Making the Grade: Fratelli’s Ristorante Italiano


By Stacey Patton Wallace

As I’ve mentioned many times, I taught English for the Troup County School System in LaGrange, Georgia. Long before that, I attended K-12th grade in the Alexander City School System (“Eleck” City to the locals.). I then attended college, first at Alexander City State Junior College and then Auburn University and later, Troy State University in Phenix City.

In those approximately 21 years of being a student, I was blessed to have been taught by many wonderful teachers/professors. Also, as a classroom teacher, I had the privilege to work with many terrific educators.

However, of all those educators I witnessed in 51 years, the very best one was Dr. Terry C. Ley, Professor Emeritus from Auburn University. Dr. Ley was my professor, advisor and mentor when I was earning my Master’s of Education Degree in English Education at Auburn.

Also, Ley led me to my teaching career. Bette Whitley from the Troup County School System had called Ley, wanting to interview newly graduated English teachers. Ley gave me Whitley’s phone number, I called her and set up an interview and I was hired.

When I called Whitley, I asked for directions to Lee’s Crossing Middle School in LaGrange.

At the time I called her, she was interviewing another new teacher for her staff. That teacher told her how I should come from Alex. City to LaGrange, and she gave me his directions. That other young teacher? He was Mike Wallace, my future husband. Mike tells people that he was giving me the directions to get to him. I know … awww.

Last June, I was so happy to have had the opportunity to write a feature story about Dr. Ley and his amazing 40-year teaching career in the magazine Live Lee. Ley was the most compassionate, gifted teacher I have ever seen; he could have read aloud the phone book and made it interesting.

When Mike and I married in 2005, the Leys were at our wedding. Now that we live in Auburn, we enjoy dining with them. Last week, we met the Leys at Fratelli’s Ristorante Italiano at 1445 S. College St. in Auburn.

I LOVE Italian food, and Fratelli’s is the REAL deal. Alessandro Fratelli, the owner, was born in Rome, Italy, and he has a delightful Italian accent. Alessandro and his brother Stefano opened Fratelli’s in 2017. While Alessandro runs Fratelli’s in Auburn, Stefano is over the Columbus location.

When Mike and I arrived at Fratelli’s, Dani, our waitress, was so welcoming, helpful and patient. We ordered our beverages, and Dani brought us some delicious, homemade bread, still warm from the oven.

When the Leys arrived shortly thereafter, they ordered their drinks. Also, we all ordered appetizers. Mike and I chose Al’s knots, which were six homemade garlic rolls made with Fratelli’s pizza dough, topped with garlic butter sauce and loaded with parmesan cheese. Oh, my. I’m getting hungry now just writing about it.

The Leys chose the garlic cheesy bread. Mrs. Ley kindly offered us a slice. Oh, my two times. We’ll order that next time. And there will DEFINITELY be a next time.

For his meal, Mike chose the shrimp scampi, and I picked the lasagna. Dr. Ley ordered the fettuccine Alfredo, and Mrs. Ley chose the gnocchi sorrentina, which was potato pasta tossed in a cheesy tomato and basil sauce topped with mozzarella and baked to perfection. Everything was amazing!

As if I hadn’t had a million carbohydrates (Remember, I’m the “Pooh-sized” diabetic.), I ordered the lava cake for dessert. Oh, my three times. The Leys shared tiramisu. Mrs. Ley said, “That’s the best tiramisu I’ve ever had.” Thankfully, we all refrained from licking our plates.

Besides our wonderful pasta dishes, Fratelli’s also offers other choices, some of which include: spaghetti meatball, penne carbonara, tortellini Corleone, lobster ravioli and eggplant parmesan. In addition, diners may choose from entrees such as: chicken cacciatore, pork chop, ribeye, soft shell crab and lobster crusted grouper, among others. Fratelli’s also has a great selection of soups, salads, pizza and handheld items. Believe me, run and do not walk, to this restaurant.

Fratelli’s Ristorante Italiano is closed on Sunday. The restaurant is open Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5 to 10 p.m. and on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Dr. and Mrs. Ley, this one was for you. Love you both!

Fratelli’s Ristorante Italiano makes the grade with an A+ from this retired English teacher. Remember, “Pooh-sized” people NEVER lie about food. Enjoy!

  Stacey Patton Wallace, who retired from teaching language arts for 30 years, is a professional diner. Her column, “Making the Grade,” will appear each week in the Observer. Stacey may be reached at


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