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Ray Routhier

Portland Press Herald staff writer Ray Routhier will try anything. Once. During 20 years at the Press Herald he’s been equally attracted to stories that are unusually quirky and seemingly mundane. He’s taken rides on garbage trucks, sought out the mother of two rock stars, dug clams, raked blueberries, and spent time with the family of bedridden man who finds strength in music. Nothing too dangerous mind you, just adventurous enough to find the stories of real Mainers doing real cool things.

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Posted: March 3, 2017

When it comes to pizza, DiPietro’s doesn’t mess around

Written by: Ray Routhier
Cheese and pepperoni slices at DiPietro's Market. Staff photos by Derek Davis

Cheese and pepperoni slices at DiPietro’s Market.
Staff photos by Derek Davis

Pizza doesn’t always require a basil ravioli-infused crust or toppings like duck confit and braised asparagus.

Sometimes you just want regular, old pizza. When that craving hits, try DiPietro’s Market on Cottage Road in South Portland.

The family-run market on Meeting House Hill, open since 1972, serves up inexpensive pizza, plus Italians and other sandwiches. It’s a good place stop on the way home or on the way to a picnic at nearby Willard Beach, or some other shoreline spot.

One selling point for basic pizza is that it’s not as expensive as gourmet pizza. My family and I got a large, 16-inch pepperoni pizza on special for $10.99. It came with a free liter of Coke and was hot when we got it home. While specialty pizza places often ask you if you want thick crust or thin, DiPietro’s crust is neither too thick nor too thin. It’s a nice combination of doughy and crisp, with a little buttery flavor as well. It has classic red sauce, like from an old Italian restaurant, with a well-melted layer of cheese.

It’s easy to pick up, easy to eat and easy on the wallet. In fact, since it was only $10.99 we thought, what else can we get? For another $13 or so, we got a large chicken Parmesan sandwich ($7.99) and a large ham Italian ($4.99). There were four of us eating, and we had leftovers for the next day’s lunch.

The chicken Parmesan sandwich at DiPietro’s is one of my favorites, and I’ve tried many. The chicken is tender with a crisp breading. It comes with a lot of sauce and cheese, melted well, but it’s wrapped in foil so you don’t have to mess up your hands too much.

Ham Italian from DiPietro's Market.

Ham Italian from DiPietro’s Market.

The Italian was the classic Maine version with ham, American cheese and raw veggies on a soft sub roll, almost the consistency of a hot dog roll. Both the Italian the chicken Parmesan sandwich are large enough for any appetite.

DiPietro’s is a good place to get food for a party or get-together, partly because it also has a beer, wine and liquor selection that’s far larger than one would imagine a neighborhood market to have.

The menu is quite extensive, too. The pizzas range from small to jumbo 20-inchers, with toppings including all the basic food groups: pepperoni, sausage, salami, hamburger, ham, steak, meatballs, bacon, chicken and spicy chicken. But in the odd instance that you don’t want several kinds of meat on your pizza, they also have mushrooms, peppers, onions, garlic, anchovies, black olives, tomatoes, spinach, feta cheese, broccoli and jalapeños.

For dinner, DiPietro’s sells buckets of spaghetti or ziti, plus pasta dinners with meatballs ($5.59) or sausage ($5.89). There are salads, deli sandwiches, lots of different Italians and hot sandwiches. The latter include meatball, Italian sausage, steak and cheese and pastrami and cheese.

And you can also get a quick slice of that good pizza to go, $2.75 for cheese or $3.50 loaded.

DIPIETRO’S MARKET

WHERE: 383-385 Cottage Road, South Portland; 799-2839 and on Facebook.
HOURS: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday
WAIT: 10 to 15 minutes
PARKING: Yes
HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE: No, there’s a slight step up at the front door.

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