Quality: 4 out of 5
Since 1955, Barbato’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria has been tossing pizzas and serving the Erie area with a variety of submarines, calzones and dinner entrees.
However, this past weekend was the first time I tried Barbato’s food in my four years of attending Mercyhurst College.
On Sunday evening, my roommate and I wanted to grab a quick bite to eat close to Mercyhurst. Since Barbato’s is only a seven-minute drive down the street, our decision was easily made.
Located at 1529 W. 38th St., Barbato’s is not only a dine-in restaurant, but also offers carry out and delivery services.
Upon arriving to Barbato’s, the first thing I noticed was that the entire parking lot was as empty as my stomach.
The lack of customers was good news for us because we sat at a table of our choice immediately.
Barbato’s dining room is similar to many privately owned Italian restaurants with its Italy-inspired grape vine table cloths and wall décor. In one corner, a soup and salad bar stood alone. My roommate and I wondered if it was closed since it was a Sunday.
After sitting down at a table, a server approached our table and took our drink orders. We both ordered waters to maintain our small college budgets.
Apparently, Barbato’s must understand an average college student’s income because their food is reasonably priced.
From appetizers priced below $5 to Italian dinners priced under $10, Barbato’s is a college student’s dream. Having consumed pasta Saturday evening, I decided to mix up my diet by ordering a small Italian Veggie pizza – a combination of Barbato’s traditional tomato sauce with cheese, mushroom, black olives, sweet peppers, onions and tomato slices.
At Barbato’s a small pizza is cut into six slices, whereas a medium is equivalent to eight slices and a large has 12 slices.
Also in the mood for a pizza, my roommate ordered the Barbato Supreme – an extra cheese, pepperoni, mushroom, onion and green pepper pizza pie.
While waiting approximately 15 minutes for our pizzas, two stern-looking Erie police officers entered Barbato’s dining room. Somewhat surprised, my roommate and I looked at each other wondering if we were going to get arrested for stealing the Parmesan cheese from the nearby table.
We both exhaled when the two officers took a seat at a table across the room from us and ordered a calzone.
Shortly after the police officers sat down, our server brought out a sandwich platter with potato chips. My roommate and I looked at each other and then the server in confusion.
She explained this was the Veggie Delight I ordered. Looking at the veggie-filled submarine, I realized how the confusion occurred. Barbato’s has both a “Veggie Delight” pizza and a “Veggie Delight” submarine.
Since I initially contemplated getting the Veggie Delight sub, I decided to keep it. Even though my meal was ready, my roommate’s pizza took an additional five minutes to arrive.
The Supreme pizza was loaded with onions, veggies, and cheese. I could barely see pepperoni or sauce below the mound of vegetables. Extremely generous, my roommate allowed me to try her pizza. I did not need more than a bite to recognize Barbato’s pizza sauce is unique because it is sweet and tangy.
Digging into my Veggie Delight sub, I realized this was a blessing in disguise. Roasted peppers and onions, mushrooms, melted cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and Italian dressing stacked between Italian bread made my taste buds leap for joy. I absolutely loved this combination because it was filling and knocked out my hunger pains.
Not only was my veggie sub delicious, but for $3.39, my wallet and I could not have been happier.