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Italian eatery opens in Hinesville

POSTED: December 27, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Photo by Alena Parker/

Italiano's owner Mike Dolan stands at the Highway 196 restuarant's reception desk.

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Locals can now get authentic Italian food after Liberty County’s only privately-owned Italian restaurant, Italiano’s, opened last Monday.
Raving of the spaghetti sauce and pizza dough made in-house, owner Mike Dolan is thrilled to finally serve stromboli, baked ziti and other Italian specialties to Liberty County/Fort Stewart residents after hearing about their cravings for years.   
“Hinesville had the need for Italian food,” said Dolan, who is also the general manager at Buffalo’s in Hinesville.
Local resident Richard Mansel concurred.
“As the area grows, we need more variety,” Mansel said. “Having a local Italian restaurant is a wonderful thing.”
Mansel said he has not dined at Italiano’s yet, but plans to take his family soon.
“We like to support local restaurants,” Mansel said. “That’s what Savannah does. So it’s good for us to have the same idea.”
Despite little advertising, Dolan was impressed how people found their way to his restaurant, which is on Georgia Highway 196 near Frank Cochran Extension.
“The response has been good, just with walk-in customers,” he said.
Italiano’s serves pizza, subs and salads, but Dolan said his most popular dishes so far have been manicotti, ravioli and lasagna.
The Brooklyn, N.Y., native said he brings 25 years of experience to his new venture, including management at the New York Pizza Exchange in Atlanta. Plus, “I grew up in an Italian household. I was weaned on it.”
Dolan said if there’s a secret to his food, it’s the preparation.
“I use 100 percent olive oil on everything,” he said.
It will take more than good food, however, to have a successful restaurant.
“Across the board, it’s mainly having a good staff,” Dolan said. “I do have experienced staff and experienced managers.”
More than anything, Dolan said the area’s growth convinced him to open Italiano’s.
“And since the road finally got finished down here, this is sort of opening this end of town,” he said.
He feels his eatery is directly contributing to development in the Highway 196 area.
It offers lunch specials, appetizers and military discounts. Delivery service is on the way.
Dolan hopes Italiano’s becomes a local staple.
“We plan on being here for quite awhile,” he said.
Italiano’s menu ranges from $2.50 for a pizza slice to $17.99 for an 18-inch speciality pizza.
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