For many people, a mention of Italian food conjures images of a big plate of spaghetti covered in tomato sauce and meatballs, but the three winners in the Best of Texoma Best Italian Restaurant category prove there’s much more to the cuisine than that one dish. The local community honored Fera’s Italian Restaurant, Olive Garden and Devolli’s Italian Restaurant because of their variety and their ability to serve up classic Italian food.

The Fera family moved to North Texas from New York City in the early 1980s and their Sherman restaurant has been in operation since 1997, so local diners have a long history with their food.

“There is something for everyone at Fera’s,” owner Sami Fera said via email. “Some of the most popular dishes include our homemade lasagna, creamy shrimp alfredo and our New York style pizzas. Most of our customer base has grown up eating our food, and they have become part of our family. We have served them for the last 20 years and look forward to serving them for many more.”

Devolli’s owner Frank Devolli said his restaurant also tries to create a family atmosphere with live music, friendly staff and personal attention from him.

“At Devolli’s, we like for people to feel like they’re family,” Devolli said. “They have a variety of food to choose from, not just your typical Italian dishes. Our fettuccine Alfredo is one of our most popular dishes along with chicken cappuccino. All of our sauces are made from scratch and we believe that’s why people keep returning. Our customers are the reason we’re still around.”

The Olive Garden brand was founded in 1982 on the principles to provide a “warm and welcoming” experience for everyone who dines there. Those principles combined with its food led to rapid expansion that made it the largest chain of Italian themed restaurants in the nation, the website of the restaurant’s parent company Darden Restaurants states.

“Inspired by Italian generosity and food made with love, Olive Garden’s menu is always changing and expanding to ensure that there is always a new dish to try, a new flavor to discover,” the website states.

Managers at the Olive Garden in Sherman weren’t authorized to speak with the media and the district manager could not be reached comment.