Call me crazy, but I'll drive to Austin to eat at Carino's Italian Restaurant before I eat at an Olive Garden.

You know the saying about how you never truly appreciate something until it's gone? Well that statement is completely true.

I was born and raised in Waco, and there was always a Carino's around. They serve the absolute best Italian food, and their chicken fettuccine alfredo is my all time favorite. Growing up my family and I frequented Carino's, and when I started earning my own money as a teenager, my friends and I always headed to Carino's for their family night specials.

But then disaster struck in 2016 when the Carino's on Valley Mills closed its doors for good. Reports from the Waco Tribune  state that the closure was most likely due to the bankruptcy that Carino's parent company was facing.

To be honest though, nothing was ever the same after an elderly couple crashed their car into the restaurant and took out the kitchen. I'm sure it wasn't a cheap repair, and the company obviously was already experiencing financial difficulties.

So there went the Carino's in Waco, leaving the closest locations in Waxahachie and Austin. Thank goodness that Waco is in a central location because I'm not sure what would have happened if alternatives were not available. Today my cousin and I took a trip to Austin solely to visit the Carino's on Parmer Lane.

Let me tell you, the drive was well worth it! Of course I would much prefer a Carino's in Temple for easier access. If Denny's can make a come back then Carino's can too!

Have you ever ate a Carino's Italian restaurant? What's a good Italian alternative in Central Texas?

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