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Mar 27, 2011 08:31 AM

Enzo's in Kennett -- more than just pizza!

Okay, I'm admitting it -- I'm a fan of Enzo's in Kennett Square. My husband and I have dinner there a few times a month, and the thought that often occurs to me is that if they replaced the booths with tables, changed the harsh overhead lighting to something softer, cut out the Italian/Mexican background music mix, and used white table cloths, they'd attract a much larger dinner crowd. Not only that, they could easily charge 25% more for their food and people would still think they were getting a bargain.

Although the salads that are served with all of their entrees are uninspiring -- iceberg lettuce, a couple of slices of cucumber, a few shreds of carrot, and a small plastic container of salad dressing -- and the bread is never heated, the entrees themselves are quite good, and substantial in size. Last night I ordered the chicken parm -- it just about covered the entire dish. I asked for the side of pasta (I chose linguini) with garlic and olive oil instead of the regular red sauce it came with. No problem. No additional charge. And the side dish is enough for two or three people to share. My husband had the chicken piccata which was prepared with mushrooms and capers, and he truly enjoyed that, too. The tab for the two of us was $30 before tax and tip. Oh, it's BYO, and although their stemware isn't wonderful, it's acceptable.

There, I've come clean. If you can look past the total lack of ambiance, Enzo's might be a surprising dining experience.

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  1. I like that Enzo's is so casual. If I want virtually the same food with a bit more atmosphere, I head to Pescatore's a bit further south on Rt. 202. Same owners as Enzo's!

    And I'm partial to their sausage and broccoli rabe over pasta. It's not on the menu but they'll whip it up for you if you ask. Great and garlicky.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Misha

      I've only been to Pescatore's once, a long time ago, probably shortly after it opened, and I don't remember anything about it. Are their prices in line with Enzo's? I'm under the impression that they have a liquor license; is that right?

      One of the things I like about the food at Enzo's is that they're not afraid to use garlic.

      1. re: CindyJ

        Well, the menus don't really compare - where they duplicate, Pescatore's is generally a dollar or two more, sometimes a bit more. But Pesca has more high end items that don't show up at all on Enzo's menu. Ex: seafood risotto ($25), a great grilled veal chop (mkt), chilian sea bass ($26), etc. If a couple has an app, entree and a lower end bottle of wine ($30) they'll be well over $100 with tax and tip, which is nigh impossible at Enzo's (which is not to suggest it's not worth it). Some folks around here see Giordano's as an alternative to Enzo's. I don't.

        1. re: danbee1

          I can't remember the last time I was at Giordano's, and I can't think of a reason I'd want to go. Maybe if I was looking for a sports bar, but even then, I'd choose another place. I certainly wouldn't go there for the food. Giordano's is totally off my radar.

          1. re: danbee1

            I think if I was contemplating a $100 tab for Italian, there are other places I'd be likely to go. And I'd be more likely to choose a more upscale BYO than a place where I'd resent paying $30 (likely much more) for a bottle of so-so wine. Like Avalon in West Chester, for example, or Allegria in Exton.

      2. I've always liked Enzo's - good food, sizeable portions and fair prices. The service sometimes leaves something to be desired because they're mostly untrained kids but you can't have everything. It's always a go-to spot when the grandchildren visit. I've been sitting on a cert for Enzo's for some time because it's a bit difficult for two people to meet the minimum. Now Pescatore's and Enzo's I wouldn't put in the same class - very different approaches even tho the same owner. But both good. Try Pescatore's sauteed calimari. Much better than fried and huge portion good for two (maybe three).

        1. I'm glad to see Enzo's finally getting talked about on CH. One of my favorite places to go with the family when I get the chance to.

          4 Replies
          1. re: paychecktoday

            I have a feeling there are quite a few others who would agree with us. So why do you suppose Enzo's gets so few mentions around here?

            1. re: CindyJ

              Is the Enzos on Route 202 in PA owned by the same people?

              1. re: wcgal

                I'm not 100% certain, but I do believe it is. I might have my facts all wrong, or all mixed up, but a number of years ago I think there was some kind of "split" between the owners of the two places, and the place in Kennett became "Vincenzo's." Then something happened (I don't know what) and the Kennett location was renamed "Enzo's."

              2. re: CindyJ

                Probably people see it as just a pizza shop (as I did when I first went there). The interior isn't much to look at and service depends on how well the HS kid takes care of you. The food though is unbelievable, and like I said before, the best white clam sauce pasta I have ever eaten. For those that don't know about this place and live close by, give it a shot.

            2. Okay, Cindy, you piqued my interest. I will give it a go sometime soon. I would like to add that I appreciate reviews of little hole-in-the-wall places like this. I don't know about the rest of you folks, but it is these small little gems that make eating out not only a treat but affordable.

              What I really want to know is this: How is their pizza?

