The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

Casella's serves quality menu at affordable prices

Located in the Barracks Road Shopping Center, Casella's may not stand out in its mall location, but its homemade family recipes rise above other chain restaurants in the area.

The Casella family started the restaurant nine years ago and operated it until September 1998 when current owner Eric Pfister and his wife took over. Casella's has always prided itself on a great recipe for pizza made with natural ingredients, and Pfister said he didn't want to mess with a winning formula.

"It's the same menu. We've tweaked a few recipes, but it's the Casellas' original pizza recipes," he said.

The transition between owners ran as smooth as possible for both families.

"It just seemed like a good time for us to put some of our ideas to work for us," he added.

"I probably had better training for this job than for anything else I've done," Pfister said. He trained under the Casellas for a month before taking over the restaurant completely.

Located near Harris Teeter next to Chesapeake Bagel Bakery, Casella's looks like a cafeteria from the outside. The kitchen is open so the restaurant is filled with wonderful smells of Italian food and pizza.

One of the many employees greets diners and seats them with a friendly but not forced approach. But like its cafeteria-style atmosphere, Casella's concentrates on food quality rather than service.

The menu appeals to the stomach and the wallet with appetizer prices ranging from $2 to $7 and entrée prices from $2 to $13. The most popular attraction is the pizza, selling for about $2 a slice, Pfister said.

The onion rings are big and crunchy, and although a little watery, they are quite enjoyable. The calamari, coated with spices, is chewy and delicious, a definite plus for those willing to eat squid.

The pizza slices are very large yet thin crusted, and are coated with a light seasoning. The crust is slightly crunchy and makes this pizza fabulous.

For those who would like an alternative to the typical Italian, the ham calzones offer generous mozzarella and ricotta wrapped in dough. Although the pizza is spicy, the calzones offer a milder flavor.

Subs, lasagna and pizza pies finish off the menu, offering a well-rounded selection of Italian cuisine for relatively low prices. For a different type of taste, Pfister recommends the eggplant sub.

Casella's is open all week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., except Sundays.

Its busiest day is Friday because of the overwhelming popularity of the pizza, Pfister said.

"You would need 12 people to eat that [Sicilian] pizza," first-year Engineering student Tyler Boon said, referring to the immense size of this deep-dish pie. "It's better than O-Hill because you know you're getting real food."

A great place to go with friends for casual Italian, Casella's will be open for a long time feeding Friday night hunger victims with their famous pizza recipe.

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