LAYTON — Gabor Brothers Main Street Grill & Pizzeria is located in a small building aglow with neon lights at night. The snug dining room seats about 50.
The first thing I noticed as I walked in the door was Lester — a life-size plastic figure resembling a member of the Addams Family — greeting me with an offering of hard candy.
To my left I spied a wall filled with signed photographs from famous people who have tried the food during the 14 years the eatery has operated, while another wall showcased plaques and awards. The establishment, often packed with diners, was recently voted the restaurant most “worth the wait.”
Original paintings and pizza boxes decorated with colorful designs added to the eclectic décor and the atmosphere was very relaxed.
Jeff and Nicole Gabor are hands-on owners, with Jeff working primarily as a cook while his wife Nicole greets customers and takes care of behind-the-scenes paperwork.
Jeff was raised by Hungarian immigrants and learned to cook from his mom. The menu specializes in Italian dishes with Hungarian specials.
Gabor Brothers Main Street Grill & Pizzeria
Address: 197 N. Main St., Layton
Hours: 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Tuesday–Friday and 12 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday and Saturday
Running a restaurant is something Jeff wanted to do for a long time. “The restaurant business is wild. I love this building. It is a unique place, it is small. I think that is what people like about it – it makes it cozy and homey,” he said. “It was built in 1956. We have loyal people who love it. I really love the cooking.”
During my visit last week, I was warmly welcomed by the staff and seated in a booth with rectangles of newsprint as place mats. I couldn’t wait to try the steamed mussels appetizer to see if it has earned its reputation.
The first dishes to arrive were two bowls of homemade soup ($3.49/cup or $5.99/bowl). The Italian version had potatoes and sausage. Its Hungarian counterpart was made with small pieces of chicken and pasta in broth. Both had exceptional flavor and made a comforting meal.
Next up was a giant platter with a pound of mussels in the shell ($13.99) swimming in a creamy wine and butter sauce with tomatoes and onions and a pair of flaky, warm breadsticks. It was as tasty as it was fun to eat.
Pastas are a main attraction on the menu with selections like shrimp scampi ($18.99) over linguine; linguine with clams ($16.99) in rich garlic cream sauce; eggplant parmesan ($15.99) topped with marinara, meat sauce or alfredo; and cheese ravioli ($11.99).
Indecisive diners may opt for the Brothers Trio ($19.99) — a dish that includes homemade meat lasagna, chicken or eggplant parmesan and choice of fettuccine alfredo or spaghetti with meat sauce or marinara.
Gluten free pastas are available upon request.
I opted for a sandwich instead and was impressed by the large portions. Popular subs include meatball ($11.99) and cheese steak ($11.99) served on a French roll with choice of fries, onion rings, green salad or a cup of soup.
The extensive menu includes salads, such as Italian ($9.99) topped with pepperoni, salami, ham, onion, tomatoes, olives, artichoke hearts, cheese, croutons and dried cranberries with a breadstick; and burgers like the Royale with cheese ($9.99), made with 1/3 pound of beef, sautéed mushrooms, onions, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles and choice of fries, green salad or soup.
Pizzas (starting at $13.99) are customized with thin, thick or stuffed crust and a variety of toppings, ranging from pepperoni, olives or mushrooms to zucchini, artichoke hearts or homemade meatballs. Giant calzones ($14.99) are another specialty.
“We built this place. I put in every piece of flooring and made the tables and everything,” Jeff said of completely remodeling the interior when they opened. “We built it twice. We had a fire six years ago and had to start all over again. People really care about this building. We really like doing what we are doing and people really support us. That is the best part.”