For non-stop pizza, get ready for Pisa Pizza Buffet

TABLE TALK

October 28, 1999|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,Sun Restaurant Critic

Are you ready for the Pisa Pizza Buffet? It's scheduled to open in early November in the York Road shopping center across from the Timonium Fairgrounds.

The name might not grab you, but the concept is colossal. All the pizza, calzone, pasta, Italian bread, salad and dessert pizza you can eat for $3.99! Twenty-five specialty pizzas on the buffet! A game room like ESPNZone! Big-creen TVs! Decor like Ruth's Chris Steak House! (OK, I haven't seen it. That's according to co-owner Joseph Impallaria.)

Garage-like doors lower to create party rooms of varying sizes. And get this. If you're having, say, a soccer party, someone will come to videotape your kid's game beforehand, and it will then be broadcast on the big screen TV during the party.

So the food will take a back seat, right? Not necessarily. Impallaria's family ran Impallaria's Bakery in Little Italy for 100 years. He'll be using his family's bread and dough recipes in the restaurant, and all sauces and so on will be made on the premises.

Down but not out

Ed Rogers, owner-chef of La Tesso Tana near the Meyerhoff, has closed his other restaurant, Ashley M's in Mount Vernon. It was a pleasant little place but somehow never developed the following it deserved.

The Hacienda, a long-time Mexican restaurant in Gardenville, also closed a couple of weeks ago. "Lots of neighborhood restaurants and bars are feeling the squeeze from the chains," says former co-owner Jeff Lipkin.

His story has a happy ending, though. He and his brother Eric and their partner, Jim Glatz, started baking artisan breads (gourmet breads made from natural ingredients) and selling them wholesale six months ago. Now his bakery, Noah's -- located where the Hacienda was -- is doing quite well supplying McCormick & Schmick's, the Ruby Lounge, John Stevens Ltd. and several other restaurants in the area.

More than Italian

Customers of Viccino Bistro (1317 N. Charles St.) have noticed some changes in the last couple of weeks. While Italian food is still the backbone of the menu, new food and beverage director Henry Pertman has added dishes for fans of Southwest and Asian cooking. "It's eclectic rooted in Italian," he says.

Ironically, Pertman has come almost full circle from where he started. His first restaurant, Henry & Jeff's, is across the street and just south of Viccino. He and his partner, Jeff Pressman, left there to open three J. P. Henry's in 1997. When those failed, Pertman became executive chef at the Tavern at Centre Park in Columbia. Now he's back in Baltimore.

Bombay Grill times 5

We've been hearing that Indian food is the hottest ethnic cuisine nationwide for some time now, but you couldn't tell it from this area. Maybe the recent opening of the fifth Bombay Grill location, in Owings Mills (11308 Reisterstown Road), means something. Or maybe the owners are just savvy business people.

Table Talk welcomes interesting tidbits of restaurant news. Please send suggestions to Elizabeth Large, Table Talk, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278; fax to 410-752-6049; or e-mail to elizabeth.large@baltsun.com.

Pub Date: 10/28/99

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