Pasquale’s Pizza & Pasta House stands the test of time
Not to be confused with Pasqually’s, the alternate GrubHub identity of Chuck E. Cheese
Pasquale’s Pizza & Pasta House began serving customers in Westerville back in the 1980s. The fact that Pasquale’s is still serving today says a lot about the operation. I’m going to say more: If you like crispy thin-crust pizzas enriched with generous amounts of good cheese and toppings, as well as old-school Italian-American food, you’ll like Pasquale’s.
I hadn't visited the business since it moved from its Uptown Westerville location (now home to Asterisk Supper Club) to its current spot in a Schrock Road strip mall about six years ago. The present Pasquale’s is smaller and less prominent. Like its progenitor, though, this community-bulletin-board-equipped-style restaurant with a neighborly dining room and a couple outdoor picnic tables specializes in crowd-pleasing, scratch-cooked fare that attracts a steady stream of regulars.
The pizzas luring in these loyal patrons are impressive examples of a locally popular style with a thin-yet-sturdy crust, skillfully baked from daily house-made dough, that’s nearly flat on its audibly crunchy golden-brown edge. (And is not to be confused with another Pasqually’s that appeared on GrubHub as an alternative identity for Chuck E. Cheese.)
Pepperoni — another Columbus favorite — arrives on pies as oven-crisped, zesty disks abundantly layered above all other toppings, including the cheese. This means that diners ordering a pizza with pepperoni are treated to appealingly crisp textures on the pie’s top and bottom.
Order a pizza with pepperoni, sausage and banana peppers — my go-to pie — and the grease-leaking, flavorful pepperoni will be joined by a pleasantly acidic house sauce, lumps of garlicky, fennel-seeded Italian sausage, plus a comforting blanket of cheese offset by mild pickled chilies. As is customary here, this great-tasting pizza is cut like a pie in 10-inch iterations ($12.95), but sliced into rectangles for 14-inch ($21.95) and enormous 16-inch pizzas ($23.95) .
Eight tempting specialty pizzas are offered (prices for most, in ascending sizes, are $13.95, $20.95 and $22.95). These include the hefty and delicious Supreme (pepperoni, sausage, diced ham, mushrooms, green peppers, onions); and the tomato-sauce-less Founder’s Favorite, an eminently likable chicken pie, which complements tender poultry with plenty of rich-and-tangy dairy plus oven-singed fresh tomatoes.
I enjoyed those so much that I plan on returning for the brunch-perfect Breakfast Pizza soon (“loads of cheese,” eggs, ham, bacon, onions and peppers), served only before noon and as a 16-inch behemoth ($26.95).
Pasquale’s ham-heavy, oven-toasted Italian sub ($8.95), presented on a nice glossy bun and with chips, was a winner, too. Avoiding carbs? Most of that sub’s components — plentiful ham, pepperoni, salami, cheese and banana peppers — appear on the shareably large, romaine-based and recommended antipasto salad ($8.95).
Love carbs? Opt for Pasquale’s house-made spaghetti and meatball ($13.95). The entree's elements — texturally pleasing pasta, a big-yet-supple meatball, tart red sauce and a side of garlic-bread twists — are all good and all made in-house.
Pasquale’s house-made gnocchi and meatball ($13.95) was a similar dish, only assembled with sturdy dumplings. I prefer my gnocchi to be more pillowy and potatoey, but this was still a worthy (and very filling) entree.
So was the mammoth house-made lasagna ($14.95). But if the thought of eating lasagna with a spoon isn’t appealing — mine was a cheesy, meaty and generally amorphous mass covered with so much sauce that it almost resembled a vat of soup — this heavy, homey and comforting meal might not be for you.
Want something meant to be consumed with a spoon? Pasquale’s substantial wedding soup ($6.95, with garlic twists) will fill that bill. The eatery also offers house-baked pastries such as cannoli ($1.50) and a sweet-and-rich, chocolate-drizzled peanut butter bomb called a Frisco ($3).
Bottom line: Pasquale’s is a terrific, scratch-cooking pizzeria that offers solid renditions of some classic Italian-American dishes, too. May this long-running establishment continue on for decades more.
Pasquale's Pizza & Pasta House
558 W. Schrock Rd., Westerville