Atmosphere: Friendly, informal and pleasantly noisy.
Price Range: Pizza from $2.20 to $9. Other entrees from $2.95 to $7.50.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday, to midnight on Sunday.
Special facilities: Accessible for wheelchairs; high chairs; parking lot.
Resservations: Not needed.
Credit Cards: None accepted.
We have an acquaintance from Harrisburg, Pa., who likes to go to Ledo's Restaurant whenever he's in town. Some 15 years ago, he propelled himself through his undergraduate days at the University of Maryland on a diet of Ledo's pizza and beer, and his fondness for the place has not dimmed with his advancing age.
Ledo's popularity hasn't dimmed either, for on the rainy night our family went there, the line stretched across the windows of the Jumbo food store next door and those waiting amused themselves by reading the signs for meat specials.
As my husband geared up for an assault on the first free parking space, I spotted a balding figure standing among the hairier students in line. It was a friend of ours, there for supper with his wife and two youngsters. I confess, not without shame, that we joined our friends midway in line, shortening the wait to about 25 minutes.
Inside, Ledo's is lively, the noise level in the dining room cheerfully high. Tables are packed close together to accommodate the crowds, which swell on nights of home games. The grown-ups sat together in one booth and since my husband almost slid to the floor several times, we concluded the booths are too small or he's overweight.
The four children were seated behind us, and within 30 seconds decided they wanted to share a large pizza with pepperoni for $6.40. It arrived on two plastic school cafeteria trays and could have stoked the entire Maryland basketball team.
Commentary coming to us from the children's booth indicated the pizza was a high scorer, but the 9-year-old son of our friends called a foul on the pepperoni. He was right - it lacked the pungency of good pepperoni and was akin to a bland, skinny salami.
The pizza itself had a good thick crust, a rich tomato sauce and a generous layer of cheese that went all the way out to the edges. Eating it required a fork, a fact I discovered when my 8-year-old generously gave me a piece that dribbled through my fingers onto my lap.
The grown-ups, meanwhile, sipped light beers to balance off the calories they knew would be arriving soon. We did forego the appetizers - bean or minestrone soup for 60 cents, an antipasto for $3.25, toasted ravioli or garlic bread for 95 cents. Shrimp coctail at $3.25 costs more than some entrees.
My husband wanted to try a spaghetti dish that was new to us, one with chicken livers and mushroom sauce for $3.95. They didn't have it, so he had a plateful of spaghetti and meatballs. The sauce was fine but the pasta must have been sitting around for a while because it was overcooked.
The rest of us had pizza, which ranges from $2.20 for a small one with cheese to $9 for a big one with four or more toppings. Our friends split a medium (one school tray) with half green peppers and half sausage, $4.50. I ordered a small with sausage, $2.90.
Again, the pizza partakers had rave reviews, and we understood why our Harrisburg friend often stops in College Park on his way into the city. With this pizza, there's no skimping on the old Ledo's recipe.
A complaint that did surface was that the sausage lacked flavor and made the pizza a bit greasy, but good greasy.
My 95-cent tossed salad was middling.
If you don't fancy pizza or spaghetti, the list of entrees seems to include everything short of turkey galantine. Cold salad platters cost from $3.50 to $4.50. Or you can have crab cakes, $5.50, pot roast for $3.95, veal scallopini for $5.95, fried clams for $3.75, or the most expensive item, a porterhouse for $7.50. Most dinners come with two vegetables. Desserts include cheesecake, 60 cents, and spumoni and tortoni for 75 cents.
After our friends departed, we had coffee and totaled our bill - $23 for the four of us, including tip.