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Restaurant has more to offer than just pizza

January 17, 2011

By Anne Chovey

Special to The Herald-Mail

WILLIAMSPORT --Tony's Pizza Time Café on Salisbury Street in Williamsport has been around for a long time. It has always been a favorite of high school students and local residents in the mood for a good pizza.  

Recently, however, Tony's has expanded and remodeled, taking over the Laundromat facilities next door, and become an honest-to-goodness sit-down restaurant.

My dining companions, Pap Ricka, Penny Pasta and Mack Aroni joined me for a visit. The restaurant is located on a corner lot with a small, off-street parking area in front of it.

Tony's has big windows all across the front and is brightly lit. The interior has a counter and kitchen area to the immediate left when you enter and a large dining room, separated into two spaces, on the right.

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The first thing we noticed was how clean and fresh everything looked. Large, comfy booths, attractive floor tile and Italian-inspired decorations made the restaurant seem welcoming.

We were greeted and told to sit anywhere we chose. Our waiter immediately came over and gave us menus and took our drink orders. Tony's has a modest beer and wine list as well as soft drinks and tea. The menu is quite large and includes "House Favorites" of lasagna, ziti, penne and tortellini ($10.25 to $10.65) spaghetti with sauce, Bolognese or meatballs ($7.95 to $8.95) as well as stuffed shells, manicotti, ravioli, Parmigiana (both eggplant and chicken) and fettuccine ($9.50 to $11.25.)

In addition, there are a number of seafood options like calamari, linguini with clam sauce and seafood alfredo ($9.50 to $13.75.)  As if that weren't enough, the menu continues with subs ($5.95 to $6.95) and stromboli and calzone (small at $9.95 and large at $12.95.)

Then it is on to the pizza  -- so many choices. Crazy Tony's with bacon-cheese fries, Jimmy the Greek with feta cheese, spinach and artichokes and Mi Casa Su Casa with taco meat, nacho cheese and sour cream. Wow!

It was hard to decide. Penny chose Ravioli Bellitalia: spinach and portabella mushroom ravioli topped with a spinach-cream sauce. Mack decided on a chicken-and-spinach alfredo calzone -- hold the spinach. (He won't eat anything that accidentally might be considered a vegetable.) Pap picked a cheeseburger works sub and a garden salad. I was torn, but eventually ordered the gnocchi Sorrentino: potato pasta with meat sauce and mozzarella.

Penny and I got salads with our entrees and Pap had ordered one. They were good-sized and fresh with crispy lettuce, iceberg and romaine, tomatoes, carrots, onions, a wee bit of cheddar cheese and croutons. My Italian dressing was good. We were also served a loaf of Italian bread to munch on with the salad.

Our entrees arrived after a bit of a wait, and not all together. Penny and I got our pasta together, then after a bit, Pap got his sub. Several minutes later, Mack got his calzone. It was hard to wait until we were all served, so I would have preferred that they kept our dishes in the kitchen and brought them out together.

Penny's ravioli was delicious, although it would have been described more accurately as cheese ravioli topped with spinach and mushrooms in a pink alfredo sauce. It did not seem to be a spinach-cream sauce at all. But, nevermind, it was tasty.

Pap liked his sub very much. It was topped with bacon and the cheese had melted all through it. It was on a toasted roll, which gave a nice crunch but was not hard.

Mack had ordered a large calzone, which looked as if it could feed the football team. It was full of gooey ricotta cheese, mozzarella and chicken. He had a large bowl of alfredo sauce to drizzle over the top.  He has a pretty big appetite, but ended up taking half of it home.

My gnocchi was great. The potato pasta was light and flavorful. The only problem with it was it was not the gnocchi I had ordered. I had ordered the one with meat sauce and I got gnocchi Florentino, which was topped with fresh spinach and pink alfredo. Actually, I had considered ordering it, but decided it was too similar to Penny's dish and I wanted something a bit different. I guess, in fairness, I have to point out the mistake, but the gnocchi was so good that I didn't care one bit. I didn't send it back or let our waiter know of the error. I just gobbled it up.

Our waiter (despite the error) was very attentive, refilling our drinks and checking to see if we needed anything.

Tony's has hit a homerun with its expansion. Don't be fooled by the name Pizza Time -- it is so much more.

Restaurant review

Tony's Pizza Time Cafe

3  1/2 stars ( out of 5)

Food:  3  1/2

Service:   3

Ambiance:    4

Value:    4

Address: 10 E. Salisbury St., Williamsport

Phone: 301-223-6266

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Style: Casual

Food:  Pizza and Italian entrees. Many vegetarian options in entrees, subs and pizzas.

Bathrooms: Clean and accessible.

Parking and handicapped accessibility:   Limited off-street parking.  Might be difficult if restaurant is crowded. No accessibility issues noted, except that the floor of the dining room had a slight incline, which might be difficult for someone mobility impaired.

Reservations are not necessary.

Facebook: Yes, but it has little information on it.

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