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The Coraopolis Record



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The photo above is of Isaly's, which held its Mill Street location for 40 years through several remodellings and different fronts. Isaly's was a busy place. Downtown Coraopolis was filled with businesses, all of which had secretaries, receptionists, typists, clerks, salespeople, managers, executives and owners, and most of them ate lunch at Isaly's. Women coming downtown to shop stopped at Isaly's for a snack and a package of Chipped Ham before heading up the hill to home. Men getting off the train from working in Pittsburgh would stop at Isaly's for "the best cup of coffee in town." After football and basketball games the place was packed. Before and after dances at the Y, junior and senior high students dropped by. After the theatres let out, the movie crowd invaded. Women grocery shopping at the Giant Eagle would wait and buy their Milk, Ice Cream, Cottage Cheese and Baked or Chipped Ham at Isaly's. There was no Isaly's on Neville Island or in Moon or any of the surrounding townships, so anyone wanting some of the famous Chipped Ham, ice cream or other specialties had to come to the Cory location. Isaly's was even a destination unto itself; a guy would ask a girl what she wanted to do and if they'd already seen the movies playing and there was no dance or game, she's shrug and say, "Let's go down to Isaly's."

Tootsie's Diner is Cory's restaurant on the west end of 5th Avenue. It serves breakfast and lunch but not dinner. This is unfortunate, because Tootsie does a great job with breakfast and lunch. You need to either come early or late to avoid the 8-9:00 and 12-1:00 rush. They take pride in their breakfasts. There are six Omelettes, Corned Beef Hash, a Breakfast Sausage Burrito, various kinds of Pancakes, a Breakfast Taco, French Toast, Waffles, three kinds of Bacon, Bagels, English Muffins, Fruit Bowls, Hot Chocolate, freshly brewed Coffee, and three kinds of Juice. The lunch menu features a Soup of the Day, Chili, four kinds of Salad, four Sides, 10 kinds of Sandwiches, four kinds of Hoagies, three Burgers and a Patti Melt. We think Breakfast is the better deal here, although the Soup, Chili, Salads and some of the Sandwiches are worth a lunch stop. Prices are in the $7-9 range, except for the $12 Steak Salad. The decor is 1950s. This is a Diner, with a typically limited diner menu. But as Diners go, it is very, very good. Portions are large, ingredients are fresh, service is snappy except during the two rush hours, and there's a personal family touch to it. It has rapidly become the favorite breakfast and lunch stop for the West End of Cory. If it were in the center of town, you'd never get in.
Anthony Junior's is on 5th Avenue in the very center of town. At first glance this is a classic Pizza place. However, their Calzones are excellent and they're so big you can take one home for lunch the next two days. We're particularly impressed with their Steak Calzone : hot peppers, steak cubes, pepperoni, green peppers, onions and sauce, all in a Calzone so big it looks like a Pizza. This Steak Calzone can feed three people. Their Wedding Soup, Subs, Hoagies and Bread Sticks are outstanding. The Fish Sandwich, Sicilian Pizza, Side Salads, Gnocchi, Lasagna and Baked Cheese Ziti are very good. Their other Pizzas are only average. Beer selection is way below average, but if you're there in the evening you could step across the street to the Cobble Haus Brewery and pick from one of their seven made on location craft beers. Among their Appetizers, we like the Potato Skins and Stuffed Banana Peppers. Service is inexplicably slow and all but a few waitresses are rather frumpy. One of the problems is that Anthony's has developed into the #1 favorite takeout Pizza and Italian restaurant in Coraopolis and the surrounding area, and much of the staff is distracted into filling those orders rather than taking care of its sit down in house customers. Try to come early in the evening before the takeout volume ratchets up and the waitresses get frazzled. If you go on Friday nights you may be entertained by live music.
Rea's is the classic Diner for the East End of Coraopolis. It's at the bottom of Ferree Street at the entrance to the Neville Island Bridge. It's been there since 1991 and in the 8-9 a.m. and 12-1 pm slots is full. Rea's serves great breakfasts and lunches but closes at 2 pm. The place has become famous for its Hoagies. There are 12 of them, all good. Our favorite is the Meatball & Cheese Hoagie. The meatballs are homemade. Locals are addicted to the Italian Hoagie (salami, capicola, pepperoni, ham, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions & dressing) and the Hot Sausage Hoagie (with cheese, green peppers and onions). There are also 19 Sandwiches, six Burgers, seven Wraps, two Salads, and several plated entrees. We like their Spaghetti and Rigatoni, either of which come with your choice of Meatballs or Hot Sausage. We also like their Hot Roast Beef, Hot Turkey and Hot Meatloaf Sandwiches. We're not so impressed with the Shrimp and Chicken entrees. Their freshly brewed Coffee and Tea are good, and in hot weather the Raspberry Iced Tea is the best cold drink in town. Good as this lunch menu is, locals like Breakfast even better. There are 15 kinds of Omelets, 15 Egg dishes, nine kinds of Pancakes, plus Belgian Waffles, French Toast, a Breakfast Burrito, a Breakfast Sandwich, Sausage & Gravy, Hot Oatmeal, Breakfast Steak, English Muffins and Bagels. Be aware : Rea's is cash only.

