Saluto’s Italian Restaurant — Gurnee, IL

Just like when I go down South, when I go visit my father-in-law … there are some local restaurants in the greater Chicago area that I absolutely MUST visit. As I said, Quonset Hut is definitely one of them … and so is Saluto’s Italian!

Saluto’s is a family-run restaurant, and the care they take with each entree is evident on your plate. The food is always hot and fast–despite the fact that they stay busy–and the selections you can find on their menu include lots of Italian standards … along with quite a few novel approaches to pasta and sauce.

I usually have the salad with my meal at Saluto’s. Their salad is legendary: fresh greens, cheese, olives, tomatoes, onions, pepperoncini peppers, and a pesto-based dressing that would even be excellent on a rusted car bumper … much less on a great salad. However, my throat was still a little sore, thanks to all the pollen I encountered down South … so I decided to have the soup instead: an excellent homemade minestrone.

A couple of times, I looked longingly at the salads others were eating (only because I really love it … I even make a version of their dressing at home) … but my soup was an excellent substitute for their crispy salads. It was hot, salty and flavorful, which is the absolute best thing you can spoon into yourself when you have a sore throat and itchy sinuses. It was an excellent way to soothe my throat … and wake my taste buds up for my main course.

And what a main course it was :)

There are probably no less than 20 different dishes I could enjoy at Saluto’s … but I always keep going back to the same dish: Rotolo :)

I first had Rotolo at my brother-in-law’s wedding … and–even though I’d eaten it several times since then–I can’t ever seem to get enough of it. I also don’t claim to be an Italian food expert … but I’ve never seen Rotolo on any other menu.

Saluto’s makes their Rotolo from scratch, much like many of their other signature dishes. They start with a thick, fresh pasta sheet, and layer it with chopped spinach, thin-sliced prosciutto, ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan. They roll it up, a la jelly roll style, tie it … and then poach it until it’s cooked through. From there, they slice it into 3/4-inch rounds … bake it … and then serve it with their dense homemade alfredo sauce.

I know. You gained five pounds just reading that description. But that’s okay. It is, quite simply, awe-inspiring … even with all those calories! :)

Final score: Saluto’s deserves an A, period! They’ve never disappointed me or my tastebuds … ever! In fact, I’m eating my leftovers for lunch soon (probably Saturday), and I’ll probably take a half gallon of their salad dressing home with me when I go, too … simply because we love it so much!

About Lane

Just a canner ... on this food journey called life :)
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4 Responses to Saluto’s Italian Restaurant — Gurnee, IL

  1. Lane says:

    OOPS! I forgot the address :(

    You can find Saludo’s at:

    7680 Grand Avenue
    Gurnee, IL 60031
    Phone (847) 356-6900
    Fax (847) 356-4334

  2. John Zipay says:

    Implied in your comment, “I even make a version of their salad dressing at home,” is that you’ve developed a clone recipe. Even though my wife and I live in Nebraska, we ate at Saluto’s earlier this year at a bar mitzvah event. We bought one of their quart jugs of dressing to take home. That was followed with a delivery of 2 gallons (in the Marukan Rice Vinegar hard-shell containers) of dressing by the bar mitzvah parents when they visited here. If you do have a clone recipe, could you possibly share it? Or, if not, can you offer your assessment of the key ingredients in some kind of proportion? (My wife is in foodservice and has even talked about getting an analysis from a testing lab.) Any suggestions you can offer will be appreciated. Thanks.

  3. Lane says:

    hi John!…it’s nice to meet another Saludo’s fan!…and i KNEW they used Marukan! :)

    i’m getting ready to enjoy some of it this evening, in fact…my husband saved me a little from what i sent him…so i have a nice spinach salad planned for supper…i didn’t make notes the last time i made it (yes, i’m one of those people…i cook from taste…writing down recipes isn’t ‘natural’ for me…but i’m working on it)….but i remember everything i put in it last time…so let me taste it again this evening, and i’ll see if i can come back and give you at least an idea of proportions…

  4. Lane says:

    mmmm…i made a spinach-based “kitchen sink” salad for dinner (spinach, red onion, green bell pepper, carrots, tomatoes, shredded sharp cheddar, and then topped with olives, deli ham and turkey) that we drowned in the last of the Saluto’s dressing…it was…epic :)

    i thought about it, but i’d really have to make it to give you a real idea of proportions…because–as i said–i don’t really do much in that whole measuring/recipe arena…i usually just add enough so that it looks/tastes right…so i’ll try to remember to come back here the next time i make it to post about it…

    basically, i make it by blending olive oil, Marukan, fresh basil, fresh garlic, pine nuts and grated asiago cheese in my food processor…then i add a little fresh-cracked pepper…just a tiny amount of salt (a pinch or two to bring out the sweetness)…and if it’s not quite sweet enough from there….i’ve been known to add in just a little balsamic on occasion, too…

    it may not be exactly right…but it’s still tasty :)

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