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Published: Thursday, 4/14/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Owners change, but quality's the same

BY BILL OF FARE
Charlie’s Homemade Pizza and Edibles on Sylvania Ave. Charlie’s Homemade Pizza and Edibles on Sylvania Ave.
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Fear not, regular customers of Charlie's Homemade Pizza & Edibles in Sylvania.

Although the modest Italian restaurant is under new ownership, it is in good hands. Charlie Nyitray sold the restaurant in January to the Weaver family, who is handling the transition with aplomb.

The Weavers — Steve and Steve, Jr. — are Sylvania-area natives who returned to northwest Ohio and decided to get into the restaurant business after living elsewhere. Chef Steve Weaver, Jr., was trained at Le Cordon Bleu culinary arts school, and he has kept many of the original Charlie's recipes and is expanding on them.

The result is the comfort food that you've come to expect from Charlie's with great dessert options such as an awesome freshly made cheesecake or carrot cake. And the chef is tweaking some of the Italian dishes to add items such as chianti rosa sauce with spaghetti.

In the interest of full disclosure, we did not sample any of the restaurant's pizza offerings for this review because Charlie's has been our go-to choice for pizza for years. The restaurant's pies are uniformly good and far better than those you can get from any chain. The ingredients are fresher and more plentiful, the crust is never greasy, and the sauce is sweet without being cloying. When we want consistently good pizza, we call Charlie's.

On a recent night we sampled the homemade lasagna ($10.50), which featured beef, ricotta, provolone, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese with a meat sauce. The proportion was sized perfectly for a filling meal that wasn't overwhelming, and the lasagna tasted great.

We also ordered the chicken fettucini Alfredo ($11), which was fine but came to our table a tad lukewarm. The chicken was flavorful, though, and the sauce thick and hearty.

Charlie's Homemade Pizza & Edibles * * *
Address: 6600 Sylvania Ave.
Phone: 419-882-6393.
Category: Casual.
Menu: Italian-American.
Hours: 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 4 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Reservations are accepted.
Wheelchair access: Yes.
Average price: $$.
Credit cards: AE, Dis, MC, V.
Web site: charlies-pizza.com.
Ratings: ***** Outstanding; **** Very Good; *** Good; ** Fair; * Poor.
Star ratings are based on comparisons of similar restaurants. The Blade pays for critics' meals.

Our second time around featured the baked manicotti ($10.50) and the baked ravioli with meat ($10). The manicotti is a favorite thanks to the rich four-cheese filling and, while the noodles were a bit stiff, the meal was piping hot. The baked ravioli was solid, slathered in sauce and stuffed with meat.

All of the dinners come with salad and garlic bread, both of which are served in hearty proportions. Charlie's also serves subs and sandwiches that are all $4.99.

For both meals we ordered the freshly made cheesecake for dessert ($3.95), and it was exceptional. Served New York style, it was smooth and firm rather than the creamier variety that, for our money, is not as good.

It should be noted that Charlie's Homemade Pizza & Edibles is no longer affiliated with Charlie's Homemade Ice Cream and Edibles, which is right next door in the Saxon Square strip mall on Sylvania Avenue. The latter is still owned by Nyitray.

The Weavers deserves kudos for not messing with a good thing and keeping Charlie's Pizza's family-friendly atmosphere. The restaurant serves beer and wine, but it's not the kind of place where you see people kicking back numerous drinks. Our waitresses were exceptionally friendly and helpful.

Charlie's isn't fancy, but it's a great place to relax over unassuming, good Italian food.

Contact Bill of Fare at fare@theblade.com.



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