By Sherrie Martin —

Italian food is a favorite among many Americans, including myself. While colder days bundled in blankets and two hands gripping a mug are upon us, we can all agree pasta, bread or any carb wrapped in gluttony is the ultimate comfort food. While I have nothing against chain restaurants (Olive Garden is usually where I end up when I have a hankering for Italian), breaking away from a favorite chain restaurant can be a gratifying adventure.

In my search for local, affordable Italian cuisine in Louisville, I stumbled upon Pesto’s. I immediately noticed the unique art hanging from the walls and the thick accents of the staff, both adding to the establishment’s authenticity. I was on Fifth Street in Downtown Louisville, but for the time being I was in a café in Italy.

When I asked Kolton Kontour, a patron seated nearby what his favorite thing about Pesto’s, it was returned with an obvious duh-statment: “the quality of the food.”

“You can tell that your food isn’t just sitting in the kitchen pre-made. I come here a few times a month on my lunch break, and the food has been near perfect every time,” said Kontour.

There was a lunch crowd- Pesto’s only serves dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings- so I expected to be waiting at my table for some time. I was fine with this though, because the fresher-than-Olive Garden bread and butter was more than a satisfying distraction.

To my surprise, the food arrived in a very reasonable amount of time, and it was evident that it was freshly made, just as Kontour had said it would be. The first bit of a meal is always the best. It’s better when you realize the tender, piping hot and baked lasagna you’re eating cost only seven dollars.

On a side note, while I opted for my favorite Italian cuisine, Pesto’s also serves up Persian (Iranian) food. I thought this unexpected combo was a really neat twist, adding to the character of an already interesting eatery.

If you can’t afford a plane ticket across the Atlantic, I urge you to take a trip to Fifth Street and visit Pesto’s. Have a glass of wine with your pasta and enjoy the unique art adorning the walls. This paired with the charming accents of the staff, you will forget you are in Louisville – if only just for a lunch break.