I had been hearing about Relli’s in Dewitt for some time. Those who live in the area claim it’s the local go-to hang out to have a beer and watch a game. Others would chime in that it was a great place to go with a family. I had never really heard that much about the food so I had to investigate. This is what I found. Relli’s in Dewitt is having an identity crisis. The name lends itself to conjuring up images of typical bar food: deep fried appetizers, burgers, pizza, etc. However, the heart of Relli’s is in its homemade, complete-from-scratch Italian fare. Hello! Ravioli, lasagna, manicotti …. let’s at least nickname it “Momma Relli’s” or something to that effect. Again, the aesthetics of the typical Italian restaurant are almost completely absent from Relli’s décor. There are no checked tables clothes with melting candles shoved into a Chianti bottle. However, in terms of a sports bar, all the bases are covered. It is a casual and comfortable space laden with many flat-screen TVs. Almost every table has an unobstructed view of whatever game needs attention. There is also a small arcade area that allows for some more dynamic competitive action and a way to keep the kids occupied. These particular offerings solidify Relli’s ability to entertain both adults looking for a great place to relax and have fun, as well as those with families who are looking to do the same. Let’s get back to the menu. Relli’s does offer many classic bar food choices. The menu has an array of burgers and sandwiches. The pizza looked wonderful and I have heard many good things about it. There are also salads, ribs, steak, chicken, etc. However, the real star of the show is the Italian food. Relli’s makes almost all of their pastas and sauce in-house. The breads are made daily as well. The choices are not fancy; mostly the pasta that everyone is familiar with, but they are served with a simple and classic charm. I decided the best way to get to know Relli’s was with one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, the stuffed shells. My dining partner went with the cheese stuffed rigatoni smothered in a creamy roasted red pepper sauce. First up though was a basket of homemade bread accompanied with an oil dip filled with sweet and salty black olives. It was great for slopping and slathering as we ate our house salad, which had a homemade Italian dressing with a lot of vinegary bite.
Next up were the entrees. My stuffed shells were filled with a creamy spinach and ricotta and topped with a lovely marinara sauce. They were plump and pleasing. Though I enjoyed my shells, my friend totally out ordered me. The cheese-stuffed rigatoni (which frankly I did not know existed) was awesome. The rigatoni, being fresh, was the perfect texture. The sauce, which looked a lot like a creamy tomato and basil soup, was sweet, rich and silky. In fact it was so good I ordered some to put on my shells. One way Relli’s does not have an identity crisis is in their prices. They are so reasonable they completely lend themselves to the comfortable and approachable place that it is. Their daily lunch specials do not even break the $4 mark. You can get a huge plate of homemade spaghetti for less than $4? Burger King can bite me. The value of the food and the quality of the offerings makes Relli’s a place worthy of your time and dime. So, grab your family and friends and take a trip to Relli’s. Good food and fun are awaiting you. Relli’s is at 202 E. Main St., DeWitt. Contact them at (517) 669-9243.
Colette Evangelista sells certified organic, non-toxic beauty, health, baby and home products at www.healthandhopeorganics.com. Twenty percent of her profits go to Ascending Above Autisim, a charity that helps parents pay for autism treatment.