Hearty helpings abound at Pirone's, where chefs construct a sizeable menu of steaks, seafood, pizzas, and other traditional Italian specialties. As the dinner curtain rises, feast your eyes and your lips upon an opening number of fried calamari ($11) or mussels marinara ($10) before moving on to sing the praises of a tender, boneless chicken cacciatore ($17) backed by peppers and onions, and simmering in a marinara mushroom sauce. Waiters cart plates of meat- or cheese-tortellini alfredo ($16), chosen from among more than 22 pasta picks that range from traditional spaghetti with meatballs ($22) to an eggplant-topped baked ziti ($16). Meal-goers can appease meaty appetites with a mushroom-infused veal marsala ($19) or a thick-cut steak à la Pirone ($21) topped with mushrooms, provolone, shrimp, sherry sauce, and a miniature model of the restaurant, and those who prefer sliceable sustenance can snack on a sliver of spinach-and-ricotta pizza ($8–$17) or divide a mini calzone ($7) into five mini-er calzones.
Chef Bruno LaMarca began his culinary career at a ski resort in the mountains of Abruzzo before traveling to Burlington County, where he spent the next few decades working in the pizzeria business. Though he briefly flirted with the idea of opening restaurants elsewhere, LaMarca ultimately decided to stick around, saying “I always wanted to stay local and give my friends, family and neighbors a nice restaurant.” So, he purchased a local ice-cream shop, remodeled it to look like a Tuscan villa, and opened Casamari Restaurant.
Today, Chef LaMarca cooks up homestyle Italian favorites such as lobster manicotti, veal saltimbocca, and Italian-style crab cakes filled with lump crab meat, zucchini, and fresh herbs. Since his restaurant is BYOB, diners can pair their dishes with a bottle of wine or really old grape juice from home.
At Apollo’s casual eatery, cooks layer freshly baked Italian rolls with a variety of deli meats and cheeses and top from-scratch pizza dough with herbs, sauce, and a house-blended mix of cheeses. When they’re not hand-tossing dough or stuffing strombolis with custom ingredients, they’re crafting homemade meat lasagna, sausage-stuffed pasta shells, and seafood plates such as fillet of flounder. They also prepare hoagies, burgers, and a sextet of salads made with garden-fresh veggies.
Behind stone countertops lit by orange pendant lights, staff members slice up thin-crust pizza, fill plates with pasta, and pile Angus beef burgers with toppings and condiments. Chefs slide over plates of Italian specialties such as veal parmigiana and penne alfredo as well as American-style fare such as wraps and chicken wings. Soft drinks from the soda fountain splash into ice-filled cups to accompany dinners, and the restaurant's BYOB policy encourages diners to bring in a bottle of their favorite libation, such as red wine or smoothies made from bottled ships, to accompany all-you-can eat pasta and signature angel pizza with fresh greens and bruschetta tomatoes. For offsite events, the catering menu offers trays of chicken parmigiana, baked ziti, and antipasto to fuel holiday parties and family gatherings.
Fresh dough bubbles up around house-made mozzarella, sauces cooked daily, and recently reaped toppings at The Pizza Kitchen. The menu's savory starters parade bacon-wrapped scallops and potato skins cradling buffalo chicken and blue cheese, ideal for snacking on game day or luring a mascot out from under the bed. Stone-lined ovens, inspired by the co-owner's personal outdoor kitchen, exhale fiery currents across pizzas outfitted with meatballs, bacon, green peppers, mushrooms or a host of other toppings. Diners carry out dough disks and two liters of soda for at-home feasts or picnics uninterrupted by cutlery salesmen.
Tomato sauce basks in lochs of extra-virgin olive oil atop the tomato pie, a thin-crust creation that Pomodoro’s channels from the osterias of Italy. Sicilian-style and mozzarella-spotted margharita pies round out the menu’s pizza selection alongside a variety of Italian cuisine, from gourmet pastas and handheld paninis to desserts such as homemade profiteroles. Crimson walls reflect off Formica tabletops within the cozy dining room, where an exhibition kitchen enables diners to view the chefs’ culinary prowess or to engage them in games of peekaboo.