Hot!New Castle, PA Roadfood

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Post
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
2013/11/11 18:00:45
Have you ever found out that there was a really good restaurant fairly close to you for years and you had no idea?  This recently happened to me with several restaurants in New Castle, PA.  This report will be about some of these wonderful places.
 
Before this started, here is what I knew about New Castle - it is almost on the state line with Ohio, it has struggled economically due to most manufacturing jobs leaving and it is the hometown of ex-Pirates manager Chuck Tanner.  That's about it.  Oh, and a few years ago, someone told me that they call themselves the "Hot Dog Capital of the World".  Now, I don't know exactly where the hot dog capital of the world is, but I'm fairly certain it isn't in New Castle.  So, I drove up, tried one place, didn't care for it and never went back.
 
On a Saturday morning this Spring, I woke up with no idea what to do for the day.  Remembering their self-claimed hot dog crown, I decided to go back up and check out some of the other hot dog joints.  While doing some quick research, I found quite a few other really interesting restaurants that were receiving great reviews.  The one that jumped out was an Italian place with the unusual name Ladies of the Dukes.  When I found out that they are only open on Sundays, that sealed it, I had to go!
 
Here is the background story:  50+ years ago, the local Italian Club in New Castle, a.k.a. The Dukes, invited their wives to be a part of the club.  It didn't take the men long to realize that they preferred to play cards and drink beer without their wives around, so they kicked the women right back out.  The women decided to start their own club, The Ladies of the Dukes.  What did these ladies do best?  Cook Italian food!  They started small, cooking for each other, having a few fundraisers, before starting to offer the food every Sunday.  Back then, they would do all the cooking on a Sunday morning, since they were doing it on a small scale.  They were an immediate hit, so they bought a building that once held a bar/restaurant, turning it into their new home.  Even with keeping the Sunday only tradition, they were so successful that they paid off the building in just a few years, even expanding it several times.
 
According to their web site, they open at 11:30AM.  Arriving at twenty after, I was surprised to see that the parking lot was already full and the door had an open sign.  Luckily, I did arrive early because there were only a few open seats left.  By the time I left, the after church crowd had arrived and there was a long line well out the door.  Just as I hoped, my waitress was a little old Italian woman, who was incredibly charming and fussed over me the entire meal. 
 
The menu
 
is only two pages long. 


Noticing that they have both spaghetti and homemade spaghetti, I asked the waitress, "Is there really people who would order the store bought spaghetti?"  She said that some of the senior citizens find the homemade spaghetti to be too thick a noodle and they prefer the store bought version.  Anyway, there was no doubt that the thing to order here has to be the homemade platter, where you get the made-in-house spaghetti, ravioli and cavatelli.
 
First thing out was the homemade wedding soup. 

Heavy on the greens, lots of little meatballs and not overly salted this was an outstanding version of this soup, which is the unofficial soup of Western PA.
 
In the online reviews for LOTDs, they say the salad that comes with your meal should be skipped, since it is just uninteresting iceberg lettuce,

with a little bit of carrots, olives and tomato.  There were a couple of bottles of salad dressing on the table,

but with a large plate of food coming, I ignored this boring salad.  Big mistake and more on this later.  There is also cheap, store bought bread

on the table and this also got ignored.
 
The homemade platter

is a massive plate of food!  You get two hockey puck sized, cheese filled raviolis. 

Those thick spaghetti noodles really do soak up the sauce, as do the spongy cavatelli.  Oh that sauce!  It is rich, tangy, slightly sweet and like everything else on the plate, unmistakably homemade.  Lastly, the meatballs aren't particularly big, but are so tightly packed, they don't need to be.  I loved everything and finished my plate, drawing praise from the waitress.
 
As usual, my camera drew attention and when the waitress found out I wasn't from New Castle (trust me, this is a place where locals only eat), she was as interested in me as I was in finding out more about the place.  As it turns out, her daughter is the manager and she stopped out to say hello.  This allowed me to ask a few questions.  Apparently, the ladies get together during the week to do the cooking, with Monday being for meatballs, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday being devoted to making the homemade pastas and Fridays and Saturdays for making that sauce.  How cool is that?
 
