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Posts Tagged ‘Pizza’

Speaking of vintage Italian restaurants – Tony’s Baltimore Cafe in Atlantic City New Jersey is an authentic old time AC eatery, located just a block from the famous boardwalk.

Tony's Baltimore Grill Atlantic City, NJ

There are 2 entrances- one on the corner that leads directly to the bar, another into the wonderfully in-tact retro dining room. Either way you’re told to sit anywhere you like, by one of the seasoned waitresses.

Bask in the Glow of Red Neon

We opted for the dining room, which at the time of night we were there wasn’t packed, but did have a decent stream of folks coming in out of this freezing cold windy evening for some warm pasta, pizza and throwback ambiance.

If you’ve spent more than a minute inside one of the many boardwalk casinos, with their recycled air and shopping mall vibe, you will appreciate the authentic feel of a place that has been here long before the giant buildings took over the seashore. And as you can see, they cater to the late night crowd.

HoursOpen for over 70 years, you could almost envision the Rat Pack sitting at one of the booths. (Alas the music on the jukeboxes did not live up to my swingin’ sounds expectation).

Tony's Dining RoomLike the front sign says “Spaghetti Pizza” and we said YES! I got the pizza, RetroRoadhusband got the spaghetti and meatballs and we both split a “Large Salad Bowl”. As well as a couple of affordable beers!

The pizza crust was definitely fluffier than the thin crust pies that are my fave, but this pizza was still good. RRH dug his spaghetti tho the meatballs are on the mushy side, however I informed him that I read they’ve been that way for years.

Tony's Grill PizzaI thought it was ironic that some of the casino hotels and restaurants give that old time vibe (thinking of The Continental, etc) but right here, in the shadow of these behemoths, the real deal lives on.

You Go, Little Guy!

Tony’s Baltimore Grill
2800 Atlantic Ave
Atlantic City, NJ 08401
(609) 345-5766

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It doesn’t matter that there isn’t an actual subway in Harrisburg, PA  since they’ve got the Subway Cafe restaurant and its glowing neon sign!

Subway Cafe Neon Signs Glass BlockSupposedly named for the railroad tracks under the bridge across the street, The Subway Cafe is in an industrial part of town. But with the glow of that neon beacon as a guide, and RetroRoadhusband by my side, we headed there for a bite at the beginning of a Saturday night out on the town.

Given the neighborhood we weren’t sure what to expect, but as soon as we walked in to this small restaurant to find all the tables crowded with regulars (but some seats at the bar available for us) we knew all was well.
We're Glad You're Here!While my eyes were thrilled to see the 32 oz. fishbowl beers being served, I knew my liver would be less than excited, so we opted for pints. I had read that their pizza was something to try so I ordered a plain pie to share with RetroRoadhusband, while he got a salad with house dressing and a meatball sandwich.

While we waited for our food I all but swiveled around on my seat to take in the authentic vintage decor of the place. From the mural of the hills of Italy – painted by one of the original bartenders back in the 1940’s, to the fantastically fabulous atomic age lighting fixtures, this place is the real deal.
Interior of Subway Cafe Harrisburg with MuralThe mirrored bar harkens back to when the place was not much more than a bar in the 1930’s, and even the sign above the kitchen window looks like it’s been around for forever.

We chatted with the gents next to us for a couple of minutes until our food arrived, and from them knew to expect the thin, crackery crust and the sauce on top of the cheese. While this style of pizza may not be something you’re used to,  I am a big fan of this thin crust pizza, and this was definitely a nice change from the bloaty inflated pizza crusts from chain pizza places for sure. The sauce was tangy and cheese just right.
Subway Cafe Pizza with Sauce On Top
RetroRoadhusband enjoyed his salad  – though he would have enjoyed it more had he shaken up the house dressing (as instructed by our bar-mates) but it was good to get some vegetables in, to at least pretend we were eating healthy.

Our waitress/bartender was awfully nice, even suggesting a way I could take home one of their homemade eclairs. I was tempted, but with a long night of fun ahead of us I wasn’t sure it would sit well in the car.

