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La Villa Pizza & Family Restaurant is home to authentic Chambersburg tomato pie

by Tianna Grosch

La Villa Pizza & Family Restaurant has been serving people near and far for 20 years and is a staple of the local community in Morrisville.

A converted Pizza Hut building became much more when Gino Lenti bought it over two decades ago and recreated the famous Chambersburg tomato pie for his loyal customers.

“People come from all over and travel just to try our pie,” said Gino. “Once they try it, they always come back.”

It’s this signature tomato pie with its thin crust, homemade sausage (Gino’s secret family recipe – “My mother’s,” he said), tomato chunks, cheese and garlic that keeps his customers coming back.

Pizza of all types and flavors, welcome to be customized for your taste, is just the beginning at La Villa. There are also pasta and chicken dishes that add to the overall Italian-style variety offered.

“The Trenton tomato pie introduced the rest of our menu,” Gino said. “Everything on the menu has been influenced by our top-selling pie.”

People come for the food and stay for the atmosphere, with authentic Italian music and paintings on the walls of the dining room it’s like visiting a town in Italy, an escape from your surroundings.

Gino moved to the US from Calabria, located on the tip of Italy’s boot, and he has worked hard to recreate an authentic atmosphere offering original flavors of his home.

One of the special aspects of La Villa is hosting monthly dinners for the Italian dining club, Amici del Buon Mangiare (Friends of Good Eating), who come in for special dinners to enjoy the delicious food and comfortable atmosphere.

“This group started with 10 or 15 people and has grown to about 200 to 250 members,” Gino said. “This month, our special meal was baby lamb and next month will be roast pork.”

Another signature dish served on special Italian nights is the calabrese pasta which is loaded with toppings such as Sicilian, eggplant, asparagus, mushrooms, veal and pork.

One of their largest events with Amici del Buon Mangiare is in December, when Gino hosts the Seven Fishes Dinner.

This offers Gino more of an opportunity to keep his heritage and traditions alive while serving food that he loves in family-style setting, even incorporating his famous pie topped with anchovies as one of the nine courses.

A special lunch buffet is offered at La Villa every Monday through Friday for $10.95 where you can choose from main courses such as chicken, pasta, lasagna and vegetarian options, to name a few.

They have a deli open every day, which serves pasta dishes, chicken, fish, pork chops and different types of meat. La Villa offers atmospheric outdoor seating for the warmer months and encourages you to check it out today! You won’t be disappointed.

“We don’t skimp on the sausage,” said Gino. “You can actually count the sausage on our pizza, where others would be sparse with the toppings.”

La Villa Pizza & Family Restaurant is located at 21 S. Pennsylvania Avenue in Morrisville and open from 10:00am until 10:00pm from Monday through Sunday.

You can reach them at 215-736-3113, order online for takeout and delivery at lavillapizzamenu.com, or stop in to absorb the wonderful atmosphere Gino has created for yourself.

PHOTO CAP: Gino Lenti