Patch has reached out to local restaurant owners to get the details of their establishments. We've rounded up some interesting tidbits of history as well as what dishes to try.
This week we caught up with Scittino's on Edmondson Avenue. Here's what you need to know to enjoy your dining experience:
- 1701 Edmondson Avenue
- Open Sunday through Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- Most customers order for takeout or delivery (minimum $10).
- Cafe-style seating is available; no table service
- BYOB; no corkage fee
- More than half of eat-in customers bring children; high chair available; child-friendly menu includes pizza, chicken tenders and grilled cheese
- Italian grocery within the store enables you to shop while you wait
- Parking availability: street; small lots adjacent to building, across the street (adjacent to 7-Eleven) and in front of building
- Wide variety of customizable catering options; see “Catering” section of website for details, or request a catering menu
What They Do: Authentic, Homemade Italian.
- Appetizer: Steamed Shrimp ($11 per pound)
- Entree: Pepperoni Pizza ($2.50 per slice; $9 for small pizza)
- Dessert: Chocolate-Top Cookies ($11 per pound)
- Italian Cold Cut: Scittino's recently placed in Baltimore's top 10 for this sandwich. "Our cold-cut sales have probably doubled since that article," said owner Josie Schroeter.
- Lasagna: "It's more time-consuming than any of the other dishes because it takes a lot of prep work," Schroeter said. "I start [by] making my own meat sauce; I use about half beef and half pork. I let that cook for several hours, and then I make the filling, which is ricotta cheese, eggs, parsley, Parmesan and a little pepper. I mix that and then I layer my lasagna with the sauce, noodles, ricotta filling, mozzarella cheese and more sauce."
- Soup: Schroeter said her forte is "classic Italian," and she enjoys making basics like meatballs and fresh marinara, but her favorite thing to cook is homemade soups. "I do a variety all winter long. Chicken noodle and Maryland crab are staples, but I also make beef stew, lentil soup and pasta e fagioli for those cold winter nights."
- Monday and Tuesday: $2 off 12-inch, one-topping pizza
- Daily homemade specials, which change seasonally: current offerings include meat loaf on Monday, pot roast on Wednesday and stuffed rockfish on Friday. "I've also brought back Baltimore coddies," Schroeter said. "You know, those cod cakes they used to serve at every lunch counter in Baltimore with crackers and mustard?" She makes them from scratch, starting with soaked salt cod and mashed potatoes, and they sell almost as fast as she can fry them.
Who's in Charge: The Scittinos, naturally; Sal and Josie, two of four Scittino siblings. The family emigrated from Sicily in 1958, where Mr. Scittino owned a butcher shop; he took what work he could get in the United States, but Schroeter said her father "had it in the back of his mind that he wanted to own his own business instead of working for somebody else."
Why They're Here: After years of doing the weekly shopping at their current location, an Italian grocery called Sorrento's (no relation to the current Sorrento's on Route 40), Mr. Scittino came home one day empty-handed and asked his daughter to accompany him back to the store. It was closed, but he didn't know English and couldn't read the sign on the door. Schroeter translated for him: there had been a tragic accident in which the owner had been instantly killed. "If you needed to speak to someone, they had a lawyer’s name on the sign," she remembered. "So we bought it."
Why They Love Catonsville: "It's a family, small-town atmosphere," Schroeter said. "People come into the store and we know them, and we knew their parents and grandparents and uncles, and now we’re getting to know their children." The children's art adorning the walls, and the sheaf of thank-you notes from athletic associations, schools, churches and charities, attest to the strong relationships the Scittinos have built within the community. "You know, when you come to work and you enjoy what you're doing," mused Schroeter, "you don't feel like you're at work."