Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 2 to 10 p.m. Sundays.
Atmosphere: A small, modest restaurant offering Greek, Italian and American food.
Price range: Entrees from $1.75 for tiropita (cheese pie) to $5.95 for shish kebab; sandwiches and subs, $1.45 to $2.65; medium-sized, plain pizza, $3.95; Greek gyros platter, $3.95.
Credit cards: None.
Special facilities: Booster seats; children's menu; parking in shopping center lot; carryout. By CAROLYN MARINO Special to The Washington Post
For a family looking for a no-frills restaurant that offers a little something for everybody's tastes, Stella's might be the place. There are hamburgers and spaghetti for the kids, souvlaki for Dad and country-style fried chicken for Mom. Best of all are the prices: A family of four can easily dine here for less than $20.
This is not by any means fine dining, however. Some offerings are good, some are poor, but few are above average.
The trick is to order with care. We recommend sticking with pizza and sandwiches, or checking to see what those around you are selecting. The restaurant is popular and seems to have quite a few regulars. On a recent Friday evening, almost all the tables were occupied.
Stella's, formerly the Magic Oven, is in the Leesburg Pike Plaza at Bailey's Crossroads. The decor is plain. Some of the plastic-covered tables look out on the parking lot; others face a mural of a Greek isle or afford a glimpse into the kitchen in the back.
On a previous visit, our family concentrated on pizza, which was very good. It had a fresh-tasting, medium-thick crust and just the right amounts of tomato and cheese. This time we tried a sampling of the other dishes: spaghetti with meat sauce ($3.75), moussaka ($4.50), veal parmigiana ($4.75) and a hamburger platter from the children's menu ($1.75). Other children's selections are spaghetti with meat sauce ($2.50) or meatballs ($2.95), and a cheeseburger platter ($1.95).
The regular dishes came with salad, bread and butter. To begin with we were served warm, toasted French bread with butter--a nice opener on a cold evening.
So was lentil soup (95 cents), which was homemade and hot, thick with lentils and bits of pork and beautifully seasoned.
The salads were another matter, however: iceberg lettuce, tomato, cucumber and slivers of red cabbage with a bland dressing that tasted slightly of oil but lacked any trace of spices or vinegar.
The best of our entrees was moussaka, which combined layers of ground beef, potato, eggplant and a top layer of light custard. The tomato sauce was thick and rich but, unfortunately, underseasoned. A scanty serving of similar sauce topped a huge platter of spaghetti.
Veal parmigiana was simply a patty of ground meat covered with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce, carried off with all the elegance of a packaged frozen dinner. With it came a side order of spaghetti.
The child's platter consisted of a big, juicy hamburger with lettuce, tomato and onion, and a pile of thickly sliced french fries. The burger and fries were both tasty and a good buy. For picky kids, however, you might want to tell the waitress to hold the mayonnaise.
Desserts available are baklava (95 cents), rice pudding (75 cents), cheesecake ($1) and carrot cake ($1).
Our meal for four, including soft drinks and tax, came to $18.88.