Joanne Virgilio admits it’s difficult to name which dishes have drawn customers to the newest restaurant she owns with her husband, Roberto. She thinks for a moment. “The pasta dishes?” she questions. “It’s kind of hard.”
But perhaps patrons of Virgilio’s Ristorante & Pizzeria in Hanover have already answered that question for themselves. After all, Joanne and her husband, have operated Alfredo’s Pizza – another Italian-style restaurant in Hanover – for two decades.
Pasta and pizza are big staples at Alfredo’s. The same can be said of Virgilio’s, which launched in mid-February at 1154 West Elm Avenue – the site of the former Cappella’s Pizzeria Ristorante. Standard pasta fare includes nine different kinds of spaghetti and an assortment of baked dishes like lasagna, manicotti, stuffed shells and eggplant parmesan.
You can find weekend specials such as the Pasta Primavera – blending the flavors of Italy and Greece with shrimp, red and yellow peppers, Kalamata olives, garlic, olive oil and the restaurant’s special marinara sauce – and Veal Francese with lemon wine butter sauce.
Pizza comes in classic flavors like pepperoni, along with 10 different specialty pies. Virgilio’s take on the veggie pizza has been a big hit with customers, according to Joanne. So has the cheese and garlic oil white pizza.
And then there’s the crown jewel of the pizza pie menu: the Virgilio’s Stuffed. “Crust on the bottom, crust on the top,” Joanne says. “And double the meat!”
Besides pizza and pasta, the restaurant offers hot subs (steak and veal parmesan), cold subs (turkey and provolone and Italian), sandwiches (tuna and marinated chicken), salads and soups. Appetizers range from mussels marinara to onion rings. And for dessert, there’s cannoli or tiramisu.
Virgilio’s is housed in a freshly renovated space. Look around and you’ll see plenty of references to Bella Napoli – or “beautiful Naples,” as the Italian city is fondly known. According to legend, Naples is where pizza was invented. And it’s where Roberto, who immigrated to the United States in 1981, is from.
“We should know pizza!” Joanne says.
• 1154 West Elm Avenue, Hanover; 630-9600
• Sunday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m.