Since there is nothing hip or trendy about this food, the majority of the diners were older.  And everybody knew each other.  I lost count at how many people walking in the door received hugs from waitresses and other diners.  No doubt that many of these people come here every single Sunday.  I also loved that the waitresses would put bibs on the customers so they wouldn't get any sauce on their Sunday best.  I did see one man who took his nice shirt off and was now wearing a bib over his undershirt!
 
On the way out, two different tables stopped me to ask some questions.  Because of the camera, I was expecting people to ask if I was a food writer or something like that.  Instead, both tables asked if I was from New Castle.  When I told them I lived 45 minutes away, they assumed I must have moved away from town.  When I told them it was my first ever visit to LOTDs, they were so happy and wanted to make sure that I enjoyed it, as if they were the owners.
 
Ladies of the Dukes
1114 N. Croton Avenue
New Castle, PA
724-658-9258
 
Despite how much I loved the experience at Ladies of the Dukes, it took months to get back.  Mariton and I drove up for lunch yesterday and we had an even better time.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/11/20 16:57:09
Pancho
Double Cheeseburger
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/11 18:31:22
Sounds like a delightful place. Great review, but what's up with the salad? You said "more on that later". Did you clean your plate? Oh yeah, congrats on your promotion!
pnwchef
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/11 18:39:05
This place is a treasure, it's nice to see places like this still exist.......I think they should take one day for dessert......
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/11 19:09:54
Pancho-
Thanks!  As it turns out the salad dressings are also homemade, so I should have eaten that salad afterall.  More on this in my next segment.
 
pnwchef-
And I kicking myself for not asking about dessert on that first visit, because they have homemade pies, too!
joerogo
Filet Mignon
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/11 19:10:02
Noodles???  You get a BIG promotion and you are going to call your macaroni......noodles???  
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/11 19:17:12
That looks like the places I remember from New Haven -- especially Leon's when it was located in the Hill section.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/11 19:19:11
Joe-
If you are going to accuse me of not being Italian, guilty as charged!  Is calling spaghetti a noodle wrong?
mlm
Cheeseburger
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/11 19:21:09
OOOOOOOOOOOh, that plate of pasta! I started to drool as soon as I saw it. What a restaurant, what food, what a response from clients and staff, what food, what a terrific report, WHAT FOOD!!!
Honestly, buffetbuster, I must tell you, even though I enjoy the effort everyone puts into their reports, yours were the ones which hooked me and are among the few I read and reread. Sure wish you could tell me of unique food in my town. This is a moderate sized university town and while there is practically every chain imaginable, many wirtth decent food, special roadfood is scarce on the ground. I know about the barbeque in Lockhart and Luling and Palmer's and Grin's are fine but that's about all I know of. So I read and eat vicariously and save on calories, lol. So aren't you going to tell us about the salad or the bread? What? No dessert? No PIE!!!!!????? Just kidding. What promotion!? Congratulations!
joerogo
Filet Mignon
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/11 19:24:33
buffetbuster 
Joe
If you are going to accuse me of not being Italian, guilty as charged!  Is calling spaghetti a noodle wrong?

 
Minchia!!!
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/11 19:27:56
Oh, oh!
myterry2
Double Cheeseburger
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/11 19:30:05
As usual...another fine report.   You can tell looking at these wonderful pictures it's not Olive Garden.
mlm
Cheeseburger
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/11 19:34:48
I always feel unfashionable when I call pasta, "macaroni". What the heck, it's the word I was raised with and it's all the same to the stomach. To me, it's kind of like 'calamari' and 'squid'. If we called squid, 'squid', would it move as fast? Somehow I doubt it. 
mlm
Cheeseburger
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/11 19:36:58
I would never make it as a PR director, would I!
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/11 23:13:09
It's places like that that make me miss Western PA!
A special Culture!
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 06:01:05
It had occurred to me to write about Ladies of the Dukes, but I also wondered if the food was really that good or was it a case of being so charmed by the staff and atmosphere.  So I went back on Sunday, this time taking my girlfriend Mariton to see what she thinks. 
 
