The mid-week slump can easily be ascended from with some pre-”sweater weather” shopping in the Mid-Valley area. Stylish, bargain-loving ladies and gents, you know exactly what we’re talking about. *wink* Yes, we succumbed to the desire for the serotonin surge brought about by searching for and ultimately finding that “perfect” fitting, must-have, absolutely NEEDED piece of fashion attire. YUP! We dove into the retail therapy provided by the Rio Grande Premium Outlets, did some speed walking from store to store, and worked up a nice appetite before our next delightful destination.

Well, after all that rigorous cardio and “heavy lifting” (of shopping bags), we deemed it appropriate to treat ourselves to some hearty comfort food. We found this quaint, family owned and operated Italian restaurant to dine at. It was exactly what we were looking for.

Upon entering Cortino’s Italian Restaurant, we were immediately extended a warm welcome, escorted to the second dining room and seated at our table of choice. Cortino’s, established by John and Mary Cortino,opened its doors for business in 1966 and recently celebrated its 50th anniversary in June of 2016.


Trisha: So, just how hungry are we? I mean, are we talking an order of Bruschetta, Calamari, Eggplant Parmigiana, OR are we more along the lines of the Combination Platter (Calamari, mushrooms, cheese sticks)?

Gaby: Well, I was really eyeing the Bruschetta but seeing as how we HAVE TO try the pizza and, of course, the lasagna, I just can’t decide.


When discussing our thoughts on appetizers (out loud), we were graciously pointed in the right direction by our helpful server who quickly informed us that his knowledge on the menu options went as far back as the age of two for him.


Server: Definitely go for the Bruschetta. It's our newest appetizer (it's only been on the menu for like 10 years).


Needless to say, we ordered the Bruschetta (homemade bread topped with tomatoes, basil, olive oil and garlic) and didn’t have an ounce of buyer’s remorse. Our delicious appetizer was followed by some side salads, a basket of fresh, homemade garlic bread and some Minestrone soup. All this was happily devoured before we realized we had also gone ahead and placed the orders for one order of spaghetti with tomato sauce (less sweet than the Marinara sauce) and a complimentary meatball, a small (12 inch) Cortino’s Super Deluxe Pizza (Italian sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions and black olives) AND Lasagna. Yes, there were a few slices of pizza left, but not from lack of want as much as a lack of “storage space”. Hopefully, during a future visit, we’ll be able to save some room for dessert. Lol

Next time you venture into the Mid-Valley area, satisfy your craving for authentic Italian food at Cortino’s Italian Restaurant, located at 2928 W Business 83, Mercedes, Texas. Their hours of operation are: Monday, closed; Tuesday through Friday 11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m-8:30 p.m. *Friday 5:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m.*; Saturday 5:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m.; Sunday 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. For more information, contact the Cortino family at (956) 565-2309 and stay up to date with them on Facebook @cortinositalianrestaurant.


Gaby Jones and Trisha Watts work hand-in-hand with the service industry. Jones is in charge of craft and imported beer for L&F Distributors-South Texas and Watts is a freelance writer specializing in the marketing of the service industry. Each week they will have a new adventure and provide an opinion on multiple locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley. They can be reached at