Millie's, on 5th Avenue in the very center of Coraopolis, bills itself as a European Kitchen. It's been here since 1980, so while it's decades short of Cory's older restaurants, it's still been here four decades, which is pretty impressive in the precarious restaurant business. It's really an Italian restaurant with Greek, German, Polish, Hungarian and Ukrainian cuisine comprising about 40% of the menu and even a few American items thrown in. The Italian entrees are fine, but it's really the other food you come here for. As an Appetizer, we highly recommend the Borscht and Sauerkraut Soups, especially since very few restaurants in the Western Hills serve either one. They offer six kinds of Salad. Their Gyros, Pitas, Hoagies, Pierogies, Haluskis, Stuffed Cabbages and Cheburekis are delicious. On the Italian side of the menu, we're not too impressed with their Pizzas, although their Ukrainian, Seafood and Veggie Pizzas are worth trying. But among the Appetizers, we really like their Crostinis (toasted bread topped with various hors d'oeuvres) and Meat Cheese Trays. Of their Sandwiches, we think their best are the Capicola (grilled pork and cheese), Calabreze, Chicken Portabello, Saporito and Gotti. Their Paisano Sandwich contains mortadello, fontinella and mozarella and is popular with locals who love good Italian cheeses. This is about it. Millie's doesn't offer Eggplant Parmesan, Ravioli or the other Italian favorites. They do offer very good versions of American classics : Patti Melt, Hot Turkey Sandwich, Philly Cheese Steak, Po' Boys, Grilled Ham & Cheese and Virginia Baked Ham. But who comes to a European / Italian restaurant to order American food? It also offers pretty good Coffee, Tea and Cappucino, plus the usual soft drinks. Desserts include Cannoli, Turnovers, Carrot Cake and Cheese Cake. The ambience is a bit stark; locals come here for the food and aren't looking for statues, paintings and music.

Red China is that classic Chinese takeout restaurant every town has. It's on 5th Avenue across from the Post Office, near Main Street. There are a few tables, but it's basically a takeout business. This is very standardized Chinese food. The menu is exactly the same menu that you see at 90% of all Chinese restaurants. So it comes down to who's preparing the food back in the kitchen. Fortunately, since the place changed ownership recently, the cooking is very good and service is very efficient. One interesting feature of Red China is that they season the food less than most Chinese restaurants. Their Soups, which most customers at a Chineae takeout ignore, are excellent, especially the Hot & Sour Soup. We particularly like their Scallops & Vegetables, Veggie Chow Mein, and Sweet & Sour Pork. If your tastes run to hot and spicy, they have a special Hunan & Szechuan Menu which includes a dozen entrees just for you. Red China has become very popular in the Cory, Neville and Moon area. Prices are reasonable and the quality is consistent. If you want the ambience of a sit down restaurant, we'd advise P. F. Chang's at Settler's Ridge, but if you want takeout this is hard to beat.

