Upon walking into the new Lasorda’s Restaurant and Pizzeria for the first time, the Lasorda family greets me like an old friend.
Michelle introduces me to her father, Smokey, before she runs off to take a customer’s order. Smokey guides me to a table where his brother Morris and their nephew Sammy are relaxing. In no time at all, I’m sipping an iced tea and listening in on their family story.
Smokey and three of his brothers used to own the famous Lasorda’s in Marchwood Shopping Center until they closed in 2001. “I’d moved to Boca Raton, was playing golf three times a week, and the kids called and said they found a location, so I came back up,” Smokey says.
The newest Lasorda’s Restaurant is owned by Smokey and his two kids, Michelle and Darby. Michelle is the chef and Darby is the pizza man. Smokey is obviously in his element as he greets each diner warmly at the door.
The menu consists of tasty appetizers such as Mussels Marinara, Calamari and Gaetana’s Toasted Ravioli. They serve soups, sandwiches, burgers, paninis, hoagies, strombolis, pizza and steaks. Their entrees include Chicken Parmesan, Veal Piccata and Eggplant Rollatini. The also have a wide range of pasta specialty dishes such as Lobster Ravioli, Penne ala Vodka, and Linguini and Clams.
When I ask Michelle if it was difficult talking her father into moving back, she has to think for a moment.“I thought we would have some resistance, but no,” she says with a smile.
Arnie Goldenberg used to dine at the old restaurant and is thrilled the Lasordas have returned. “We used to go to Marchwood. Smokey knows what he’s doing. His portions are amazing.” When asked Arnie what his favorite meal is, he says without hesitation, “The pepper and egg sandwich is the best. I love having this for lunch.”
Longtime Exton residents know the Lasorda story. The brothers opened the Marchwood restaurant in 1971 and at least one of the four brothers was always on site providing hospitable service. Smokey, Morris, Eddie and Harry also operated a few other Lasorda locations through the years. Their fifth brother is Tommy Lasorda, the legendary baseball player and manager who was recently inducted into the hall of fame. “They say we’re the east coast Dodgers fan club,” Smokey quips.
I wanted to know what it was like to be one of five Lasorda boys at the dinner table as kids. Morris and Smokey both laugh. “My mother made raviolis that were this big,” Smokey says as he forms a round shape the size of a softball. Morris jumps in, “She used to make five pounds of pasta for dinner. Just imagine it!”
When Smokey goes off to greet some diners, Morris peps up. “Smokey is here greeting the people personally.” At the old Lasorda’s, “one of us was always at the restaurant and giving a personal feeling. This is the personality and friendship that became the Lasorda name.” As Michelle passes by, Morris continues, “Michelle is creative with her dishes, she’s quite the chef.”
Smokey returns to our table. “We get a lot of families in for pizza. It is family oriented, nice and cozy for the family to come in for dinner. Customers are glad we’re back. ”
Lasorda’s Restaurant and Pizzeria is located at 123 East Swedesford Road, in Fairfield’s Shopping Center. They are open Sunday through Wednesday, from 11am to 9pm; and Thursday through Saturday, from 11am to 10pm. Lasorda’s is a BYOB. For takeout or more information, call 484-872-8185.