Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday and Sunday, 4 p.m. to midnight.
Atmosphere: Informal and congenial; a big appetite necessary to survive there.
Reservations: Advised during the lunch hours.
Credit Cards: Visa, Master Charge.
Special facilities: Booster chairs. Parking available. Easily accessible for persons in wheelchairs.
Angelo calls his restaurant in Silver Spring the Wayside Inn because that's where all your glorious intentions to be svelte go when you eat there - by the wayside. And that's not all. After a meal there recently, we went home with three days worth of spaghetti from a spread the Roman Legions couldn't conquer.
The arrival of the five of us - three grown-ups and two short ones - on Angelo's doorstep was purely coincidental, a second choice, made after we saw a line six-deep at the restaurant of our first choice. In the end, we felt properly smug about our find because of its above average food, deflationary prices and, as they say in the trade, its ambience.
The entrance - through a bar - is not glamorous, but in the back is a small and pleasant dining room. Children were dropping coins into a juke box, which the management, upon request, graciously consented to crank down several decibels.
I suspect that our waitress, a middle-aged woman, always keeps a full cookie jar at home for the neighborhood kids. She took good, motherly care of us and, like Angelo, seemed to equate happiness with the amount of food one consumes.
She gave us some tips on ordering. We started with one antipasto, $3.25, for everybody. Angelo's antipasto had variety - anchovies, tuna, prosciutto and boiled ham, provolone, onions, lettuce and just about everything but chocolate chips.
Meanwhile, big garden salads and baskets of Italian bread arrived, and we began to regret having the antipasto.
My husband had chosen veal cacciatore, $6.25, several slices of meat smothered in a sauce of green peppers, fresh tomatoes, onions and herbs. Though it was veal with appeal, my husband couldn't finish it.
Our daughter and her friend dropped in from the bar, where they had found a pinball machine, to say hello and eat their spaghetti and meat sauce, $3.15. Other than their perverse objection to the fresh tomatoes in the sauce, they had kind remarks. However, they were unable to finish their spaghetti.
Angelo even got a high score for his pizza, which our friend ordered. The dough, made on the premises, was thin and crisp, just what you expected the founder of pizza had in mind when she (or he) started this business. Naturally, Angelo did not hold back on the tomato and cheese. It was only a small pizza, $2.25, but our friend couldn't finish it.
I had veal francese, $6.25, very lightly breaded veal slices cooked with butter, lemon, a touch of garlic and herbs. Truly a winner, and I finished it all.
What I hadn't noticed was the side dish of spaghetti that had somehow appeared with all this (my husband had gotten one too). It was these "side" dishes that stoked the family for a few days at home.
Angelo's offers everything from submarine and steak sandwiches, $1.95 to $2.25; to Greek salad, $3.25; to pork chops, $4.55, and a boneless strip steak, $6.75. Salad, bread and spaghetti come with the dinners.Pizzas runs as high as $5.20 for a large with everything on it. Cheesecake and assorted pies are offered for dessert, if you get that far.
Our bill for the five of us, covering wine, tip, coffee and one dessert, came to $36. Had we been forewarned of Angelo's Olympian-sized portions, the bill would have been much lower, or we could have fed another two or three families.