One can assume that after 40 years in business, they must be doing something right.
After lunching there this week, the Taste Buds confirm their longevity is indeed valid.
Mario's Italian Restaurant in Weirton is a family owned business that has been serving up delicious pastas, steak, chicken, veal and more since 1970. And after a weekend of seemingly endless chores, the Buds were ready to sit down and enjoy a good meal, darn it!
Located right on Main St. in the downtown section, Mario's is not only easy to locate but also features a casual, friendly atmosphere that the Buds found to be most pleasant. Once seated and given menus, the Buds prepared to expand our palate.
The menu is extensive with appetizers, soups and salads, pizza from the DiCarlo pizza ovens, a myriad of specialty sandwiches and an impressive collection of dinners featuring pastas of all types, veal and chicken Parmigiana and strip steak. Those who save room for dessert can relish traditional Italian desserts such as spumoni, cannoli and tiramisu. Mama mia!
Mario's also has a standing schedule of daily specials. Sunday is homemade spaghetti. On Monday and Tuesday, patrons can enjoy all-you-can-eat angel hair spaghetti with red sauce (for just $6.25!); Wednesday - rigatoni; Thursday - strip steak; Friday - lasagna and Saturday - stuffed shells. Most of them are in the range of 6 to 9 bucks, and the Buds bet they are quite the bargain!
But alas, it was barely noon so the Buds selected from the lunch menu.
Both Buds got started with a spot of soup: Em opting for wedding soup, an Italian classic, and Shaunna for the soup of the day which happened to be stuffed pepper.
The wedding soup was hot and yummy, loaded with acini di pepe, spicy little meatballs, chopped spinach and parmesan cheese. They also incorporated beaten eggs into the broth, which ends up resembling a Chinese egg drop soup. Now, as Bud Em isn't too keen on eggs, she avoided the larger pieces and found it quite satisfying nonetheless.
Bud Shaunna's stuffed pepper soup was a flavorful blend of rice, ground beef and green peppers in a smooth tomato broth. It was actually quite hearty and a great way to kick off the meal.
For the main course, Bud Em pondered the Mario (pepperoni, sopressata, mortadella, capicollo, lettuce, tomato, onion, and provolone cheese) and the Josephine (hand-breaded eggplant topped with tomato sauce and provolone cheese) before settling on the Meatball Heel.
The 'sandwich' comes in small or large and, depending on which you order, is either a quarter or a half loaf of Italian bread (from a local bakery) that is hollowed out (somewhat) and filled with meatballs. Bud Em ordered the small which rang in at just $5 and waited with anticipation.
The soft Italian bread was delightful and the large meatballs inside were divine. With just the right amount of spice and texture, they are sure to please any meatball fan. The heel was a little awkward to eat which necessitated the use of both fork and knife. The unique menu item was tasty and very filling. The Buds suspect it is a big hit with the fellas!
Bud Shaunna went with the steak salad. This salad was HUGE! A bed of iceberg lettuce was topped with chunks of fresh tomatoes, chopped steak, fries and melted mozzarella cheese. With a side of balsamic dressing, this very filling salad was tasty and easy on the stomach - and easy on the wallet too, ringing in at just under 8 bucks.
If you're in the mood for some delicious Italian food, why not check out Mario's? They'll have your taste buds singing "That's amore!"
The Buds may be reached at email@example.com.