As we left I could not help but be in awe of the flood line markers on the wall as we made our way to the door. The 1936 flood is bad enough, but to see that the 1972 flood came within a foot of the ceiling just boggles the mind. Thank GOD the flood didn’t mess with those crazy 1950’s ceiling lights!
Subway Cafe Flood LevelsAs we made our way to the RetroRoadmobile in the parking lot I stopped to quickly snap this photo of a vintage neon Yuengling beer sign in one of their windows. You rarely if ever see this iteration of their logo, and even though I’m not a Pennsylvanian by birth, I still like to see this old design.

Vintage Yuengling Neon SignSo if you’re in Harrisburg and want some authentic Italian food, just follow the glow of the Subway Cafe’s great neon sign!

Subway Cafe
1000 Herr Street
Harrisburg, PA 17103
(717) 255-9470

Subway Cafe on Urbanspoon

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I was overjoyed at the fact that RetroRoadhusband and I were able to swing ourselves off of the Garden State Parkway in Elmwood Park so we could grab a slice of pizza – and Americana. I was glad to see that Pizza Town U.S.A. hadn’t changed from my last visit in 1991. In all reality it looks like it hasn’t changed much since opening in 1958!
Pizza Town USA Neon

It’s easier to get to Pizza Town USA from the southbound side of the Parkway, but we managed a U-turn and a wrong turn and did some clever merging to get ourselves into the parking lot bathed in the glow of neon.Once inside we chose the line for slices, and within moments were devouring some thin crust cheesy goodness. We would’ve ordered more than just 1 slice, but this was just a “snack” as we were to dine officially at the Olympia Diner in CT.We downed it so fast I didn’t have time for a photo, but I do love the throwback graphics on their soda cups. You go, Uncle Sam!

Pizza Town USA - Uncle Sam Cup
Family owned and operated at the same location since 1958, Pizza Town USA has a few tables for folks who want to “dine in” and we saw a brisk to go business for whole pizzas as well. There are 3 different lines, all labeled clearly, so make sure you get in the right one.  Funny part was when one customer changed his mind mid-order and decided he wanted a whole pie, he had to move to another line. The counter guy moved to the new line too, to ring him up!

Pizza Town USA - Box History

Be forewarned, while there are some “facilities” in the back of the building, it’s a shared one stall type of arrangement. You don’t see many places like this anymore especially right off a busy highway, so stop by here for a quick slice and a photo and get back on your way!

Pizza Town U S A

89 US Highway 46
Elmwood Park, NJ 07407
(201) 797-6172

Cash only.

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Not sure why it’s called Victory Pig, but that name and the fun vintage sign shown below was enough to make me swing the Retro Roadmapmobile into the parking lot of this classic roadside restaurant in Wyoming, PA (between Scranton and Wilks-Barre PA). And I am pleased to report I got a winner of a slice of NEPA* or Old Forge style pizza here!

Victory Pig Barbecue Pizza Curb ServiceThe Victory Pig Barbecue and Pizza has been open since 1942 and still provides curb service, as the signs on either side of the stucco building indicate. Not knowing what was on the menu I opted to head into the restaurant. As soon as I walked in I was pleased to see a retro looking decor with brown paneling and orange accents, definitely original. And I didn’t take a picture of the interior because it was so full of families, couples and solitary diners that you’d see more people than vintage details.

Victory Pig Curb ServiceOverhearing the lovely older ladies at the table next to me reminiscing about checking their packages at the Rainbow Room (after a day of shopping in New York City, back in the day) confirmed my decision to stop here for a bite was the right thing.

*This area of Pennsylvania is famous for their distinctive pizza – known as NEPA (North Eastern PennsylvaniA) or Old-Forge style pizza, named after Old Forge, PA. There’s even a different lingo surrounding them, where these square or rectangular pizzas are not called pies, but rather “trays” after the baking trays they are cooked on, or perhaps the plastic trays they are served on. Also you don’t get slices you get “cuts”. Luckily I did not feel too out of place when I ordered a slice, and not knowing if that would be enough food I just knew I had to get a “wimpie” after seeing this sign:

Homemade Wimpies I later found out that a Wimpie is like a sloppy joe, and while it isn’t my absolute fave flavor of sandwich, I was proud of myself for being culinarily adventurous! I did not have any of the barbecue, but from what I read it also is a local interpretation of the dish.

