Salvador’s Italian Grill in Jefferson

Salvador's interior

I have not yet tried Jefferson’s (not) many offerings, but I can virtually guarantee that Salvador’s is going to be its best. Salvador’s, located in the Kroger shopping center on 129, easily holds its own with DePalma’s in nearby Athens. If you’re a local, you may remember Ristorante Roberto in Watkinsville; Salvador is Roberto’s slightly classier and more talented cousin.

Rick & JoAnn Frontera, the accommodating, affable owners/chefs, use recipes that have been in Rick’s family for four generations. After about 100 years, they know what they’re doing and are masters! Pasta is cooked perfectly; the meat sauce is TOTAL HEAVEN–spiced so well. We couldn’t stop eating it. Truly exceptional.

Salvador's interior 2’s lone review on this place disses its wine list, but I must disagree. Not only did they have more choices than I expect from a small, rural Italian restaurant, they were knowledgeable about them and offered tastings so you can find exactly what you like. Service was super-friendly and down-home, which is one of the lovely things about a non-chain, mom-and-pop place. These people are excited about their food and their restaurant. They show the passion of true lovers of food in their generosity of portion, presentation, technique, and service.

The reviewer did get the rest right, though: “There is an ambiance of pride in this place and rightfully so.”

If you’re on your way to Athens from Gainesville or Atlanta, skip nasty, boring 316 and head up 129. You won’t be sorry (and the drive is beautiful).

Kristen and JoAnn Frontera

Amazing meat sauce!


Edited to insert the most HILARIOUS part of my dining experience! JoAnn said they had to change the name from “Salvador’s Sicilian Grill” because people kept coming in and asking what KIND OF FOOD they serve (as in, “Is this a Mexican restaurant?”). HAHAHAHAHA! Classic.

1681 Old Pendergrass Rd # 100, Jefferson, GA‎
(706) 387-0318‎

Salvador’s Sicilian Grill

Salvador's Sicilian Grill on Urbanspoon


8 thoughts on “Salvador’s Italian Grill in Jefferson

  1. I fully agree with your review. This place rocks. The chefs went above and beyond to make sure that my meal was 100% enjoyable. He even brought me out a sample of something he suggested I add to my pasta! Totally classy! I will be back!

  2. Anything you want
    from the pasta, to the steak, the more country side of lunch,to the clasic,or over the top breakfast ! its your choice.

  3. Thanks so much for the review. I’m new to this blog and thankful for it. My girlfriend passes this place every day on the way to work. I take 129 to Atlanta and pass this place every time. I always wondered about it.

    As a huge foodie and less importantly, a cook, I really like to have my ear to the local food scene. I’ll admit it, I gave up on italian food in Athens. At least what i’m used to as an Italian. So thanks for pointing out this place is worth the short drive.

    I haven’t been yet, but will be soon. Thanks again, you have a new and very loyal fan. If you ever need an opinion, a recommendation, or an eating partner…feel free to let me know.

    Best burger in Athens is probably Big City Bread Burger by the way. Royale with Cheese at the Royal Peasant is in the discussion also.


  4. I have been. It’s definitely authentic, just not my region of Italy. I’m a carpaccio addict, so I go often. I am, however, appalled by the gnocci every time I try it. Growing up with good gnocci, it’s just really bad.

    That said, I do still enjoy the other offerings. It’s a little pricey for a regular stop, but on special occasions I stop by.

    The owner/chef, Antonio is about to open a meatball place right by my house. That has me a little pumped!

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