Somehow, no outside photos were taken of the place during the previous visit.  When we arrived at 11:05AM, there was only a few other cars in the lot.  There are two separate entrances,

one for the restaurant and one for take-out only, which opens earlier at 10:00.   The sign on the restaurant door said open, but was locked.  So, I walked across the lot to get a front view photo,

while Mariton ran for the car, since it was a very, cold blustery day.  
 
A woman pulled into the lot, backed up to the take-out door and popped her trunk.  I asked if she needed help carrying anything in, which she gladly accepted.  What was in the trunk?  Yup, it's pies!  Beautiful looking homemade pies!  My first instinct while holding a coconut cream pie was to take off running, but by this time she had already seen my face!  Her name was Julie and she is the dessert maker here at Ladies of the Dukes and as it turns out, also the hostess.  Once the door was unlocked and we walked, Julie greeted us with, "You look familiar!"  She also asked if either one of us was a veteran, since they were giving away free desserts to veterans

due to the holiday.  Very nice!
 
On this morning, the restaurant wasn't nearly as crowded, with their still being open tables as late as noon.  Maybe the cold weather was keeping people away.  Eventually, the after church crowd filled up the place.  This time, we had a very attractive waitress our age, who was just as outgoing and warm she took great care of us.  I did snap this photo

of my previous waitress putting a bib on a woman.
 
Since we now had two eaters, the idea was to try different things.  Mariton ordered that wonderful wedding soup, while I got the chicken pastina soup. 

There weren't that many chunks of chicken or vegetables in the soup, but the broth had a strong chicken flavor.  We both think that most soups are over salted and thankfully, both of their soups are light on the salt.
 
The salads came out (you can get apple sauce instead) and I asked the waitress about the dressings on the table.  She told us one was Italian, the other French, both being homemade.  This perked me up and made me much more interested.  And she also said they have a few other salad dressings to offer.  She showed us that the table next us had the Catalina French and they also make a homemade ranch dressing, which they keep in the frig and bring out on request.  I asked for the Catalina French, Mariton the ranch and we now had all four on our table.  Yeah, I know it is just salad dressings, but they were all thick, creamy and made this drab iceberg salad into something very enjoyable.
 
We discussed getting different entrees, like trying the chicken parm, but since it was her first time here, we both ended up with the homemade platter.  She let out an audible gasp when she saw the size of this plate of food.  And she swooned over how good the food was.  We both agreed that the cavatelli was clearly the best on the plate.  Neither one of us came close to finishing our entire entrees and we ended up taking half of each home.  After all, there is dessert to be attended to!
 
They did also offer lemon meringue pie, a dream cake and a few other items, but after seeing the coconut cream pie earlier, this had to be the one.  And it was a thing of beauty! 

As good as the dense filling was, the airy meringue with flecks of toasted coconut on top was the star.  This was an outstanding slice of pie.  And we made sure to let Julie know that on the way out the door.
 
One of the advantages of dining with someone else is that there is another set of eyes.  Mariton noticed a table near us brought Tupperware containers, which they gave to their waitress.  She took it into the kitchen to fill them up with that great sauce.  When I mentioned to our waitress what we had just seen, she told us it wasn't uncommon to see people bring in pots, that way they could put them directly on the stove when they got home!  Mariton and I decided next time we come here, we are bringing our own pot!
 
As I was paying at the register, she also noticed that they have a plaque dedicated to the original ladies of Ladies of the Dukes

Apparently, Alice is the last one left and despite being in her 90's, continues to come in to help out in the kitchen.  
 