You can see my wimpie right next to my “cut” of “pig pizza” and boy was that pizza tasty! The crust is somewhat crispy from being fried in the tray, the sauce was tangy and sweet with bits of onion in it, and the cheese was just the right amount and flavor to harmonize with this local trio of flavors.

Wimpy and Pig Pizza

Now I’ve heard some people compare this local interpretation of pizza to the frozen Ellio’s version but that does not hold a candle to this distinctive pizza flavor and texture that had me longing for another slice while on my drive home. And I am pleased to report that the ratio of cheese to crust does not allow too much cheese to stick to your teeth as some folks have complained about Old Forge style pizza doing.

Doing a bit of internet research I find out that the Victory Pig is family owned and operated and they are very proud of their secret pizza recipe and crust. They’re also only open on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday…because they can be! While part of me bums out thinking I won’t be able to indulge in Victory Pig pizza when Retro Roadhusband and I scramble up to Scranton on Sunday November 14, I think it’s kinda cool that someone in this day and age can make such odd business hours work for them. And from the hustle and bustle of that Saturday evening, you can tell that local folks make the effort to get there when they’re open!

If you’re feeling a bit full from the food (or beer and cocktails that are surprisingly available in this casual fast-food atmosphere) perhaps you’ll want to check out Rich’s Golf and Fun Center, located just behind “The Pig”. Or maybe you’ve just saved room for some soft serve ice cream?

Rich's Golf Fun Center Sign(you can see the Victory Pig behind this sign – it’s been stucco’ed over, but it’s still cool inside!)

I will warn you that it isn’t nearly as retro and picturesque as its sign, but it could be a fun way to shed some of the calories that you’ll consume once you taste this delicious pizza!

Victory Pig Pizza & Barbeque
905 Wyoming Ave
Wyoming, PA 18644-1360
(570) 693-9963

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(10/2010 updated to note that this location has closed- boo!)

I know I’m not the only one with a love for cool old places so I’m always interested to learn about what other road-type folks have discovered. When I read the Diner Hunter review of Tommy Marco’s Ledo Restaurant it seemed like it would totally fit on Retro Roadmap.

According to his post, the restaurant (which has been at this original location since 1955 and should not to be confused with the franchise locations) is slated to move in early summer 2010, so I wanted to give folks a heads up to head over there before then.

Thanks to Spencer “Dinerman” Stewart for giving me permission to reprint his article as a Retro Roadmap Recommendation, and for making me hungry for square pizza! Visit his Diner Hunter website where he chronicles his take on the roadside, Little Taverns and more!

Tommy Marcos’ Ledo Restaurant
By dinerman

Before I headed back to school, I hit up Tommy Marcos’ Ledo Restaurant, which was opened in 1955. Now to avoid confusion, there is Ledo Pizza, the chain, and the Ledo Restaurant, in Adelphi Plaza, soon to move to College Park.

Tommy Marcos’ Ledo is the original- the one with the atmosphere- the one with tradition- and the one with damn good pizza. Ledo Pizza the chain is lacking in all those regards.

The pizza is a bit out of the ordinary in its rectangular shape. The crust is light and flaky an the pizza has a delicious sweet tomato taste. I ordered my favorite, pepperoni, black olives and sausage. A medium is one tray. The Ledo, in a nice touch not often seen anymore, still puts cherries in their pepsi.

The Ledo is a true local icon, with strong University of Maryland ties. Take a look at the murals on the walls.

They are supposed to move in early Summer.

Tommy Marcos’s Ledo Restaurant
2420 University Boulevard
Hyattsville, MD 20783
(301) 422-8122

 

Tommy Marcos's Ledo Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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We were about to give up on eating at a Retro Roadmap -worthy restaurant  in CT – all the diners we saw as we got off of 95 onto Route 1 were either closed or too Jersey (stainless and stone) for me. As we were pulling over to look up directions to a possible destination in NJ I saw the light from our car reflecting off of big brushed stainless sign letters and got a quick glimpse through wide venetian blinds of folks sitting at tables basking in the glow of a neon pizza sign. By staying on the back roads just a few moments more, we lucked out and discovered  Salerno’s Apizza in Stratford CT.

