Lina’s Cucina offers new options for dinner guests
The Friday before Labor Day, business was hopping at Lina’s Cucina, in Star Plaza, at the juncture of Routes 309 and 100, New Tripoli.
Between customers placing phone orders and customers picking up food, the kitchen was abuzz with activity.
For Phil and Maggie Campano, owners of Lina’s Cucina, it’s all about food, family and service.
The couple has taken what was formerly Salvatore’s and re-imagined it into their own vision.
“We got all of our final approvals and passed all our inspections in order to complete the change over from Salvatore’s Italian Restaurant to Lina’s Cucina,” Phil Campano said. “We are continuing our remodeling phase and pushing to get updated with newer equipment.”
The Campanos took over on the first of May.
“Salvatore’s was for sale for a little while and I knew their lease was going to be ending,” Campano explained.
And that coincided with his wanting the community to have more dining choices.
“Business is a little sporadic, just a little bit, but in general the community has really welcomed us,” Campano said. “We’re mostly pizza and cheese steak with limited pasta offerings though we haven’t really moved the full menu into place.”
As everyone now knows, the coronavirus pandemic adds a layer of unpredictability to life.
“Pricing for products has been all over the map,” Campano explained. “One week it’s a nearly impossible not being able to get pepperoni or ham, for instance.
“We took over in the middle of a pandemic and asked the question, ‘Do we just close for a little while and then reopen entirely new?’ but we decided to basically stay open and make the changes slowly instead.
“We had a baby on April 20, so we add to the mix as well,” Campano said. “It’s a little crazy to be opening a pizza shop in a pandemic but opportunities come when they come. I mostly wanted to do something in the area where I grew up.
“While we want to make changes to the inside of the restaurant, for us the two big things are customer service and quality and we’ve had a really good response.
Campano said customers can call in orders or come in and place orders.
“Or, they can pull up right to the curb and we can bring their orders out to them,” he explained. “Parents are really grappling with a lot of different things, but we’ll be here with the best food possible at the best prices delivered with really good service.”
Campano cut his teeth in the restaurant business.
His parents and grandparents established Valley Pizza in Schnecksville and Walnutport.
“My grandparents had a restaurant in the 1970s and my Uncle Pat owns and runs the Valley Pizza in Walnutport, so I come from people who have done this for a very long time,” he said. “We went back to my grandparents’ original recipe.
“My grandparents are retired and living in a small condo in Florida, but people still call my grandmother and ask her to prepare Italian specialties.”
Campano said stromboli is one of their biggest sellers and the steak and cheese is very popular but the traditional stromboli with ham, salami, green peppers and mushroom is gaining in popularity.”
He is committed to honoring the kitchen traditions of the past.
“There were older ways of doing things that are harder and require a little more work,” he said. “These days it’s getting harder for restaurants to do it so not very many pizza places can do it.”
But he remains steadfast to time tested traditions.
“Business models have changed a little bit but to make a very good product you don’t have to sacrifice quality and price.”
Naming the restaurant after his grandmother reminds him of this mission every day.
Campano’s connection to this community goes back.
“I live on Memorial Road about two minutes away from here,” he explained. “I was born in the house that I live in and, though I went to Catholic School, most of my friends are from this area.”
Campano is asking the community to keep an eye out for the hours of operation, as they may fluctuate during this time of remodeling.
“But we appreciate their continued support and patience with us during this time,” Campano said. “We look forward to seeing you here. We would like to thank our community for such a great start to our new adventure here at Lina’s Cucina.
“There’s been a very warm reception from the community.”