If you are ever anywhere near New Castle, PA on a Sunday, this place comes highly recommended.  Even if heavy sauced Italian comfort food isn't your thing, I can't imagine anyone walking out of this place without a big smile on their face, just knowing places like Ladies of the Dukes still exist.  
post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/11/12 07:07:47
leethebard
Sirloin
Flagged as Spam (1)
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 07:35:16
The "Pasta" looked average...can't speak,of course, for the taste, but....the bread wasn't real Italian,I looks like that American bread passing as Italian...and those meatballs are anemic in size. And the presentation is very American....TOO much sauce...in Italy they'd tell you that much sauce overwhelms the pasta....quality pasta has great taste,and to drown it in "gravy" is frowned upon. I agree. To this Italian, it looks like many restaurants trying to be Italian...While I never eat Spaghetti out,I know a good plate by sight. This is just one Italian's opinion. If you enjoyed it,that's what counts!!! And please, Spaghetti,or pasta, never noodles. Without tasting it,to me it looks like an American version of Italian food.
post edited by leethebard - 2013/11/12 07:40:04
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 07:48:40
Lee-
Thanks so much for your honest opinion.  This is one of the reasons I hesitated in writing about the place is that there is no doubt that this is Americanized Italian food.  And the bread is a weak spot for sure, which is a little surprising since everything else is homemade.  Oh, and thanks for the clarification on the noodles.
 
Still, there is so much to like about this restaurant, especially the back story. 
post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/11/12 09:19:29
pnwchef
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 09:09:03
BB, In your report it shows how proud LOTD are about their sauce. I bet the towns people love it, even ask for more, they bring their own pots. It looks like they already toss two of the noodles in sauce then plate it. They then cover the whole thing in sauce. I would ask the waitress not to cover the plate with sauce, ask for a side of sauce, so you can portion your own as needed. If the food in a restaurant isn't the way you like it, then, order it the way you do like it. I never got mad at special requests in any of my food services, It's up to me to see that my customers are satisfied.
   BB, I would have to say the pie did it for me, I would order a smaller plate of food, maybe have two slices of pie. Nothing like the looks of a homemade pie, it has love written all over it.............this place is still a gem in my opinion.......Thanks for the report, it shows that a good roadfood place doesn't always have to be all about the food..............pnwc
 

 
Sundancer7
Fire Safety Admin
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 09:21:42
BB:  I am a sauce type of guy and l Like losta sauce.  Mamaw Smith and I enjoy Louis on Broadway which in my opinion has by far the best sauce in Knoxville.  More meat, less tomato, slightly salty and not very sweet.  I always order extra sauce as I am not Italian but a true southern Knoxvillian/  Everybody is different and I get that.  I guess the father south you get, the preference is much different.
 
I enjoyed your write and although I probably will never get to New Castle, the pics was great.
http://www.theoriginallouis.com/menu.shtml
 
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
MetroplexJim
Filet Mignon
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 09:35:51
buffetbuster

Oh, and a few years ago, someone told me that they call themselves the "Hot Dog Capital of the World".  Now, I don't know exactly where the hot dog capital of the world is, but I'm fairly certain it isn't in New Castle.  So, I drove up, tried one place, didn't care for it and never went back.


 
Did you go to their original (since 1923) location on Kennedy Square or their rather antiseptic free-standing "new" location up on Wilmington Road (Rt. 18)?  Even though the product is probably the same, the 'ambience' of the original adds to the experience. 
lleechef
Sirloin
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 11:53:46
bb
Thanks for the great report and pictures!!  That is a lot too much pasta and sauce for me........at home we only had a little sauce on top, with more on the side.  But such a lovely find in New Castle!  And the pie looks divine.  I'm surprised she let you carry it in!
lleechef
Sirloin
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 11:53:46
bb
Thanks for the great report and pictures!!  That is a lot too much pasta and sauce for me........at home we only had a little sauce on top, with more on the side.  But such a lovely find in New Castle!  And the pie looks divine.  I'm surprised she let you carry it in!
MetroplexJim
Filet Mignon
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 11:56:20
We moved to New Wilmington, PA in 1962; New Castle was the nearest 'big town' - only 6 miles away.
 