              10 Replies
              1. re: genevapics

                Their pizza is above average in my opinion. Nice crust and baked very well. Sauce is very good too. Again, I have gone there for their Spaghetti and Clams, and by far one of the best ones in the area for both price and size (The bowl is the size of a hubcap, with easily over a pound and a half of pasta and clams)

                1. re: paychecktoday

                  I think we will head over there tonight. Sounds fun. Here is an article from last year regarding Enzo and his various restaurants: http://www.southernchestercountyweekl...

                  According to the article, the Enzo's on Rt 202 is owned by Enzo Varrialle also. In addition, it sounds like he has a Pizza Parlor in Wilmington. I need to check this place out for pizza.

                  1. re: genevapics

                    Okay, so we went and ate at Enzo's in Kennett Square this evening. Exactly the type of place I was hoping to find. While technically it's not a pizza joint, it's a pizza joint. Clean restaurant and fresh ingredients made for a delightful little experience. We walked in and the guys behind the counter greeted us with smiles and told us to go on back and seat ourselves. And yes, our young waitress, Emily, is a student at the local high school... LOL. It's a joint I tell ya!

                    She had the clams in white sauce and I had the chicken piccata. Her clams were fresh, not canned clams and served over a bowl of linguini. Bowl? Try a bucket! This bowl was about 13 inches across and filled to the brim. It was easily two orders, maybe three. The white sauce was delicious. My chicken was two whole chicken breasts with mushrooms, capers and lemon slices, with a nice brown sauce. It came on an oval plate that also was 13 inches across. I can eat, but this was easily two portions for me. The spaghetti had large slices of fresh garlic in it. It reminded me of the scene from Goodfellas where they are in prison and Paulie (played by Paul Sorvino) is slicing fresh garlic with a razor blade for their evening meal. That is exactly what I thought of when I saw all of the garlic throughout my spaghetti. We both brought food home for dinner tomorrow.

                    Our dinners came with side salads that were made with fresh ingredients (yes it was iceberg lettuce). While we waited, I asked the waitress to bring me a slice of cheese pizza so that I could taste their pie. Pretty good pizza. Nice crispy crust and good cheese and sauce. It isn't NYC pizza, but it could be a distant cousin. We decided that we will order a pie sometime soon and bring it home and see how it goes.

                    They do serve beer as they had Peroni, Coors Light and some other domestics in a cold case.

                    This is a nice little joint. The kind of place that if you live close enough, it becomes a neighborhood restaurant. We dined in and will certainly be back. It's one of those places where you come home from work, tired, the fridge is barren and you look at each other and say, "What do you want for dinner?" You both smile and say, "Enzo's!" It isn't going to win an award for ambiance. It won't receive a Michelin Star. And you won't find some fancy italian dish on the menu. But if you are looking for a clean, inexpensive, friendly restaurant that serves good food with fresh ingredients, this is a place to try.

                    Two dinners, salads and a slice came out to $34.08 without tip. Not too bad, if you ask me.

                    1. re: genevapics

                      Your take on Enzo's is exactly like mine, genevapics. It's a neighborhood gem. A family of four could easily be satisfied with two entrees, given the size of the portions and the pasta "sides". And the entrees are good. I mean, really good. Freshly prepared to order. Or at least, that's my impression. I've often wondered why the place isn't more crowded on a weekend evening. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

                      1. re: CindyJ

                        I am torn, thinking of whether I want to try this place or not. I like good food, but in general I just get annoyed by giant portions. I am a small person and I'd probably eat maybe a quarter of that plate of pasta with clams. It's aggravating to me to have to choose between wasting food and eating gummy pasta for lunch the next day, when what I really want is to pay half the price and get half--or even one-third--the quantity. Second, I usually associate giant portions with mediocre food--although your review says that is not the case. I find that restaurants that serve huge portions are generally aiming to attract people who value quantity over quality, and the kitchen executes to that level. (Think Cheesecake Factory, or Hockessin's Capers & Lemons, which I reviewed on the Mid-Atlantic board last year.)

                        1. re: travelmad478

                          I tried Enzo's a while back and found it decent but that's about it. I remember the pizza being do-so and the sauce for the pasta to be too acidic for my liking. But try for yourself. At least if you go, try it for less:

                          1. re: bluehensfan

                            I don't care much for their red pasta sauce either. That's why I order my pasta with olive oil and garlic.

                          2. re: travelmad478

                            We're not talking fine dining here, we're talking "neighborhood Italian" so let's keep "good food" in that context. Yes, the portions are huge. Personally, I don't enjoy leftovers and rarely take any uneaten restaurant food home, so there's almost always food left on my plate at Enzo's that goes uneaten. One entree with a side of pasta can easily be shared by two. Maybe that's the solution.

                            1. re: CindyJ

                     time you're there..bag up those uneaten leftovers and drop them at my house. Enzo's on a "so/so" night beats many by a mile ( but these days I make my own pizza)

                              1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                Hey there, FCF -- haven't seen you in these parts for a while. Welcome back!

                                I've been dabbling with the idea of DIY pizza - on the grill. Do you do yours indoors or out?