When Maria's closed down in 2013 I thought I wouldn't see another restaurant quite like it in the Rockford area.

Fast forward to May of this year when Steve Shannon noticed that Maria's former owner, Joe Cason, was set to open a new joint in Loves Park.

Months went by and there wasn't much said or heard about this new restaurant. That was until last week.

WIFR reported, "A familiar restaurant owner opens his doors again with a restaurant in Loves Park."

Casa di Amici is Cason's new restaurant and it's in place of the old Mr. J's at 200 E. Riverside.

I was disappointed when Maria's closed up in 2013, but I couldn't be happier to see a new place opening, especially when Cason "says guest(s) will see some similar flavors as his previous restaurant Maria's."

While I haven't ate at Casa di Amici yet, it looks nearly identical to what you'd get served at Maria's.

The Rockford Register Star says Casa di Amici "will be open from 3 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday."

Who knows? If Casa di Amici serves pizza, maybe I'll stop by for a quick Top This episode.

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Top This! Sweet Lenny's Search For Rockford's Best Pizza