Hours: Monday through Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Thursday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. until midnight.
Price range: Inexpensive. Dinners with two vegetables range from $4.75 to $8.50. Sandwiches: $2 to $4. Large pizza, plain, $5.25.
Atmosphere: Noisy, friendly, family-oriented.
Credit Cards: None.
Special Facitlities: Plenty of parking. Booster chairs and high chairs.
Accessible to handicapped.
Ledo was where we went as poor, hungry graduate students years ago. It was good, cheap and noisy. Many a literary theme was chewed over there, between bites of pizza.
Life is different not. We still look for places that are cheap and noisy, but now it's because we have young children. Ledo is at the top of a small list of reliable restaurants where we can take the kids without worrying about their table manners, the bill or the food.
The line out front is longer than ever. A recent Sunday visit meant shivering outside for 45 minutes before a table was available.
Once inside, we warmed to the simplicity of the place. Ledo seems to have changed little in its 27 years. It is neat and clean. The vinyl plants are still in place, reflected along with the dark paneling in a long mirror that stretches across one side of the big room and seems to double its size. The bright overhead lights seem honest in contrast to the hokey "atmosphere" often created by glimmering lamps and candles in many Italian-style restaurants.
The menu has grown, however. It's massive now. Practically everything is offered -- fried oysters and french fries, steamship round of beef and roast turkey, baked chicken and ham steak and fried shrimp, and crab cakes.
Crab cakes at Ledo?
Suggestion: One goes to Ledo for one dish, and only that dish. That's pizza. This makes it all very simple.
In fact, an informal survey of the room and questioning of several waitresses revealed that it's fairly unusual for customers to order most of the dishes on the lengthy menu. Everyone seemed to be eating pizza.
Why? First, the tomato sauce. Since Ledo opened, one man has been stewing up vats of the rich, thick, scarlet sauce. It's spicy, with lots of oregano and rosemary, and has body and vigor.
The crust also is made at Ledo. It's crisp and slightly chewy, the thin rather than the deep-dish variety. The pizzas are rectangular, without the usual wide margin of unadorned crust around the edges. The sauce and cheese bubble right to the edge.
The cheese is excellent and abundant. Pepperoni, sausage, peppers and other garnishes are of good quality and plentiful.
But there is a problem: During busy hours there can be a wait of nearly an hour for pizzas, which are cooked to order. Relief is in sight, however. Management has purchased the shop next door and will soon be converting it into additional oven space that should reduce the wait.
If your family is hungry and must wait for pizza, order a round of minestrone soup, 75 cents a cup. It is homey, filling and a good way to tide over hungry children.
Ledo has some acceptable Italian dishes on the menu. There's a simple sausage and rigatoni in tomato sauce that is generous though not subtle. The noodles in dishes we sampled were overcooked.
Eggplant parmigiana was good, with the eggplant crisply fried and not overly oily.
Don't bother with salads. Mostly they are unimaginative: iceberg lettuce and bottled dressing.
Don't miss the dessert of the day, however. One day it was rice pudding -- creamy, vanilla-drenched, homey and delicious. Another day it was Ledo's own bread pudding with lemon sauce, equally excellent. Each costs 75 cents.