Salerno's at Cutrufello's Stratford CT

We turned the car around (spying a duckpin bowling alley in the process) and hooray, the place looked pretty busy for that stretch of Route 1, especially on a Sunday night. As we walked in we saw folks leaving with pizzas ( Apizza is a uniquely Connecticut term) and the dining room was nicely bustling with couples, folks with grandkids, and families. We were offered a booth and sat down to peruse the newspaper style menu.

Salerno's

Seems as if Salerno’s is a local institution, since 1947 when it was located in the East End of Bridgeport CT and was called C & C Pizzeria. The big sign you see you see outside is not Salerno’s but rather for Cutrufello’s Creamery, also local institution of sorts, famous for their cheese and pasta. It appears as if the Cutrufello’s company store next door has closed, but Salerno’s carries some of their cheese and raviolis in their case, along with Salerno’s home made sauce.

IMG_0004

I could go on about the new decor trying to look old, and how the playing of hits from the 40’s and 50’s in the background added to the old school ambiance. But instead I will spend a bit of time on the food, which was a very nice surprise. We were presented with a basked with a warm fluffy mini loaf of bread and our waitress was incredibly attentive as far as drink levels go. Salad was bright and crisp, with a very tangy balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
Salerno's Asalad

Since we had walked past a number of tables that had ordered pizza, Retro Roadhusband was ready to order that. When I read that Salerno’s made their own pasta I knew I had to order it and got the chicken parm, which was tender and tasty.  Food was plentiful with enough left over for a couple of meals and the ambiance was warm and relaxed. Reading about their plum tomato pizza ( onions, scamozza, plum tomatoes and parmesean, with basil pesto added before it’s cut) is getting me pretty hungry right now, bit then again so is this picture:

Salerno's Apizza A pizza!(lucky for me some of this pizza awaits as my lunch tomorrow!)

Salerno’s definitely harkens back to the olden days with it’s “new meaning to look old” even becoming the meeting place of the East-End Alumni Association, a collection of folks who grew up in the area from the 1940’s – 1960’s. The first Sunday of every month is East Enders’ Sunday at Salernos, and I just think it’s great that folks get together and relive that sense of community that I just don’t think us busy “youngsters” have.

So pull yourself off the highway and get yourself an Apizza with scamozza at Salerno’s and enjoy a Connecticut step back in time.

Salerno’s Apizza
1398 Barnum Ave
Stratford, CT 06614
(203) 377-2436‎

Salernos on Urbanspoon

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Salem Willows, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

J’adore:

Your delicious popcorn from EW Hobbs. Smelling it as soon as I get out of the car and seeing it popped in the old timey popping machines.

Hot Buttered E.W. Hobbs Popcorn(A swell pal of mine, knowing how much I loved this popcorn used it as packing material to ship me a wedding present, and I am not ashamed to admit I ate more than a handful of the stuff when I opened the box!)

E.W. Hobbs Popcorn Box


The carousel, with not just horses, but a menagerie of animals to ride on.

Camel Carousel(I also love that now that the Retro Roadkids are around I actually get to ride it, without looking like an odd duck).

Tickets For The Carousel Salem Willows

 

The gathering of old folks in folding lawn chairs on your grassy commons. I wouldn’t mind being that kind of old person.

The grand staircase down to the diminutive beachy area, reminding me that each little stretch of sand is precious among the rocky New England coast.

Steps To The Beach

Your claim to fame of being the only place on the planet to get a Chop Suey Sandwich, and the fact that this sandwich warrants its very own entry on Chowhound.

The wonderful vintage arcade games,  from musical monkeys to Mutoscopes and the fact that I had to get change for a quarter, because some of these wonders only cost 5-10 cents to play.

Salem Willows Arcade Sign
Salem Willows Arcade Viewers

 

The zig zaggy mid mod bandshell just waiting for some live music on a warm night.

Salem Willows BandstandAnd that bench just past it, overlooking the harbor, where anyone could just sit and watch the boats or just think about life and where it’s going.

The fact that you’ve been around forever and remain welcoming to all, so families and just regular folks can create some nice summer memories without having to break the bank.

xoxo,
Mod Betty
4EVA

PS- Chronicle TV show was obviously reading my love letters, as it too has a crush on Salem Willows. See their “Going Retro” piece on Salem Willows here. No worries, The Willows loves all!

Salem Willows
167 Fort Avenue
Salem, MA 01970
978-745-0251

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