Iâ€™m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Moosic, Pennsylvania.
Greetings from Moosic, Pennsylvania
N 41Â° 22.475â€™ W 075Â° 42.111â€™ Elev. 820 ft.
Whenever the crew of the SS Me So Hungry wants to know where to go for something good to eat we ask the guys on the (loading) dock. So it was that we were sent to Dino & Francescoâ€™s, a family run Italian restaurant in a (the?) shopping center in Moosic.
I was sort of confused the first time I went. â€œItâ€™s in the shopping center at the bottom of the hill, right where the road forks, next to K-Mart,â€ he said. I drifted into the parking lot and saw K-Mart, a Dollar Tree and a Big Lots. But whereâ€™s the restaurant? I guess it was the fairly understated (by comparison) sign that threw me. But I found it.
Iâ€™m glad I did.
The first time I visited I ordered a sort of â€œSampler Plateâ€ that was a non-menu item on the Specials board that day. I donâ€™t remember what it was or how much it cost but I certainly remember that it was spectacularly good.
The specials they were offering this time didnâ€™t rock my boat at all: Half sandwiches of chicken or beef cheesesteaks with soup or salad or fries or whatever for $6.99. So I ordered directly off the menu.
I selected the Sausage & Peppers Parmigiana ($10.99), which comes with a choice of soup or salad. I chose the Cappaletti soup.
The Cappaletti the only soup thatâ€™s a standard menu item; they offer two or three additional homemade soups every day. The soup consists of plump little tortelliniâ€™s stuffed with minced beef and chicken, in a clear chicken broth. Iâ€™d had it before and â€¦ what can I say? Itâ€™s exquisite. Simple and to the point. Delicious.
The Sausage & Peppers Parmigiana is likewise heavenly. Itâ€™s a generous plate of classic, slightly hot Italian Sausage buried under melted Mozzarella cheese with just enough bell peppers to offer a taste of each with every bite. And the sauce is really great, too.
For $2.99 I added a side of pasta to the mix. The Ziti I ordered came out perfectly cooked, still slightly wet, with just the right amount of their great homemade marinara. I donâ€™t know what it is about homemade marinara but, when made correctly, itâ€™s truly a soul food in and of itself. It makes me melt gooier than cheap cheese under an infrared salamander.
The service is great, too. For example, I wanted a to-go box and the waitress asked â€œMay I box this for you?â€ Sure, I said. Then I asked if it would be possible to get some more garlic bread. â€œAbsolutely,â€ she said. She came back a few minutes later with what was easily the equivalent of a half-loaf of garlic bread wrapped in aluminum foil. Geez, Louise! (Her name was actually Nikki; Skippy loved her.)
I had so much of that great garlic bread left over that I ended up putting forkfuls of tuna salad that Iâ€™d bought at Braumâ€™s. It was kind of like a cold cheese-less tuna melt. Seriously good stuff, Maynard.
Dino & Francescoâ€™s is a hidden gem, one the locals certainly know well; they greet many customers by name. With any luck Iâ€™ll never go there again â€” I hate Pennsylvania (in a land yacht)!
I wonder if Dino and/or Francesco would like to relocate to somewhere flatter?
And so we roll.
Dino & Francescoâ€™s, Birney Plaza, Moosic, Pennsylvania
Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.