East County Times Dining Guide




6723 Holabird Rd
Baltimore, MD 21222

- Article & photos by Devin Crum-

Now, everyone who has been to Squire's Italian Restaurant knows they are known for their spectacular pizza. And while the pizza may be the draw for many of their customers, there are certainly many more delicious Italian dishes to be had, many of which are made from scratch in-house. For this reason, a coworker and I ventured to the restaurant for lunch on a recent afternoon. If you've never been to Squire's, it's the kind of place that has a core of dedicated customers, and there's a reason for it. Immediately upon entering you experience their warm, friendly atmosphere. And upon receiving your meal you'll know why people keep coming back. "Some people come here just for the pizza, and that's great; we have the best pizza," said Manager Brandi Loftus. But she also explained they have many other exemplary entrées to try as well, which directed our attention to the rest of their extensive menu. To start our meal off, my coworker and I ordered two of their signature dishes - the Lasagna and the Manicotti. The Lasagna was wonderful and meaty and excellently spiced. And the Manicotti was filled with delicious ricotta cheese. Both were baked and covered with Squire's homemade red meat sauce, which had just a hint of unexpected sweetness to it. When we inquired as to the source of the sweetness, our server, Michelle, revealed that they add a little bit of sugar to their sauce to counter its natural acidic taste. I don't think I have ever had sauce that tasted quite like that, but I must say it was a delight. Next, we decided to try the Spinach Fettuccini, which my coworker immediately picked as her favorite dish of the meal. It consisted of fettuccini served with a spinach and basil pesto sauce and topped with jumbo lump crab meat. It had a summery and fresh herby taste, and my coworker exclaimed, "That's like something you would crave!" To follow that up, we had the Gnocchi, (pronounced nyock-ee) which is in their Gourmet and Imported Pastas section. This is a nugget- or pellet-like pasta made from potatoes which can be served either with red sauce or with garlic and olive oil. We chose the latter, as recommended by Loftus, because the red sauce can take away from the flavor of the Gnocchi and dominate it. It is a very mild dish which was accentuated by the olive oil and browned garlic. And due to its very nature, Gnocchi would probably work equally well as an appetizer or an entrée. Finally, we topped our meal off with a cappuccino and a homemade cannoli, which was "absolutely the best way to finish the meal," according to my coworker. And I have to agree. The cannoli was decadent and creamy - just the way it should be - and could serve as a great treat to cap off any meal. After so many pasta dishes, the carbohydrate overload can tend to make you a bit sleepy, much like on Thanksgiving. So the cappuccino (which also had a shot of Bailey's in it and I'm sure I've mentioned before about not telling my boss) was just the pick-me-up we needed to get back to work and on with our day. Not to mention it was a great shot of warmth before heading back outside on a cold December day. Our server, Michelle, who is also the restaurant's wait staff supervisor, has worked at Squire's for 25 years and also does quite a bit of the cooking in the kitchen. She expressed that she loves working there because everyone who comes in has a story about their first time there or some kind of history with the restaurant. And we were no different. My first time going there was after my 10th grade homecoming dance, and my coworker went on her first date with her husband to Squire's. But with a presence in the area as long as Squire's has, it's easy to have that kind of rapport with their customers. The restaurant celebrated its 60th birthday last year under the ownership of the Romiti family. Now owned by brothers Bob and Lorenzo Romiti, it was originally purchased by their father, Joe, in 1952. Joe had been interested in starting a construction business since he was already a construction worker. But he had close friends in the restaurant industry in Baltimore's Little Italy who convinced him to open a restaurant instead. He learned that the Squire's location was for sale and seized the opportunity. After many years and many improvements to what it originally was, Squire's became the hallmark of the community that it is today. The restaurant also includes an upstairs banquet room for catering which can accommodate up to 80 people, but can be busy this time of year with business and family holiday parties. Squire's is located at 6723 Holabird Ave. in Dundalk. Visit their website at www.SquiresCafe.com to view their entire menu, and call them at 410-288-0081 to book your next catered event. And be sure to view their ad on page 34 of this issue to learn more about their new gift card program!

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