Marino's Pizza and Pasta House
Location: 3595 E. Market St., Springettsbury Township
Rebecca's pick: City pasta, $17.35, cup of Italian wedding soup, $3.95, cannoli $2.95
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 10 p.m. Sunday
Price range: $3.95 cup of soup – Italian wedding soup or soup of the day; $19.95 veal marsala
Alcohol: Yes, full bar
Accepts: Cash and credit
Kid's menu: Yes
Details: Call 717-757-2659, visit marinospizzapastahouse.com or search Marino's Pizza and Pasta House on Facebook
Diners walking into Marino's Pizza and Pasta House in Springettsbury Township will likely be greeted by a packed house during weekend dinner service.
While the thought of a crammed parking lot and a line to the hostess station might send some people looking for a second option – fear not: the wait is short, the food arrives quickly and the service is friendly.
Maria and Kevin Spangler, a husband and wife duo who own the restaurant, owe their success to the faithful customers who regularly dine at the restaurant for Sunday dinners, family birthdays and even marriage proposals.
The restaurant was opened by Maria's sister Josie and her husband, Domenick Marino, in 1982. Both born in Italy, the couple wanted to share the tradition of Italian food with the community, Maria Spangler said.
Things started slowly, with just 38 seats and a small menu featuring mostly pizzas and strombolis. By 1986, the couple had purchased a liquor license and a year later remodeled to accommodate 74 seats.
Today, the restaurant can seat 180 guests in two dining rooms – one with light brown, vinyl booths and tables, the other with dark green booths and tables against dark maroon walls. Both are decorated with Italian-themed décor, including paintings, wine corks and bottles.
When the Marinos were looking to retire and squeeze in some travel time, they sold the restaurant to the Spanglers in 2012. While they're still involved in the business, allowing Maria and Kevin Spangler to shadow them, they spend a lot of their time enjoying warmer weather in Mexico.
But before taking off for much needed rest, Josie Marino made sure to show Kevin Spangler how to make her famous creamy parmesan house dressing and the restaurant's homemade marinara and meat sauce. Kevin Spangler also makes fresh dough each day for pizza and stromboli orders.
It's a little bit of a change for the former York Area Regional Police officer, who retired just a year ago to put his energy into the family business.
"It was getting to be a lot of work to do both," he said. "We knew the restaurant was a priority for us, and it was time to devote more to that."
Maria Spangler, who worked in the restaurant since she was 13, spends most of her time in the front of the house, seating guests during busy weekend hours and making sure things run smoothly.
On a Saturday night, my husband and I stopped by the restaurant for dinner. A small crowd in the vestibule quickly was seated. We waited just 15 minutes for a table.
Our server recommended numerous items on the menu, from the restaurant's traditional stromboli ($9.15 for a small) and the city pasta dish ($17.35) that comes with house salad and garlic bread. My husband and I followed the suggestions, and I added a cup of the house-made Italian wedding soup ($3.95 a cup).
The soup was a warm start to the meal, accompanied by cheesy garlic bread and a salad topped with olives, a hot pepper, onions and tomatoes. The creamy house dressing was an herby complement.
Our meals arrived quickly despite a packed house. The city pasta, a large bowl of penne pasta topped with chicken and sausage, mushrooms, onions, bell peppers and red pepper flakes tossed in a marinara sauce was enough for two meals.
My husband's traditional stromboli was packed with ham, salami, sausage, mozzarella and American cheese, served with a cup of pizza sauce ($1.45 extra).
Despite our full stomachs, we were tempted by the dessert menu and shared a crispy, creamy cannoli ($2.95) before our server packed our leftovers.
The restaurant offers a slew of pizzas, including a thick Sicilian ($13.15 for a 16-inch large) and a mini 8-inch ($7.15). Pasta dishes also range from traditional ravioli ($13.35) to baked lasagna ($13.35) and linguini with white or red clam sauce ($17.35). Each pasta meal comes with a large house salad and garlic bread.
Those hungry for a quick lunch option can choose from a daily lunch special menu, featuring a mini pizza with soup or salad and soda ($8.65) or lasagna with salad, garlic bread and a soda ($11.65). A convenient drive-through window also is available for those wanting to order ahead and swing by to take something home or to the office.
A rotating menu featuring daily specials is posted on the restaurant's Facebook page. Also keep an eye out for coupons in the take out menu and sign up to receive a personalized birthday card with a discount inside.