The D’Ortone family always wanted quality Italian food at the beach, without the beach prices.
“We didn’t want to spend $18 to $20 for Italian food,” Nick D’Ortone explained.
So, when he opened his own restaurant in March, D’Ortone created a full menu of reasonably-priced home-style entrées costing less than $18.
Located just off Central Avenue in Ocean View, D’Ortone’s Homestyle Italian restaurant and tap serves classic cuisine in a casual atmosphere.
As head chef, Nick D’Ortone prepares most of the meals from scratch, such as the steak sandwiches made from freshly sliced rib eye that is never frozen. The crabcakes, meatballs, bruschetta, marinara sauce, and much more, are homemade.
“Everyone likes the sauce,” said D’Ortone, who calls his marinara sauce “red gravy.”
He has also received compliments for the pan-seared cod topped with sautéed tomatoes and capers, served with a choice of spaghetti or vegetables.
Breakfast is available at D’Ortone’s on Saturday and Sunday mornings – an offering that will expand further by Memorial Day weekend. D’Ortone said morning cook Bo Greif is well known for her breakfasts.
Nick D’Ortone is the sole owner, but the restaurant is a family affair. His brother, parents and friends all play a role. Even his grandmother, who lives in Lewes, prepares dessert, from a variety of cakes and cheesecake to cannoli.
Starting off the venture with an impressive feat, D’Ortone transformed the former Jolly Roger Bar and Grill into an Italian eatery in just 17 days. Tables lined with red-and-white checked tablecloths offer a view of old family photographs, from D’Ortone’s great-grandparents, and images from “The Godfather,” but all fit well with the home-style Italian theme.
Originally from the Philadelphia area, D’Ortone and his parents vacationed many summers at Salt Pond. He has been part of the restaurant business for years, starting with his first job at Bethany’s Frog House. Most recently, he worked three years at the Italian restaurant Trieste, outside of Philadelphia.
D’Ortone said his mother and grandmother were good cooks, and his father’s family operated restaurants in Philadelphia. The family is also close friends with other local restaurateurs. He said he found a niche for moderately-priced home-cooked Italian food in Ocean View, not seeing many similar restaurants nearby.
And D’Ortone’s Homestyle Italian offers nightly dinner specials. Every Thursday night is pasta night, and Friday, Saturday and Sunday feature an early-bird special of $2 off entrees from 4 to 6 p.m. There are also regular specials in the adjacent bar.
The restaurant is currently open on Thursdays from 4 to 9 p.m., Fridays from 4 to 10 p.m., Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. After Memorial Day, D’Ortone’s will be open daily.
D’Ortone’s Homestyle Italian is located at 38450 Hickman Road in Ocean View. For more information, call (302) 829-1430 or visit www.dortoneshomestyle.com.