Generous George's

Positive Pizza

Pasta Place

6131 Backlick Rd.



Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday.

Prices: $3.50 to $18.95.

Cards: Visa, Mastercard.

Nonsmoking area available.

There is absolutely nothing subtle about the new Generous George's Positive Pizza & Pasta Place -- not the gargantuan soft drink glasses that could double as goldfish bowls, not the mammoth pasta portions overflowing the large platters, not the carnival of colors used to paint the inside, not even the multitude of light fixtures -- 65 by my count -- that, uh, grace the ceiling.

The idiosyncracies of both the food and decor are traceable to owner George Mansy, who opened his first Generous George's on Duke Street in Alexandria 14 years ago.

Mansy says he travels to small towns in Pennsylvania and West Virginia to track down the vintage chrome and laminate dinette tables used at both Northern Virginia locations.

As for the food, it's fun, hearty and a good value -- indeed, "Generous George" is an appropriate nickname.

This is a place to take youngsters, especially ravenous teenagers. The portions are so big that a teenage boy at my table, whose mother was heretofore convinced that her son's stomach was a bottomless pit, could not finish a four-inch-high mound of linguine with slightly tough clams but a nicely garlicky red sauce ($7.95).

What makes membership in the clean plate club even more of a challenge is that each of the 20 pastas is served on a pizza crust lined with cheese, an unusual concept Mansy instituted three years ago.

Although the linguine with clams is okay, a better selection is the tricolor ziti with seafood. The clams were tough in this dish too, but they were offset by tender shrimp and scallops in a light, white cream sauce.

Almost as good is the "Georgie cacciatore" with chicken in a pleasant marinara sauce, and the fettuccine with Italian sausage and mushrooms.

A big attraction here is the good pizza with a yeasty crust sporting a puffy, crackly rim. You can get the usual assortment of toppings, ranging from pepperoni and ham to pineapple and jalapenåos, but there is also the kitchen sink option of the 12-topping Georgie combo (large $18.95, small $16.95). Skip the shredded meatball topping, which is tasteless.

Not everything on Generous George's menu comes on a pizza crust. There was a so-so vegetarian-spinach lasagna offered as a special one evening that was a little short on the spinach and mushroom filling.

More satisfying were the subs, such as the delicious Golden Greek Combo ($5.50) with thinly sliced sauteed beef, lettuce, tomato, cheese and black olives, or the chicken cordon bleu in a warm sub roll ($4.60).

The service is as friendly and upbeat as the decor. In fact, if you order with a modest amount of discretion, you're almost guaranteed to leave with a smile.