some of the area's top food writers have had to say about Pitrelli's Italian Cafe.
Polly Campbell | Enquirer 06/09/2006
Highlights: Pitrelli's has a casual dining atmosphere with grapevines and Italian family pictures adorning the walls. Food Overview: Come and enjoy authentic homemade Italian cuisine and check out the daily specials, such as lasagna Bolognese or chicken Marsala. There's also beer and a wide variety of Italian wines to choose from. Price Range: $10-$20 Attire: Casual
Features Catering, Family friendly, Outdoor dining, Smoke free, Specialty desserts, Take-out offered. Our Take--Mom & Pop Italian.
Pitrelli's started with a sauce. Jim and Linda Pitrelli used to make a family-recipe sauce and gave a lot of it to friends. The good feedback inspired them to bottle and sell it, and, eventually, build their little restaurant in Mason around it, with their daughter as manager.
Of course, there's a lot more to a restaurant than a good recipe or two. But it's that DIY, mom and pop approach that gives Pitrelli's its distinction.
City Week Magazine
Since Pitrelli's opened less than two years ago, 54 chain restaurants have opened nearby in West Chester Township and Mason, says Jim. But Pitrelli's just keeps on mom-and-popping away. It is one of the businesses that makes Mason feel like a community, and it will be appreciated by anyone who likes friendly service and homemade food.
It's a cozy place, decorated to no particular theme. Like most Italian restaurants, there are photos of Italian aunts and grandmothers on the wall - though here, they really are flesh and blood relatives. Wall planters spill greenery inside, and there's a sweet patio out front. There are no cloths on the tables, but silverware comes wrapped in linen.
Voted by OpenTable diners; Diners' Choice Winner,
The menu has no surprises. It's Italian comfort food, nothing trendier than a calzone or more elaborate than eggplant Parmesan. But the tomato sauce is indeed good enough to inspire a restaurant: It's bright-red and fresh, with a lot of body, but not pasty, and it isn't too sweet or harshly garlicky. There is also a spicy arrabiata - though I didn't think it was the right sauce with the mini crab cakes appetizer ($8). Appetizers are a little beside the point, anyway, because pasta portions are generous. You might order the antipasto ($7.75 for two) to nibble on - it's got plenty of salami, pepperoni, artichokes and tomatoes, all in a vinaigrette. The portion for two was plenty for our table of five.
Get basic and enjoy the sauce by ordering spaghetti and meatballs ($13.50) and have a satisfying time twirling it up and enjoying the light but beefy meatballs. Or have the same sauce on beef ravioli ($13.75).