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Dining out: Gepetto's features good food in a laid-back atmosphere

Published: Thursday, March 17 2011 6:04 p.m. MDT

There was music playing at Gepetto's on a recent weekend night when my husband and I braved drizzly conditions to enjoy a dinner date.

In the low-lit, cozy, plant-lined dining room of Gepetto's, a father-and-son team of musicians played Tom Petty, the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, even Snow Patrol. They took requests, bantered with diners and riffed mellow half-forgotten melodies between numbers.

The laid-back set was a good accompaniment to a meal, and a lot like the general experience at Gepetto's: lots of classics, well prepared, served up in a casual and friendly fashion with a few new hits thrown in to keep things interesting.

We started our meal with three house-special "sopapizzas," a fun little riff on sopaipillas, only the dough scones are filled with cheese and a diner's choice of two pizza toppings, with marinara on the side. We had ours with Canadian bacon and green pepper, and they were delicious.

We also had house salads, nice fresh greens with carrots, tomatoes and alfalfa sprouts, plus one of Gepetto's excellent house-made dressings: bitter-salty bleu cheese for my husband, and grassy-fresh creamy cucumber, a lot like ranch but much better, for me.

For dinner, my husband had one of his favorites, the chicken Parmesan: juicy but lean chicken tenderloins, lightly breaded, with tons of cheese and wonderful marinara. On the side was spaghetti with marinara and a big plank of crisp-crusted garlic bread.

I had a new menu item, creamy but firm butternut squash ravioli in a gently flavored tomato cream sauce with tons of snipped fresh basil, pine nuts and Parmesan. It was beautifully balanced between sweet and salty, smooth and crunchy, tangy and bitter.

We were pretty full of good food and good music after that, but we decided to share a "cow pie," in this case a freshly baked, darkly sweet brownie heaped with three scoops of ice cream.

As we headed home, we took a hot Hawaiian pizza with us as a thank-you to our baby sitter, who happened to be our teenage daughter.

We don't pay her to sit for us, feeling that that's part of what she can do for our family, but she felt well compensated after enjoying the pizza's salty Canadian bacon, sweet pineapple tidbits, cheese and excellent chewy-crisp crust.

Appetizers $2.25-$10, salads $4-$10, sandwiches $6.50-$8.50, entr?s $10-$12, pizza $5-$22, dessert $3-$6.

Gepetto's

Rating: ★★★

Where: 2340 E. Murray-Holladay Road, Holladay

Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11a.m.-11p.m.; Sunday, 3-9 p.m.

Phone: 801-272-1061

Payment: Major credit cards accepted

Wheelchair access: Crowded but accessible

Web: www.gepettos-restaurant.com

Also: Takeout available; live music Tuesday-Saturday

Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret News. E-mail: skratz@desnews.com

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