By 1962 New Castle was fading from a magnificent past.  To give you an idea, compare this facility with the one we have in Dallas.
 
It remains a wonderful place to live; here is what $150,000 will buy one today in its finest neighborhood.
 
I love her still, but sadly this says it all. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
lleechef
Sirloin
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 12:11:17
I forgot all about  the Scottish Rite being in NC.......my father was a Mason and used to go up there for special events.
lleechef
Sirloin
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 12:18:22
I know I never went all the way from New Wilmington to NC for a hot dog.
post edited by lleechef - 2013/11/12 12:21:02
leethebard
Sirloin
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 12:22:58
buffetbuster

Lee-
Thanks so much for your honest opinion.  This is one of the reasons I hesitated in writing about the place is that there is no doubt that this is Americanized Italian food.  And the bread is a weak spot for sure, which is a little surprising since everything else is homemade.  Oh, and thanks for the clarification on the noodles.

Still, there is so much to like about this restaurant, especially the back story. 

Yes,I read their story...interesting...and the home made pasta is a plus on their side. Again, congrats on your appointment. You are,indeed, the best reviewer around. Enjoy all your reports.
mlm
Cheeseburger
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 12:57:58
Still looks to me like a wonderful, heartwarming place. I swear, if I there, I'd be likely to show up once a week just for the company even if the food was only average. I suspect that having a mostly local clientele, those fine ladies have learned what most of the customers care about and, therefore, put their time, effort, and funds where they do the most good. Salad and bread may not be eaten much so they save a little there while they focus on homemade sauce, pasta, dressings and desserts. I think it's very nice that they provide a choice of storebought pasta and homemade. These ladies sound like they would be more than happy to individualize your plate, i.e. put the sauce on the side especially if you are prepared and tell them. Who knows they may even come up with a fancier off-menu salad for you! Don't sneer at 'bought' bread, they may have an excellent source. If not, you can use it as a mop for that good sauce.
JRPfeff
Filet Mignon
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 13:41:20
mlm - I was thinking the same thing about mopping the sauce with the bread.
 
bb - Did you witness the regulars doing any mopping?
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 13:54:20
JRPfeff-
No, but I witnessed Mariton doing some mopping!
ScreamingChicken
Filet Mignon
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 13:57:17
Mopping's a waste of time and energy.  Just hold the plate up to your mouth and tip your head back.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 14:24:21
SC-
You are someone who should probably be wearing a bib!
MetroplexJim
Filet Mignon
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 14:25:43
leethebard

The "Pasta" looked average...can't speak,of course, for the taste, but....the bread wasn't real Italian,I looks like that American bread passing as Italian...and those meatballs are anemic in size. And the presentation is very American....TOO much sauce...in Italy they'd tell you that much sauce overwhelms the pasta....quality pasta has great taste,and to drown it in "gravy" is frowned upon. I agree. To this Italian, it looks like many restaurants trying to be Italian...While I never eat Spaghetti out,I know a good plate by sight. This is just one Italian's opinion. If you enjoyed it,that's what counts!!! And please, Spaghetti,or pasta, never noodles. Without tasting it,to me it looks like an American version of Italian food.


First, why would anyone "flag" this post?  For Heaven's sake! 
 
Further, leethebard expresses an opinion which is, frankly, valid.
----------------------------
 
Those who immigrated and 'manned the mills' of the early 20th. Century were, for the most part, Italian, Greek, Lebanese, and Syrian.  Over the years that unique mixture of cultures intermarried; "New Castle Cuisine" reflects that fact.
 
So, to be truthful and accurate, there is no "pure" Italian, Greek, Lebanese, or Syrian cuisine to be found in NeCa.  But, what is served there is damned tasty.
 
What became the "Italian Grocery" - Joseph's was founded by a Mr. Yusef, formerly of Lebanon, who 'anglicized' his last name.  It's now relocated as a boutique grocery, but in its heyday on Long Ave. it had two full aisles of pasta varieties for its largely Italian clientele; haven't seen the like before or since.  M&P Coney, P.O. Lunch, and various diners were mostly Greek.  The Syrians made the pastries, breads, and candies.
 
