Lunch Break

At Milanos Italian Cuisine at 500 Main St., the glass front door is often propped open, luring in passersby with enticing Mediterranean scents. Inside, at the end of an intimately lit buffet, Rafic Hachem has welcomed customers to the Downtown staple for 20 years.

Hachem opened Milanos in January 2001. He utilizes 35 years of industry experience to bring diners homemade pastas, pizzas, calzones, Stromboli, and catering options for lunch and dinner.

“This whole block was empty when we came in,” he says. “It happened to be a nice location and a beautiful area close to the Events Plaza and the Victory Theatre.”

Businesspeople, families, lawyers, bankers, and even celebrities like Jerry Seinfeld have strolled into Milanos for an authentic Italian dinner served Monday through Saturday until 8 p.m. But it’s the cafeteria-style lunch combinations — offered weekdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — that have become the restaurant’s fan favorite.

“Most people only have half an hour for lunch,” says Hachem. “They want something nice, quick, hot, and fresh — and we can do that.”

Each combo includes an entrée, two garlic rolls, a drink, and a salad from the self-serve salad bar. The pizza combo is one slice for $6.99 or two for $7.99, while the calzone, Stromboli, and pasta combos are $8.25. Evansville’s lunchtime favorites tend to be the rigatoni carbonara and Stromboli.

The buffet’s display of hunger-inducing dishes brings customers in the door, but it’s Hachem who keeps them coming back. An Evansville resident for 30 years, his personable nature has turned hundreds of regulars into friends.

“The customer is the best thing about my business,” he says. “It makes your job much easier to be with nice people all day long. I enjoy my customers. I love them, and they always give love back.”

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Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen is the managing editor of Evansville Living and Evansville Business magazines.

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