This week’s restaurant: Johnny Carino’s, 12240 Foothill Blvd. (at Day Creek), Rancho Cucamonga.
Carino’s is an Italian chain with a location near Victoria Gardens. I stopped in for lunch last week while I was in the ‘hood.
It wasn’t packed — is any place packed for lunch these days? — but there were several full tables. The greeter, who turned out to be the manager, sat me in the bar area. There’s a lot of wood and a moderately classy feel to the decor.
A basket of doughy hot rolls was brought out, as was a plate of roasted garlic and olive oil for dipping. I ordered the salad/sandwich combo, getting a Caesar salad and half an Italian meatball panini ($8.99).
The salad was blah, but the sandwich, loaded with split meatballs, provolone and marinara, was inhaled. Housemade potato chips, not bad, accompanied the sandwich.
Johnny Carino’s is perhaps slightly better than Olive Garden, although your mileage may vary. Find the lunch and dinner menus here.