Here's New Castle's 'famous pizza'; even though the family is Italian, IMHO the pizza isn't.
 
   
 
Here is the famous hot dog emporium:
 

buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 14:30:19
I'm really disappointed Lee's post got flagged.  That wasn't necessary at all.
JB-ME
Hamburger
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 14:36:57
Sundancer7
 sauce... More meat, less tomato, slightly salty and not very sweet.

Sounds like my kind of sauce, Sundancer. My biggest complaint about sauce is that it is too sweet, and I like it meaty, too.
BB--Yet another interesting writeup on two visits to an unusual restaurant. We all know of restaurants that are not open on Sunday, but to find one only open on Sunday is really different! Sounds as if the overall experience was an enjoyable one, and the food was really good, too. Real roadfood.
post edited by JB-ME - 2013/11/12 14:51:00
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 15:24:02
So, the idiot flagger ran out of toes to count.
Greymo
Filet Mignon
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 16:01:29
With all the flaggers and the posters labeling first time posters as spammers, this site has become very unfriendly.  There are too many self-appointed policemen here now and it is no longer as much fun to post or to read.  To bad for a once  great place.
leethebard
Sirloin
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 16:09:07
buffetbuster

I'm really disappointed Lee's post got flagged.  That wasn't necessary at all.

Thanks everyone....I'm so confused. What offended people about my simple post??????? And who is going to man up about flagging it and tell me why?????????? 
joerogo
Filet Mignon
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 17:08:33
leethebard
buffetbuster
I'm really disappointed Lee's post got flagged.  That wasn't necessary at all.

Thanks everyone....I'm so confused. What offended people about my simple post??????? And who is going to man up about flagging it and tell me why?????????? 

 
Hey Lee, I didn't flag you.......but I was thinking about it when you called sauce........Gravy! 
 
BTW, I will be working in Brick for a couple weeks, I'll touch base with you later.
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 17:16:40
What the heck else would you call it if you don't call it gravy?
MetroplexJim
Filet Mignon
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 18:29:21
Michael Hoffman

What the heck else would you call it if you don't call it gravy?


 
(Please don't shoot or 'flag', I'm just making a joke and I used to live there).
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 18:55:05
I've never tried that product. Looks interesting.
ken8038
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 19:21:37
Loved this report, thanks! I myself love lotsa sauce, and don't mind just average Italian Bread if it's used mainly to mop up sauce.
 
Re: Noodles. My Mom was Italian (Brooklyn NY) and in our house Spaghetti was the long stringy stuff, while any type of stubby stuff  (Ziti, farfalle, ditalini, etc) was macaroni.
 
Somehow about maybe 20 years ago everything everywhere became just "pasta".
Texascajun
Cheeseburger
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 22:24:57
I loved the report. A great find. The food looks great. I would love it as shown. I hope to visit it someday. Thank You BB for the report.    
mlm
Cheeseburger
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/12 22:54:00
Funny. Even 'noodle' can get you in trouble these days. I was looking for recipes in food dot com for side dishes. To me, a noodle is an egg noodle of various sizes. When I did my search, I got a lot of asian recipes. OK, that's terrific but not what I want. When I specified 'egg noodle' I still got a lot of asian recipes plus various egg recipes. OK...........  Guess I'll have to figure our what the trendy name before I try again." />
Foodbme
Porterhouse
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/13 00:05:34
leethebard

The "Pasta" looked average...can't speak,of course, for the taste, but....the bread wasn't real Italian,I looks like that American bread passing as Italian...and those meatballs are anemic in size. And the presentation is very American....TOO much sauce...in Italy they'd tell you that much sauce overwhelms the pasta....quality pasta has great taste,and to drown it in "gravy" is frowned upon. I agree. To this Italian, it looks like many restaurants trying to be Italian...While I never eat Spaghetti out,I know a good plate by sight. This is just one Italian's opinion. If you enjoyed it,that's what counts!!! And please, Spaghetti,or pasta, never noodles. Without tasting it,to me it looks like an American version of Italian food.

