Bridget shared my fond memories. She writes, “What a fun place that was – very kid-friendly! I seem to remember that they used Mason jars instead of glasses – I had forgotten about the pasta straws! Do you remember the tiny, wrapped anise-flavored candies that came with the bill?”
Dan said he had asked one Italian Oven manager about the chain of restaurants and was told the headquarters was in Pittsburgh.
Friend and former coworker Dean wrote to me not long after my original post, saying, “I remember the Italian Oven. Wow, as a matter of fact, I visited an old co-worker last night and we mentioned the Italian Oven. It was to the right of the old County Market if you were facing west. We worked with a girl who managed the place. I thought they were based in Poland, Ohio, near Youngstown … But you’re correct. The place went through a number of bankruptcies and reorganizations. My sister and brother-in-law used to eat their about three or four times a week. … I think I’ll e-mail my sister, who lives in Cleveland, and ask her about the place.”
Dean, did you? And did she have any other memories? Very curious!
Another friend and coworker, Carrie, said “I think there may still be an Italian Oven restaurant in Lower Allen Township at the Windsor Park Shopping Center. I used to go there all the time with my family. I’m not sure if it’s still open though…”
Donna writes, “I think the Camp Hill mall still has an Italian Oven. We ate there 2 years ago and my girls loved it. I wish it was still in York. The kids also loved getting a bag of pasta and string to make a necklace. I think our family is due for another trip to the Camp Hill mall to see if the Italian Oven is still there. Thanks for the memories.”
One of our copy editors, Brittany, found a locally owned and operated Italian Oven in the Mechanicsburg area. She writes; ” I was reading your blog post on The Italian Oven and I think I know of one that’s still in business. It’s called Davenport’s Italian Oven and it’s in Mechanicsburg (I’m not sure how long it has been there b/c I have lived there for only a year).” The website for that one is italianoven.dine.com; while the logo looks sort of familiar, I’m not sure if it’s really related to the chain that was here or not!
John L. echoes my sentiments; he says, “Italian Oven restaurants were real nice, but it was a franchise business that grew to big too fast and just collapsed under its own weight. Too bad for they did a real nice job serving traditional southern Italian food in a fun way.”
I miss that fun! Anyone want to go in with me on opening a new restaurant?