A long-standing, neighborhood favorite, Salvatore’s was opened in 1976 by Sicilian immigrants, Salvatore and Vincenza Tinervia. Today the restaurant is still owned by their descendants and extended family members.
Upon entry, one is greeted by a lovely outdoor patio on your right (not open today), and a buffet directly in front of you. There are two dining rooms divided by a small bar, which seats only at the bar. At lunchtime just the front dining room is open. The large room held five booths each along two walls and about ten tables filled out the rest of the space. The decor is a little dated with too many fake flowers and plants but overall, it's a casual and friendly atmosphere.
It was packed when we arrived and we soon figured out why. Everyone was bellying up to the $7.50 lunch buffet. You may eat to your heart’s content from a salad and pizza bar that also includes a pasta selection, various meat and vegetable entrees, and a soft drink.
The full menu was presented to us but only the lunch page was available (lunch menu is not online). The owners are pushing people to the lunch buffet and it makes good economic sense; it just isn’t our preference. We didn’t see any appetizers on the lunch page but upon questioning, our server informed us we could order garlic bread, garlic bread with cheese, bruschetta, or bread sticks. Since garlic bread comes with the entrees, the only logical choice was bruschetta.
Unfortunately, a few minutes later our server returned to tell us it was unavailable because they were baking the necessary bread that wouldn’t be ready for sometime. (The restaurant had been closed for the long holiday weekend.) Although we were disappointed, we respected the fact that they make their food fresh.
So we started with the house salads, simple but good. Iceberg lettuce with a small scattering of croutons, tomatoes, and cucumbers, a wedge of onion, two slices of pepperoni, and the house-made, slightly sweet, Italian dressing on the side.
We both chose from the pasta list for our entrees, Lasagne and Chicken Alfredo. The Lasagne came out too hot to eat (oven, not microwave) and drowning in sauce but did we enjoy both dishes. Pasta was not over-cooked and the alfredo was balanced and nicely presented; it was decent, home-made food. Our server was overly attentive but that’s better than neglect.
You won’t find anything particularly innovative or unusual but you will find a down-home, friendly, local restaurant. It reminded us of Tillman’s (but in an Italian way) where neighborhood people gather to enjoy food, beverages, and company. Neither place claims anything else, and as befitting their antiquity, you won’t find them on twitter or facebook (update: Tillman’s is now on fb :).