GUESS WHAT? YOU'NZ DON'T HAVE TO GO THERE-----
mlm
Cheeseburger
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/13 00:17:53
All right now. Waaaay past time to calm down and live and let live. 
MetroplexJim
Filet Mignon
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/13 10:52:58
As I don't know where I'm going to go with this, I'll start by thanking buffetbuster for starting this thread.
 
Because it is a 'college town' my hometown of New Wilmington remains stable and prosperous.  Nearby New Castle has lost more than half its population.  Those who remain are well illustrated by your picture of the waitress and the other diners at LOTD.  Once a thriving industrial powerhouse its largest employer is now a healthcare conglomerate specializing in 'services for Seniors'; thus goes "My Little Town".
 
The last time I visited was February, 2010 to attend to a family matter.  On that sad occasion two things cheered me up:  meeting Joe Greene on the flight up from DFW and the prospect of dinner at "The V".
 
To my horror, The Villanova Inn had closed.  Why?  This joint had it all: a well-lit dining room for families two steps up from a darker bar with plenty of comfortable booths.  Their menu had steaks, chops, and all the red-sauce Italian classics.  They also did the best "bar food" I have ever tasted: wonderful pizza and a 'Pittsburgh-style plate-covering' fish sandwich.  I had had magnificent wings there before they came to be called "Buffalo"; they were 'hot drummies'.  Yet, they had closed.  The truth hit me:  their clients were either dead or, like me, gone.  The silver-haired widows that remain together with their $8/hour attendants were not part of the V's "key demo".  Disheartened, we drove the 20 miles up 18 to Sharon and enjoyed ourselves at the original Quaker Steak & Lube:  Three by the River.
 
The next day I walked into G&M Coney and walked right back out.  It had transmogrified from a homey beer bar that served great hot dogs into a brightly-lit fast food vibe.  As did not match my mood we drove 20 miles east out 224 to The Inner Circle in Boardman, OH.  For the remainder of the trip we gave up on New Castle and dined happily at several of these places owned by a kid a few years behind me in high school.
 
Now that my mother has passed is there any reason for me to visit anymore?  Yes!  That country is absolutely beautiful: rich, rolling hill farmland underlain by the Marcellus Shale.  You can buy a palace in a great 'hood for $150K.  It's a shopper's paradise, tax-free at the Grove City Outlets.  Golf courses are very plentiful, uncrowded, and cheap.  New Castle CC was designed by Tillinghast; Youngstown's municipal course is 36 holes designed by the greatest of them all:  Donald Ross, Himself.  And, of course, the most pleasant and welcoming big city on Earth is only a short drive away! 
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/13 10:58:49
I don't know for sure, but it seems almost as if you sort of like the area. But I can understand that. Because of lleechef I've come to really, really like Western Pennsylvania.
lleechef
Sirloin
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/13 11:23:49
I spent 4 lovely years in New Wilmington at Westminster College.  When my parents would come to visit we would always eat at The Tavern.  What great sticky buns! 
About those friend's places, one of them, Log Cabin Inn, I have been there many, many times.......with my parents and also with Michael.  It's wonderful, with the walls decorated with moose heads, deer heads, beavers, etc. and the food has always been really good.  My father used to go hunting in Tionesta (50 years ago) and on the way back, him and his buddies would stop in for a beer.  It was just a plain log cabin then that was a little tavern.
ScreamingChicken
Filet Mignon
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/13 12:21:28
MetroplexJim

And, of course, the most pleasant and welcoming big city on Earth is only a short drive away!
That'd be Cleveland?
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/13 12:45:02
MetroplexJim

buffetbuster

Oh, and a few years ago, someone told me that they call themselves the "Hot Dog Capital of the World".  Now, I don't know exactly where the hot dog capital of the world is, but I'm fairly certain it isn't in New Castle.  So, I drove up, tried one place, didn't care for it and never went back.



