Monday, October 15, 2012

Center Plate Restaurant Takes Center Stage

Center Plate Restaurant Takes Center Stage

by JoAnn Forrester

94 Center Church Road, McMurray, PA 15317
Penny Folino
Penny’s back and are we glad!

This past Saturday, TechnoGranny, Joanne Quinn- Smith and Nano Granny,  JoAnn Forrester, took a ride over the hill and through the woods to Penny Folino’s new restaurant, Center Plate, in McMurray Pa. It is easy to get to, right off Rt. 19 South at 94 Center Church Road.  It was a beautiful fall day and just right for a drive.  And if you had to get lost (and we did, no matter what TechnoGranny says), it was the day for it with a brilliant blue sky, comfortable temperatures and a full tank of gas.

It was a great day to eat at a new restaurant.  I am so glad that Penny opened up shop again.  This lady knows how to make you feel special and serve you scrumptious food.  Hooray for Penny!

 We had a great time talking to Penny Folino and her partner, Lenny, as they told us about opening the new place.  They emphasized how everything is cooked from scratch and everything is fresh and made there under the supervision of Executive Chef Matthew Hellen.  As we talked, we sampled the food.  Oh my!  It was good!  So good that both Joannes stopped talking just to eat for at least 10 minutes.    Now that is some kind of record.   Two Greeks and an Italian not only stopped talking but stopped gesticulating with their hands.

Penny and Lenny, Co-owners
Center Plate is open 7 days a week, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.  We sampled a wide variety of food, from appetizers to soups to dinner to desserts.  Every dish was very satisfying.   Penny and Executive Chef Matthew Heller have put together a menu meant to please - and it certainly does.

For starters you have to try the crab cakes - no breading,  no fillers, just crab cakes deliciously seasoned.  Then the Bougatza Meat Pie, another fantastic item.   The Avolegmo (Lemon soup) has just the right touch of lemon, you gotta try it.
 Sausage Rustica:  Pasta with fresh tomatoes with a vodka sauce, roasted red peppers and onions. A dish you must taste.

Now the main courses.  I went for one of the great dishes on the Mac & Cheese Board, Mac & “Balls:”  Penny’s homemade  meatballs, chopped up and baked macaroni and cheese  with Parmesan cheese and  butter bread crumbs. Better than Mom used to make. I also sampled the Chicken Marsalla.  For those who love Chicken Marsalla it’s a must try. 

After all this food, we tasted a dessert:  Chocolate Pie and Almond Torte.  What can I say?  They were the final touch of a great evening.

The menu is reasonably priced and for those who live in McMurray, I am jealous. For the rest of us its about 6 miles South on Rt. 19 from South Hills Village.  Catering is also available for your special holiday needs..or anytime you  want to serve a special meal.

Oh!  By the way, Penny will be having a wine dinner on November 8 from 6 to 8:30.  A good way to taste wines and the foods that go with them.   Nice treat for special clients and those for whom you wish to do something nice.

In short, folks, make your way out to Center Plate in  McMurray Pa.  It is good to say, “Well, Hello, Penny.”  
She is back where she belongs.

Roving Pittsburgher Good News Reporter, JoAnn Forrester is the Host of "Empress of Biz, Reinvent in Rugged Times," a business Talkcast syndicated on PPLMag, Pittsburgh's First Internet Radio and TV Network.  You can hear JoAnn and Business friends every Thursday at 9 AM on the TalkShoe network or archived later at:  Jo Ann is also a regular business tip columinist at the Pittsburgh Business Times.

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