Each week, Cranberry Patch picks a great restaurant either in town or nearby that is worth checking out. This week, we ventured to the newly opened Luciano’s Italian Brick Oven in Adam’s Township. Mangia!
Overview:When owner Dan Pasquarelli says his restaurant has authentic Italian food, he isn’t kidding. Born in the Abruzzi region of Italy, Pasquarelli came to America with his family when he was 6 months old. All of the mouthwatering pasta, lasagna and other assorted dishes featured at the 8,600 square-foot restaurant and banquet facility are recipes handed down from his ancestors. Each item on the menu is made from scratch, and Pasquarelli takes pride in using only the finest ingredients. After opening his original Luciano’s in White Oak – where it is a local favorite – more than 35 years ago, Pasquarelli and his family today operate Luciano’s restaurants in Bethel Park, Penn Township, McCandless Township, Squirrel Hill and, now, Adam’s Township.
“This is a phenomenal area,” Pasquarelli said. “There is lots of growth out here.”
Decor:A sprawling brick building with a stone entrance, the black-and-white and sepia-toned family portraits that dot the walls give Luciano’s a homey vibe. Bronzed tin ceilings featuring decorative scrolls compliment a warm, well-lit interior, but the piece de resistance is the expansive dark-wood bar that rolls across the front of the building. With six 60-inch flat-screen televisions, there’s not a bad seat in the house. The hilltop restaurant also has outdoor seating for dining in warmer weather, complimented by a nice view of the Adams Township’s business district. Bellisima!
The Drinks: The classic bar, with is decorative concrete countertops and mirrored backdrops, is the perfect place to enjoy Luciano’s wide selection of wines and beers.
Appetizers: The menu features classic Italian appetizers, such as stuffed hot peppers ($7.60) oozing with melted cheese and homemade marinara sauce and plates of plentiful fried zucchini ($7.85). Other small-size delights include fried asparagus ($7.85) and a bruschetta ($6.90) topped with olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, mozzarella and grated Romano. With each meal, patrons are treated to homemade bread accompanied by a side of spices coated in olive oil for your dipping pleasure.
Entrees: If you like spicy, be sure to try the Pasta Diavolo, a creamy mixture of alfredo, marinara and meatball sauces kicked up a notch with banana peppers and chunky slices of sausage. The dish also comes with chicken or shrimp. The homemade lasagna ($14.95 for the dinner portion) is divine, as is the restaurant’s signature Pasta Luciano’s ($13.95 for the dinner portion), a penne dish tossed in just the right blend of alfredo and marinara sauces. The 8-oz. jumbo lump crab cakes ($21.95) topped with a sweet pepper sauce fall apart at the touch of a fork, but the restaurant is perhaps best known for its hand-tossed pizzas. Available at the restaurant or for delivery, some of the standouts include the Buffalo Chicken Pizza, the Stuffed Spinach Pizza, and the Hawaiian Pizza. If you like your pizza unique, Luciano’s offers a variety of toppers such a shrimp, feta cheese, and Canadian bacon. Prices range from $7.90 for a small traditional pizza to $20.95 for an extra-large specialty pizza with all the fixings.
Sides:Indulge in a side dish of spaghetti ($5.70), homemade gnocchi ($6.10) or the famous Pasta Luciano’s ($6.35). Add-ons include meatballs ($3 for two), hot sausage ($2.35) and freshly minced garlic ($0.65).
Desserts:Take a diet break with a delizioso slice of cheesecake covered in fresh strawberries, a chocolate mouse torte or a decadent tiramisu.
Service:Be sure to stop and say hello to the welcoming Pasquarelli family members, who always are bustling around the restaurant or the kitchen. With the owners taking special care to train the serving staff, expect your meals pronto.
Signature Dish: Pasta Luciano or a specialty Lucci Pizza.
Address: 161 Scharberry Lane, Mars
Chef: Pasquarelli family