Saturday, January 16, 2010
Kettering Italian Oven - Kettering, Ohio
For some time I've wanted to try out the Kettering Italian Oven. At least a couple of times a month I've found myself in the area, but always on Sundays, when they are closed. Today I decided to drive over just for a visit. The place has been in business since 2004 and is family owned. Before that, there was a Pisanello's Pizza at the location. (I actually worked at one of those when I was in college)
The exterior of the place is spartan brick, as is the rest of the strip mall where it is located - on the east side of Wilmington Pike. The inside has several Italian themed wall hangings, but I really have to give them bonus points for their Brutus Buckeye and Ohio State Buckeyes items on display. Go, Team! A TV is present, and the dining room is on the small side, so you really can't escape it. However, the volume was turned down very low, and they had wheel of fortune on. Plus, they came by and asked everyone if the volume level on the TV was ok. I've never had anyone at any other restaurant ask that, so it was a nice change.
While I perused the menu, I noticed that my table was shaking. I was pretty sure I wasn't having some sort of episode or attack, so I started wondering what might be causing the table, and therefore the menu in my hands, to vibrate in such a manner. I finally realized that I had arrived after 7PM, and therefore, the dishwasher was probably working overtime doing dishes from most of the folks who had eaten earlier. I'm guessing that the dishwasher must by one of those industrial models - probably slightly out of round - and since I was eating at one of the tables against the interior wall, it was probably right on the other side. I was more amused with this than anything, and the sensation only lasted a few minutes. It rather reminded me of those "magic fingers" beds that were popular back in the 70's, where you could put in a quarter, and the whole thing would vibrate for a while. I doubt most folks in the restaurant were even aware of this.
The menu has the expected selection of pizzas, salads, fried foods & appetizers, a good selection of subs, and 8 pasta items. The fountain drinks seemed a bit pricey at $1.99 + tax, however I also noticed that a 2 liter bottle of pop was available for the same price. I was tempted for a short time by the chicken parmesan, and also by the gnocci. However, in the end nostalgia won out, and I ended up going with a small green olive and banana pepper calzone. I also added a couple of the garlic bread sticks, just to give them a try. Just to clarify, back in college I discovered calzones at a local pizza joint, and enjoyed them just about every week. However, strangely enough, I realized it had likely been more than 10 years since I'd had one.
The "small" calzone turned out to be 11" across, and although I enjoyed it very much, I could only eat a little more than half. I can only imagine how big a large would be. It had a nice crunchy crust, plenty of cheese, and generous amounts of banana peppers and green olives. The breadsticks were ok, but I really couldn't discern any garlic flavor to them. However, for the most part this was made up for by the pizza sauce dip.
One thing I'd like to mention is that the owner came by the table and brought by the bill only a couple of minutes after bringing the food. I only wish that more places did this, because it really saves time - no waiting 5 minutes I also didn't have to ask for a doggie bag/takeout box. From some of the discussions during ordering, it became obvious that many of the customers were regulars. The place has a very friendly atmosphere, and an excellent level of service that is above and beyond what I have gotten at most other restaurants.
room for improvement department: I really would have appreciated a few more choices in the pasta portion of the menu. Perhaps something with shrimp or scallops?
Kettering Italian Oven
Address: 4654 Wilmington Pike Kettering
(between E. Rahn & David Road)
Telephone: (937) 294-0744
hours: Sun & Mon: closed, Tue.-Thur: 11-9, Fri & Sat 11-10