Atmosphere: Informal, quick eating.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., weekdays; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., weekends.
Price Range: Pizzas from $3.60 for a 13-inch regular to $10.50 for a 16-inch large with the works. Subs from $2.60 to $2.95. Entrees and house specials from $2.95 for souvlaki to $7.65 for rib eye steak.
Reservations: Taken, but not necessary unless except for large groups.
Credit Cards: Visa and MasterCard. Personal checks are accepted.
Special Facilities: Booster seats and highchairs; good accessibility for handicapped.
The staff at Pizzaria Sylvana in Herndon is dedicated to good food and prompt service. Employes assume patrons are there to eat, so they don't spend a lot of time making small talk.
The restaurant, which has doubled its seating capacity in a year's time, is always busy, yet there is rarely a long wait for a table or for service. That's because of the staff's move-'em-in-move-'em-out philosophy.
Frankly, that philosophy can be a little aggravating if you're looking for a leisurely dining experience.
But if you're just looking to quell the growling in your stomach in a quick, tasty and inexpensive way, Sylvana's will do nicely.
On our most recent visit, my wife, two sons and I were hungry after a long, active day outdoors had taken us well past our normal dinner hour. The boys ordered a 13-inch pizza, half pepperoni and half cheese, to split for $4.40. We let them play the restaurant's Pac-Man game a couple of times to keep their minds off food, temporarily at least.
My wife passed up proven favorites like the meatball and cheese sub ($2.60) and the steak and cheese sub ($2.75) to try a sub of Italian cold cuts ($2.70).
I also tried something new--a sausage and cheese sub ($2.70)--instead of souvlaki ($2.95), which is a tasty blend of thinly sliced marinated meat, green peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, onions and feta cheese. We both ordered salads ($1.50), which prompted, uncharacteristically for Sylvana's, a suggestion from our waitress: "Try the house dressing. It's so good."
We did try it and she was right. The dressing was creamy, mild and tasty on a salad of a crisp variety of leafy greens. In fact, the salad was good enough to make us consider trying the extensive all-you-can-eat salad bar ($3) the next time we are there.
The subs arrived a couple of minutes before the pizza, causing groans from the boys who said Pac-Man had made them hungrier. The subs were large and on soft, warm rolls. Mine was delicious, the hot Italian sausage topped with melted mozzarella and tomato sauce. My wife, however, was disappointed in her cold cuts. A strip of pepper loaf was fatty and the other meats were not particularly plentiful.
But at Sylvana's when pizza is part of the order, no one need go hungry. The pizza arrived bubbling hot, and there was enough for the boys and my wife, who did not finish her sandwich.
The pizza dough, made fresh at Sylvana's, was light and the toppings were generous. The excellent pizza sauce at Sylvana's doesn't have the sticky, sweet taste that too many other pizza places include. Not surprisingly, we all savored the pizza. After all, Sylvana's is a pizzaria first.
Desserts are not encouraged at Sylvana's, although the homemade baklava ($1.25) is good. The only other dessert available on the menu is cheesecake ($1.25).
The tab for basically satisfying, no-nonsense eating was $17.40, tip and tax included.