Did you go to their original (since 1923) location on Kennedy Square or their rather antiseptic free-standing "new" location up on Wilmington Road (Rt. 18)?  Even though the product is probably the same, the 'ambience' of the original adds to the experience. 

It was the location on the square of M & P Coney Island that I visited a few years ago.  It was just ordinary.  During my trips to New Castle over 2013, I visited four of the bigger names in local hot dogs, including a revisit to that M & P.  Unfortunately, this time it was not good at all.  Can't think of any reason to go back.  There are much better hot dog joints in town, which I will be highlighting soon.
 
And thanks for all the information and sharing your memories about the area! 
TnTinCT
Cheeseburger
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/13 13:11:32
Am also a lover of heavily red-sauced pasta (ok, at least if I like a lot of sauce I still call it pasta ) Those pictures are drool-worthy. I love the salad discussion - we have a couple of places that without the dressing the salad would be totally pedestrian, but add those homemade dressings and it turns into a thing of beauty.  I am feeling inspired and need to remember to bring the camera to some of our favorite haunts (and one of them is another great red sauce place, although without the Sunday pedigree and history that this one has), to review. Great as always!!
billyboy
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/13 13:46:36
BB, super awesome beginning to what I know will be a super awesome series!  Having grown up in a very red sauce heavy town, count me among the folks who utterly LOVE the look and description of that Homemade Platter!  I love a good platter of chicken parm but I also have a weak spot for combination platters in places where the sauce and pasta are homemade.  You really do have a wonderful ability to connect with people and raw out their stories like no one I've ever seen.  Keep on keepin' on, man!
MetroplexJim
Filet Mignon
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/13 14:44:57
ScreamingChicken

MetroplexJim

And, of course, the most pleasant and welcoming big city on Earth is only a short drive away!
That'd be Cleveland?



MetroplexJim
Filet Mignon
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/13 15:25:20
lleechef mentioned this place above.  I recommend it highly as well. 
 
When I was a teen living there it was "Recommended by Duncan Hines" and it is still "alive and doing very well".
post edited by MetroplexJim - 2013/11/13 16:36:20
eruby
Double Cheeseburger
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/14 07:14:45
Great report as always BB!
 
Greymo

With all the flaggers and the posters labeling first time posters as spammers, this site has become very unfriendly.  There are too many self-appointed policemen here now and it is no longer as much fun to post or to read.  To bad for a once  great place.
It indeed seems a few posters here live by the mantra "I'm not happy until you're not happy."

leslie638
Junior Burger
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/16 09:04:40
Wow, BB thanks for this report.  I think I'm going to have to take a big appetite friend & make a road trip this winter.  Probably going to have to bring a afghan for the ride home.
MetroplexJim
Filet Mignon
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/16 09:34:32
leslie638

Wow, BB thanks for this report.  I think I'm going to have to take a big appetite friend & make a road trip this winter.  Probably going to have to bring a afghan for the ride home.


Or, you can buy a new afghan or quilt here.
 
Both the Volant, Pa. Shops (to quote my daughter-in-law:  "The place where Christmas exploded!" and the Grove City Outlets are only a short drive from New Castle. 
 
Enjoy lunch and make a day of it.
Pancho
Double Cheeseburger
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/16 09:39:54
Or better yet, you could just take one with you!
http://afghanhound.rescueshelter.com/Pennsylvania
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:New Castle, PA Roadfood 2013/11/16 11:04:56
Mariton and I went out for dinner last night.  This restaurant gets so crowded on Friday night (they make the best fish sandwich in Western PA, IMO), that they will sometimes seat you at bigger tables with other parties.  This doesn't bother me and we sat next to two couples who were from New Castle.  We were told the best restaurant in town is called Hazel's and one of the things they do best is liver.  Mariton loves liver, so we will probably run up and check it out this week.
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