Each family has certain long-held tasty traditions–although some are doubtlessly tastier than others (kids may be secretly looking forward to the day when Mom is not feeling up to making the weekly broccoli casserole). My family has been going to the same family-owned Italian pizzeria and restaurant, Attilio’s, for more than 25 years. We’ve changed locations with them, absorbed their price adjustments, and always happily eaten the authentic Italian fare. We only ever order one thing: the calzone, a giant crescent-shaped mass of dough filled with melted mozzarella and fluffy ricotta. Every time I’ve tried a calzone elsewhere, in hopeful anticipation of a taste similar to Attilio’s piece de résistance, I have been disappointed. So, when I went there about two weeks ago and made the familiar left- and right-turns through the parking lot, I discovered that it had been replaced with another eatery. My heart (momentarily) stopped and my stomach sank. I felt like I had been broken up with and was the last to find out. In its place was another Italian restaurant, Biaggio. It looks more upscale and more done-up than our family favorite, which was scantily decorated and tucked between a liquor store and an ice cream parlor. I was ready to turn around and leave, but at the urging of my companions, I got a take-out menu and gave it a quick, skeptical once-over while remaining in the car. We collectively decided to try it out. Admittedly, I had an ulterior motive–namely seeing how superior the predecessor was to its replacement. My secret hope was decidedly squashed before even trying the calzone. While waiting for it to be made, I overheard two women at the adjacent table talking about what they remembered about the previous tenant and what they liked the last time they ate at the new restaurant. They were happy with the new food. Hm. When the calzone arrived, it looked just as good as our family favorite. It was slightly golden, large, and piping hot. The first bite was a pleasant surprise. It was ooey, gooey, fresh, and–yes–delicious! It isn’t Attilio’s, but it’s certainly comparable. Lesson learned: Give new places a chance! If you haven’t done research on a restaurant beforehand and have no concrete reason for not trying it, it may be worth the small risk! Have any of your favorite eateries been replaced? Have you given it a chance?