Walking into Slice of Italy feels like you've just arrived at a friend's home. Seat yourself at one of the green tables and get ready to fill your belly with whatever homemade Italian treats you desire.
With more than 25 years of experience in York and Lancaster county restaurants, Peter Ferrante jumped at the chance to open a third location about a month ago at the former Sal's Little Italy in Dallastown. His two other restaurant locations are Messina Pizza in Stewartstown and Mamma's Pizza in Wellsville.
It also was a chance for Peter Ferrante to introduce his son, Disma Ferrante, to the family restaurant and let him run the Dallastown location.
While each restaurant is similar, Ferrante also tries to incorporate favorite items of customers who might have frequented the previous business.
"People start to feel like local restaurants are a second home," Ferrante said. "We still want them to feel like they're at their second home when they walk in here."
The most popular item on the menu is the stromboli, Ferrante said. Ranging from $11.95 for a small American boli to $16.95 for a large famous herb boli, these pocket-style pizzas are perfect for dipping into tomato sauce, or the restaurant's new garlic sauce.
Some people drive as far as Baltimore for the strombolis, and they've even shipped them to Chicago, Ferrante said.
In additional to freshly made pizza dough, Slice of Italy boasts homemade bread made up to three times a day for its hot and cold subs, and buttery garlic bread.
The homemade desserts, which include tiramisu and cannolis, also feature a mix of local and imported ingredients. The tiramisu often incorporates fresh fruit, Ferrante said, such as local cherries and strawberries when they are in season. The cannoli shells, shipped in from Sicily, are filled with a homemade, creamy filling featuring cream from a Baltimore dairy.
The bigger comfort food dishes, such as the lasagna and other pasta meals, are all made from scratch. Pizza toppings also are fresh, and never canned or frozen, Ferrante said. Oregano is imported from Italy and the olive oil is infused with garlic.
"Anywhere you can add those touches, it makes a difference," Ferrante said. "I've been in the business long enough to know the basics and kind of fine tune things as we go along."
During a recent visit, my husband and I stopped in for an early Friday dinner. The comfortable restaurant wasn't too busy at the time, but had a few customers specked throughout the dining room and delivery orders were flying out the door.
Feeling pretty hungry (and hoping for leftovers for our planned movie night), we ordered a medium Bianca pizza ($13.50), featuring garlic, onion, mozzarella, ricotta and Italian spices, as well as a large Italian Stromboli ($13.95) with ham, salami, sausage, American and mozzarella cheese. We also added a cup of sauce for dipping ($1.35).
And, while we're at it, toss in an order of the homemade garlic bread ($2.75).
Our waitresses eyes nearly popped out of her head when she heard our order and we thought nothing of it, expecting fairly normal sized portions with perhaps a few leftovers for later in the night.
The bread arrived first with a small side of sauce for dipping and we gobbled it down in minutes. When our main courses arrived, we might as well have asked for two boxes right away, because there was no way we could eat that much food. The portions were huge.
We ate what we could and decided to do one more favor for the readers by sharing a cannoli ($4). If you go there and get nothing else, order the cannoli. It was creamy and crunchy and delicious.
We left feeling very pleased about the value of our meal, stuffed to the brim and with boxes with enough food to last us through the weekend.
If you go
Location: 476 E. Main St., Dallastown
Rebecca's pick: Large Italian Stromboli ($13.95) with homemade garlic bread ($2.75) and a cannoli ($4)
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, noon to 9:30 p.m. Sundays, closed Mondays during May through October.
Price range: $3, tossed salad; $17.25 veal marsala
Accepts: Cash and credit
Kid's menu: Yes
Details: Call 717-246-9191 or search for "Slice of Italy Dallastown" on Facebook