My husband, Bobby, and I really enjoy the Food Network’s show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Mostly because it gives us a look at out-of-the-ordinary types of food and because the restaurants are unique and well loved by the locals. Probably because we like to try new places, we jumped at the chance to join our friends, Ron and Jan Maxwell, in trying Bella Sera Pizzeria and Ristorante in Massillon, Ohio.
The Maxwell’s had not been to the restaurant either. They had heard about the pizzeria from Jan’s sister, Jody, who raved about it, especially the pepperoni rolls. With this information, we were all eager to see if it lived up to the hype.
Let me tell you, they surpassed expectations. While the restaurant has what I would call an understated exterior, in a nondescript strip mall, that is the only thing that made me a little leary. But once we were seated and got our first taste of the pepperoni roll, we knew we found a winner. The pepperoni rolls are huge!
What I am unsure about is whether the pepperoni rolls are like the bread sticks that are served in other restaurants. What I mean is that it is possible it gets delivered to every table. Either way they are definitely worth the trip even if you only get the pepperoni rolls. They are actually award winning, as stated by an article on the wall.
One of the”rules” Bobby has for us (and anyone who is with us) is that we have to order different things from the menu. That wasn’t a big deal for any of us, because we all were interested in different things. I chose Veal Parmesan.
Bobby ordered the meatball sub.
Ron got the Big Popa, which is a mild italian sausage served on a hoagie style bun topped with sauce, peppers, onion and provolone cheese.
Jan selected the Pasta of the Day, which was Spaghetti and Meatballs.
In addition, Bobby wanted us to try their pizza, so we got a medium pizza.
We were really hungry when we got to the restaurant, but when the food came out we realized we weren’t that hungry! The portion sizes of the meals are huge. In fact, the family seated next to us said that they usually get a couple of meals and split it among their group. And there were 6 people at their table! We definitely left with several to-go boxes.
So how was the food? Excellent. I really, really enjoyed the Veal Parmesan. In fact, the way they make it was with a ricotta cheese mixture under the melted mozzerella on the veal. The sandwiches that Bobby and Ron got came with sides of either fresh cut fries or onion rings. Again, to follow Bobby’s rule, Ron got onion rings and Bobby got fries. I’m not an onion ring person, but Ron and Jan said they were very good. The fries were good, too.
We were pretty full when we were halfway through our meals. However, I decided that Bobby should try their cannoli since he loves cannoli and he is Italian and from Boston. He liked it very much. Even though he had never had one with chocolate sauce or served with whip cream. This was definitely a different take than what he is used to.
On top of the huge portions and delicious food, the service was great, too. The first person we met and got to speak to was the owner, Vicki. Although she is known as Momma. Once Bobby and Ron heard that, they made sure to use “Momma” throughout our visit. We also talked with the master chef (and Vicki’s son), Eric, who makes the pepperoni rolls. Our waitress, Julie, and the “busboy,” Destiny, were tremendously patient with us and all of our questions.
By the time we left, our group was stuffed and very happy. As the translation of Bella Sera is “beautiful evening,” so it was for us.