Zuko's Pizza is a carryout only storefront on 5th Avenue next to the parking lot, across from the old municipal building. They deliver to any address in Cory, Neville, and the near parts of Moon, Kennedy and Robinson. Zuko's bills itself as a pizzeria but in fact pizza is not what they do best. The entrees they do really well are their Calzones, Strombolis, Hoagies and Wings. The Calzones are the stars of the show. Zuko's offers Original (ham, pepperoni, onion, green pepper, hot pepper, mozzarella and marinara sauce), Meatball and Steak Calzones and every one is outstanding. Their Calzones are huge. You will get two meals out of one. You can have the remainder for lunch tomorrow or split it with a companion. Strombolis come in Original, Veggie, Italian and Four Cheese, all huge and flavorful. No one in the Western Hills does them as well. Zuko's takes pride in their Hoagies, offering Italian, Meatball, Ham & Cheese, Veggie, BLT, Steak & Cheese, four kinds of Chicken, Honey Mustard and Fish. They're big, fresh and very good. The wings here are outstanding. Zuko's offers 30 varieties, in six, 12, 24 or 36 piece boxes. As for their Pizzas, they come in Traditional, Sicilian (square) and Specialty. The Specialty lineup includes Hawaiian, White, Bacon Cheese, Buffalo, BBQ, Philly Steak, Veggie and Meat. As usual, you have your choice of numerous additional toppings, like black olives, anchovies, spinach and mushrooms. Zuko's offers one Gyro, but it's good. There are six Salads. Sides include bread sticks, cheese balls, fries, zucchini, onion rings and pepperoni rolls. The number is 412-262-2299.

Five Stars is Cory's new Honduran restaurant. It's on 4th Avenue, between the Sauce Pot and the National Guard Armory, in the former LaBello's building. The "five stars" refers to the five stars on the Honduran flag, which symbolize the five members of the old Central American Federation. Five Stars is bright clean and decorated with Honduran art, paintings depicting various Central American scenes.

Five Stars offers authentic Honduran cuisine, beginning with Empanadas. Owner Ever Costello considers this the restaurant's specialty. You can order Corn or Flour Empanadas, with either Chicken or Beef filling. Even if you only order a few as an Appetizer, you really have to try them. They're delicious. The second Five Star specialty is authentic Honduran Soup. If you're a big soup conneisseur, this is your place. These are serious Soups. They come in large bowls, intended to be your full entree. A bowl costs $16. You can order Sopa de Res (beef soup), Sopa de Pollo (chicken soup) or Sopa de Mariscos en Crema de Coco (coconut seafood soup). The soups are crammed full of meats and vegetables and really are a whole meal. As a matter of fact, we've watched several customers unable to finish the large bowls. There are Honduran Tacos, Tamales and Tajedas, several Chicken, Fish and Meat entrees, especially Pescado Fritos (fish deep fried in olive oil, sprinkled with salt and lemon), El Tipco Carne Asada (marinated and grilled beef with lemon and cilantro), and Baleadas (a traditional Honduran breakfast roll, this is a flour tortilla stuffed with eggs, onions, cheese, avocado and various other items).

In what we think is a tragic mistake, the restaurant does not serve any of the famous Honduran Coffees. Many conneisseurs think Honduran is the finest Coffee in the world. It has a rich, chocolate flavor. But, alas, all you get here is the basic Columbia Coffee you cn buy at any grocery store. It's a very good Coffee, but not Honduran.

There are, however, several tempting desserts, ranging from Rice Pudding to Plantains.