I've been looking to eat at Mario’s Pizzeria & Restaurant, located at 655 Broadway, for quite a while now. I finally got the chance recently and I’m very glad I did.
In the back of the pizzeria is a small dining room which is a hidden gem. There are murals on the walls, white tablecloths on the tables, and the room is bright and cheerful.
Everything is clean and Italian music is piped in to set the mood. The restaurant seats about 52 people and I found out from our terrific waitress that it is family owned and operated. They are not associated with the Mario’s Pizzeria chain that's located in several nearby neighborhoods.
I'd heard raves about the great Tuesday pasta night special, and with a relative in tow, I decided to try it. For $9.95 plus tax the menu offers a soup or salad, choice of pasta, coffee and cannoli.
Our meal started with warm Italian bread and butter, and a bowl of fresh grated cheese was brought to the table. Neither of us got to sample a salad since we both chose soup to start. I had the pasta fagioli soup and my guest had minestrone. Both homemade soups came in large bowls. The broths were both hearty and delicious, and filled with pasta, beans and vegetables.
For a main entrée they offer a choice of pasta. You can either have ziti, linguini, spaghetti, penne, rigatoni or tortellini with your choice of sauce. Sauces offered include vodka, marinara , clam sauce (red or white), tomato sauce, filetto di pomodoro, garlic and oil, alfredo, tomato with meatballs, puttanesca (olive, capers and anchovies), Bolognese (meat sauce with peas), pesto, primavera (mixed vegetables in a light cream sauce), grilled chicken with peas and mushrooms, alla romano (mushrooms and sausage in a pink sauce).
There are also two other dishes, baked anelletti (chopped eggplant, peas, chopped meat, mozzarella, ricotta in tomato sauce) and rigatoni siciliana (marinara sauce with fried eggplant).
I chose to have penne Bolognese, my guest had the the rigatoni siciliana. Both were satisfying and portions were big enough to take home leftovers.
The staff was very accommodating and allowed me to have a slice of cheesecake instead of cannoli. But both desserts are worth ordering.
Mario's has a limited wine list. They offer wines by the glass for between $5 and $6.50. Bottles cost between $16 and $24.
There's a children's menu and when I asked about the chicken fingers, I was told that they are homemade. No frozen chicken tenders here.
On Wednesday and Thursday nights, they have a chicken night menu. For $13.95 plus tax you get a chicken entrée, a choice of salad or pasta, coffee and dessert (cheese cake or cannoli). Some of the chicken dishes include parmigiana, marsala, francese, pomodoro (tomato, red onion and balsamic vinegar), livornese (olives and capers in a marinara sauce), baked chicken with spinach in a white wine sauce and a chicken alla vodka.
Besides the pasta, chicken, veal, eggplant, shrimp, entrees, the regular menu at the restaurant also includes pizzas, stuffed rolls, stuffed triangles, hot and cold heros, calzones and wraps. They will also cater your event on or off premises, seven days a week.
I’d highly recommend this restaurant for a great hearty homestyle Italian meal. They are open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 10pm and Sunday from 12 noon to 9pm. The dining room is only open from 4pm to 10pm. Most major credit cards are accepted.