Eating at Greensburg’s “Little Italy”

While people associate Little Italy with a well-known section of New York City famous for its Italian heritage. The Sunset Cafe in Greensburg might make people rethink their idea of Little Italy.

By Sean Maiolo

Staff Writer

While people associate Little Italy with a well-known section of New York City famous for its Italian heritage. The Sunset Cafe in Greensburg might make people rethink their idea of Little Italy.

Nestled on Urania Ave. next to Offutt Field, where Seton Hill’s (SHU) football teams plays their home games, the Sunset Cafe is a quaint Italian restaurant with a cozy dining area and modest bar that has been serving guests since 1933.

An Italian themed mural adorns one of the restaurant’s outer walls, giving it a more authentic feel. The inside only adds to that atmosphere. The dining room offers soft but sufficient lighting with a close table arrangement. Like most Italian restaurants, there are no booths and that design adds to the ambiance.

Despite the relatively tight quarters, you still feel like you have plenty of elbow room. I expected the noise to be a bit of an issue because of the closeness but the walls seemed to absorb enough of the noise so that it was not a distraction.

However, a restaurant can only be judged so much on its appearance both on the outside and within its walls. The real test of quality lies in the food and all the other factors contributing to it including price and preparation.

For a relatively small establishment, the Sunset Cafe features a fairly large menu. They offer a wide variety of salads, appetizers, entrees and desserts including a special dessert menu featuring smaller portions and prices.

While the prices are not unreasonable, they most likely fall outside of the finances of most college students for a typical weekend dinner. However, if you want to enjoy a more upscale night on the town or with a date, the amount you spend will fit very nicely into your budget.

As for myself, I started with a cup of coffee which had a nice balance to it, but failed to live up to the price. A glass of water may be the best way to go if you’re especially money conscious.

Shortly after taking the drink order, the waitress came back to the table with freshly baked bread and a small dish of herbs in olive oil along with a jar of parmesan cheese. This is most often a sign of a quality Italian restaurant.

When it came time to order, I decided to go with the fettuccine pasta in a bolognese sauce with a side house salad which came at no extra charge. This was one of several pasta and sauce choices on their menu, so one need not be picky.

The food did take some time to arrive, but it was nothing outside the ordinary especially for an Italian restaurant. Not surprisingly, the food was served in very generous portions, more than enough to fill one up along with the warm bread.

The salad was colorful and fresh, and the Italian dressing I ordered had more of a northern Italian taste to it. It was very unique, featuring several small pasta noodles as well as a few small pieces of salami.

The fettuccine bolognese was perfectly prepared. The bolognese sauce had good balance and flavor with plenty of herbs and spices. The fettuccine was well cooked and paired very nicely alongside the sauce. I highly recommend the combination.

However, the best part of the meal was the final course, as dessert often is. After nearly filling up on pasta, bread and salad, I thought it best to sample from their smaller portioned dessert menu and went with the mini creme brule.

That might have been the best decision I made this year. It was not too heavy and not too sweet. The smaller portion was still plenty to finish off a good meal and the $1.99 price was nothing to frown at either. Overall, it was one of the best desserts I have ever had in my life, and I love dessert.

The waitress was very friendly and welcoming and helpful whenever needed. Unlike servers at some larger restaurants, she did not check back so many times that you wanted to dock her tip, but was always available for timely drink refills.

All things considered, the Sunset Cafe is a very good Italian restaurant and I would recommend it to all SHU students. For fewer than $30 for a couple, you can eat a fine meal and a delicate dessert and walk out feeling very pleased. For my rating, I give it four and a half out of five stars.

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