Small brick building that screams dive.
A scant amount of tables scattered around, a cooler with a selection of your standard sodas and minimal decor.
A minimalistic menu of pastas, pizzas and sub sandwiches.
Friendly banter between the cook and the police officer who pops in for a meal to go.
But don't judge a book by its cover!
If you look even further into the location you will notice a steady stream of clientele, phones ringing off the hook, take out orders flying out the doors, not to mention the awards for Best Pizza in 2010, multiple "Reader Selection" winner plaques as well as framed "thank yous" for sponsoring local sports leagues hanging off the walls.
What can you determine from a neighbourhood joint that's been open since 1983?
The food must be decent right? To say the least!
Antonitta (Ma as the boys call her) and her husband Carmine started the business after immigrating to Canada from Potenza, Italy and gave up their Italian bakery years prior.
Their two grown sons, Mike and Vito also share in the daily life at the restaurant and have since '83 or so.
A true family business!
I sat around and joked after my meal with Mike who said any questions I had should be directed to the matriarch of the family - Ma.
I didn't want to have an "interview" with Antonitta, I just wanted to pick her brain, find out what keeps her going and maybe sneak a peak into their family recipes!
"I love to cook, that's why I do it" she says. "I'm here from about 1pm to about 11pm every day"
One of the sweetest, hard working woman I have encountered.
A doll really!
We chatted for nearly half an hour, talking about Italy, cooking, cannolis - while the boys did the rest of the work ;)
There are many homemades here which will bring me back my next visit but the reason for our stop - the Wednesday night special!
A whoppin bowl of spaghetti, homemade sauce and 3 giant meatballs along with a side salad and garlic bread for a mere $6.50!!?!!
A true Italian red gravy and juicy tender meatballs.
I was in heaven.
When I asked Mike for some chili flakes he proceeded to give me a warning about the contents of the shaker.
"They're homemade, they aren't like what you're likely used to so go easy"
He was right, I was wrong - please pass the water.
I desperately and forcefully finished every last bite - I had wanted to bring home a doggie bag but it was there, staring at me, my taste buds urging me to just keep going....I went home bloated, satisfied, happy.
If you are ever in the area I have to urge you to stop in for a quick bite. Say hi to the fam for me too!
And try the homemade manicotti for me - let me know how it is.
Central Pizzeria & Restaurant is located at 161 Central Ave. Fort Erie, ON, Canada.