Things were bustling around 2:30 p.m. at Samario’s Pizza on Thursday.
The fact it was a bit late for lunch and a little early for dinner didn’t deter a lot of folks, as they ordered pizza, hoagies, wings, and a number of other mouth-watering delights that owner Sam Parlopiano Sr. and his family have developed in their years in the restaurant business.
Located at 66 E. Tioga St., adjacent to the Dietrich Theater, the sight that greets patrons as they walk through the door is cooks busily working at the grills and fryers, preparing orders. Pizza slices, calzones and stromboli are displayed on the front counter.
“They line up out the door and there’s no controlling them. Which is a great thing,” Parlopiano said about the customer response they’ve seen since the restaurant opened on Aug. 1.
Samario’s takes its name from Parlopiano’s two sons - Sam Parlopiano Jr. and Mario Parlopiano. The three operate the new Tunkhannock restaurant along with the elder Parlopiano’s wife Patricia.
But the Parlopianos bring a long tradition of restaurant experience to their new location. For the past 25 years they have owned an operated Samario’s at 121 W. Market St. in Scranton.
“We offer full fine dining and pizza,” Parlopiano explained about the Scranton restaurant.
While fine dining is not available at the Tunkhannock location due to space considerations, there’s definitely an excellent menu for which Samario’s is famous.
“What brought this all together is Todd Zimmerman,” Parlopiano explained.
The owner of Welch Associates in Tunkhannock is a patron of the Scranton restaurant, and urged Parlopiano to open up a Tunkhannock location, saying it would be a big hit. Before arrangements were made to set up at what was previously Froya, which sold frozen yogert, Parlopiano and his wife looked the area over.
“I absolutely love this town,” Parlopiano said about what made them decide to set up an operation in Tunkhannock. “It’s the way things used to be. Scranton is all hustle and bustle.”
They were impressed by how people who are driving will stop, letting pedestrian cross the street, and wave in the process, Parlopiano said.
Concerning the secret of Samario’s success, Parlopiano said they have their own bakery in the back.
“We make dough four or five times a day,” he said. “We make all our own hoagie buns.”
About 15 people been hired locally to help support Samario’s operations.
Pizza is one of the mainstays at Samario’s and a wide variety is available. Among the selections are round and square pizza, Chicago style pizza, stuffed Chicago pizza, gourmet, and speciality pizza.
One thing that catches the eye on Samario’s menu is its cheesesteak station. While most sub shops may offer a Philly cheesesteak with a few variations, Samrio’s has 30 different types of cheesesteak subs available.
“My son Sam came to me about four years ago, and asked me to try this,” Parlopiano explained. “They’re all kind of cheese steaks with different toppings. All the names comes from college football teams.
The Penn State is Samario’s best cheesesteak seller. Made with steak, chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks, fries, hot sauce, and bleu cheese, it makes a considerable meal.
“It’s an awful lot to eat, but it’s a best seller,” Parlopiano said.
The fact that Samario’s makes its buns fresh every day is one of the reason its cheesesteaks and other hoagies are so popular.
“The bun is the key,” he said.
Another huge seller at Samario’s is it’s buffalo bites, which are boneless chicken wings.
“We use the best cheese, we make everything ourselves,” Parlopiano explained about the recipes. “The turkey is fresh, the roast beef is fresh. Everything is high quality.”
Although only open a few days, Samario’s has already had some clientele come in from the Dietrich Theater.
“They love it. They come in after a movie and order a soda and piece of pizza,” he said.