Cops and Courts Reporter for the Standard-Examiner. Email him at jscholl@standard.net and follow him on Twitter at @Jacob_Scholl.

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