The Flying Tomato branches off of the bar and grill, Trolley’s, as a more family-oriented restaurant. You can literally walk through the bar into the restaurant, separated only by a narrow hallway and a drastic lighting change. From the outside, The Flying Tomato’s green building stands out amongst all the bars and coffee shops and fortunately, it is easy to get to, despite the hassle of parking downtown.
The building itself is brighter than most, and once you step inside, you can feel an exaggerated Italian atmosphere around you, with murals on the walls of Italian scenery and a few depictions of tomatoes splattered about. It’s slightly ironic that through a hallway lies the complete opposite: a dark bar and grill.
My group arrived around 6:30 and we immediately noticed the building was practically empty. Only a couple women sat at a table, and one server stood near the entryway. Typically, empty restaurants don’t bode well for the experience. I’m glad to say this wasn’t the case.
The waitress, Ashley, immediately offered us any table in the house, and after seating ourselves, she treated us with nothing but pure courtesy and fine service. She regularly refilled my drink, constantly checked if we wanted more bread, which of course we did, and even chatted with us a little, without butting into our conversations too much.
After debating for some time, Marily and I split the Tuscan Spinach Dip, made fresh from spinach with a three-cheese dip that came with chips or bread. The appetizer spread before us in no time flat. Marily and I both agreed that while the dip was good and we continued to devour it, it definitely could have had a richer taste.
The menu is the basic American selection: pastas, pizza, steak, chicken, and sandwiches, even though the restaurant definitely seems more grounded in the Italian flair. Because of that, I ordered the Cavatelli, which, according to the menu’s description, is a “shell pasta tossed in our rich cheesy alfredo sauce and touched with fresh garlic and parmiagiano cheese.” I also ordered a salad with the house dressing.
The nice thing about the salad: free refills.
The sad thing about the salad: I didn’t want any.
The lettuce tasted watery and the dressing was a little too sweet for my liking. This was a slight disappointment but nothing dampened my spirits about eating pasta.
As soon as the server set the Cavatelli in front of me, I was immediately reminded of Springfield Brewing Company’s delicious Mac & Cheese. The presentation was lovely, with cheese bits scattered on top, as well as garlic sprinkled over the shells. Upon first taste, the dish was a little too hot to actually absorb the flavor, but after waiting a little bit, I finally dug into my meal.
The Cavatelli not only looked like Brew Co.’s Mac & Cheese, it also tasted quite a bit like it. Excluding the fact that the Cavatelli was spicier, the dish definitely reminded me of macaroni and cheese. Whether or not they were going for that, I’m not sure, but regardless, it was rather enjoyable. I felt like it could have been cheesier, especially after the repeated advertisement in 99 percent of The Flying Tomato’s pastas that said, “rich, cheesy alfredo sauce.” Overall, it was a typical Italian meal at a low cost.
Also: I advise future customers to order the smaller sized dishes. There are two prices listed for each meal: one is for the large portion, the other for the regular sized. Either way, you definitely won’t spend a fortune on a meal, but the smaller one is more than worth it. Additionally, if you order any appetizers or even a salad, the regular dish will fill you up completely. All four of us girls had leftovers to take home with us.
Price Range: $7-$15
The Flying Tomato on Facebook
107 Park Central Sq., Springfield, MO 65806