Gourmet pizzas in Pasadena


February 14, 2002|By Elizabeth Large | Elizabeth Large,SUN RESTAURANT CRITIC

Pasadena will be getting a new Italian restaurant soon, Bella Napoli in the Mountain Marketplace shopping center. Owner Biagio Carannante also owns a Mama Lucia's, but this venture will be much more ambitious, with a liquor license and seating for 120.

Gourmet pizzas, including individual ones, are a specialty, but the menu also includes lots of pastas, chicken, veal and seafood.

Bella Napoli will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Entrees run from $8.95 to $15.95.

A place for kids and adults

The new Amer's Cafe at 7624 Belair Road redefines kid-friendly. Besides a children's menu, it has a pizza bar where kids can make their own pizzas. Owner Mohamed Amer got the idea for the bar when he was working at Cafe Isis and his grandson would visit and ask if he could help make pizzas.

Grown-ups can also find plenty to like at this American/Mediterranean/Egyptian restaurant. Amer's serves up kebabs; chicken, lamb, shrimp and vegetarian dishes; and 26 kinds of pizzas. Twice a month there's belly dancing on Friday nights.

Amer's is open daily for lunch and dinner. Entrees are priced from $7.95 to $14.95, and major credit cards are accepted.

Of credit-card numbers and reservations

Recently, someone com- plained to me about Blue Agave's policy of asking for a credit-card number when taking a reservation, but there's a perfectly logical reason behind it. The practice is common in New York and may become more common here -- particularly on weekends when no-shows can mean a loss of income if a restaurant has had to turn other customers away. The idea is that if you know your card will be charged a set amount, you'll cancel your reservations instead of simply not showing up

Idiots and restaurants

If I were feeling uncharitable, I'd say you have to be a complete idiot to want to open your own restaurant. So I completely agree with the title of the just-published Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting Your Own Restaurant (Alpha, 2002).

Written by industry insider Howard Cannon, the book is a fun read, even if you don't want to get into the business. There's lots of information packed into this volume, but the most important is this: Eighty percent of new restaurants fail in three to five years.

Table Talk welcomes interesting tidbits of restaurant news. Please send suggestions to Elizabeth Large, Table Talk, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore MD 21278; fax to 410-783-2519; or e-mail to elizabeth.large@baltsun.com.

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