Pitrelli's Italian Ristorante serves Veal and Prosciutto Tortellini and Antipasta in their restaurant in old Mason. The Enquirer/Jeff Swinger
Searching for the most romantic restaurant in Mason to take your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day? Search no more. MasonBuzz readers have voted and the top Valentine’s Day date spot in Mason is… Pitrelli’s Italian Ristorante.
The locally-owned family eatery topped the charts with 43 percent of 575 votes cast. The Claddagh Irish Pub trailed with 32 percent of the vote, followed by Wildflower Cafe with 13 percent, The Polo Grille with six percent and Brazenhead Irish Pub with four percent.
Several readers also left write-in comments for Mimi’s Cafe, Cafe Bella and Aponte’s.
Jim and Linda Pitrelli launched Pitrelli’s out of their West Chester home. The husband and wife team were teachers at St. Susanna’s in Mason when the longtime food lovers and part-time caterers got their first big order for their line of Italian sauces from retailer Jungle Jim’s.
It wasn’t long before rave reviews of their sauces and catering led to the opening in 2004 of Pitrelli’s Italian Cafe. In late 2010, the couple relocated and expanded the now renamed Pitrelli’s Italian Ristorante to 404 2nd Ave. in downtown Mason.
Nicknamed by patrons as the “Italian Cheers” of Mason, the restaurant has become known as a warm and inviting mom-and-pop operation providing authentic Italian cuisine amongst a sea of chain restaurants.
“Forget the big chain restaurants where you are just a piece of plastic,” wrote Lynn Daum in her nomination of Pitrelli’s. “If you want someplace romantic, try Pitrelli’s. Comfortable, friendly, great service, and authentic Italian food – not some goo smothered in tomato paste.”
Linda Teater Trammel says she enjoys the restaurant’s ambiance, good food and reasonable prices.
“It has great food, is a romantic setting with great ambiance and being housed in an old post office, it definitely has lots of memories. There is no other place in Mason that has what it has,” she wrote.
“Wonderful violin player strolls among the tables, fabulous food, cozy atmosphere, the food is top shelf. Dessert? The restaurant is is connected to a bakery! Pitrelli’s – absolutely fabulous!” echoed Angelina Mueth.
A serving of cannoli at Pitrelli's in Mason. File photo
The Pitrelli’s say they work hard to create a welcoming atmosphere where patrons feel like family. The 5,000 square-foot space is broken up into four dining areas to offer diners a cozy, intimate atmosphere.
“When you walk in, it’s like you’re walking into our house,” said Jim. “In the front hallway when you come in, there’s pictures of our family: Linda and I at prom, our wedding photos and family pictures. That’s part of the charm of the restaurant.”
It’s the restaurant’s homespun blend of ambiance, family atmosphere and its Italian comfort food menu that turns diners into regulars, said Jim.
The restaurant is famous for its signature eggplant Parmesan (believed by many a hopeful pregnant woman to induce labor) and lasagna. Pizza is also a popular menu offering, said Jim.
“The pizza is phenomenal,” he said. “We make a really good pizza.”
The restaurant also boasts a full-service bakery, offering cannolis, tiramisu, crème brûlée cheesecake and other sweet treats.
But diners hoping for a Valentine’s Day dinner at Pitrelli’s will be disappointed to know the restaurant is completely booked tonight.
“I couldn’t get Obama in tonight. We’re booked solid,” said Jim with a laugh.
The restaurant is accepting reservations for later this week and weekend. To make a reservation, call 513-770-0122.
Have you eaten at Pitrelli’s? What did you think? Tell us your experiences in the comments below.
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