They were not advertising a two-for-one lunch special when I walked into DiPietro’s Market recently, but that’s essentially what I got at this South Portland establishment.

For $8.65 — the price of one lunch at many sandwich shops and restaurants — I got a dinner-sized portion of spaghetti and meatballs with grated cheese, plus a loaded ham Italian sandwich.

And both were great.

The spaghetti ($4.89) came in a bowl the size of a dinner plate, and was topped with a bright red sauce. The sauce was tangy and tasted fresh, with not a hint of jar taste, and wasn’t soupy like some red sauces can get.

The one giant meatball was moist but firm, not overly spicy. Grated cheese had been sprinkled over the warm dish. The portion was big enough for two people of medium-sized appetites to split.

I also had the option of getting ziti for pasta instead of spaghetti.

The ham Italian ($3.19) was the classic Maine version, open-faced on a very soft white roll. It came with ham, American cheese, olives, chopped onions, tomatoes, green peppers, oil and pickles. I passed on the pickles.

The bread was great, almost creamy tasting, with just enough of a crust. The vegetables tasted fresh, especially the large strips of green pepper, which had a nice snap to them.

And even though it was listed as a small, the Italian was at least a couple of inches longer than most small Italians I’ve encountered. You can get a large ham Italian for just a little more, $3.99.

I ate half of each item, which was more than enough to fill me up, and put the rest away for lunch another day.

DiPietro’s is located on busy Cottage Road just a few minutes from Willard Beach, Fort Williams and several other waterfront spots, so it’s a place to keep in mind when the weather gets warm and you’re looking for places to pick up a picnic lunch.

Besides serving take-out food, DiPietro’s is a good-sized market with a variety of staple items, plus a huge and varied selection of beer and wine.

Italians are clearly a focus of the menu, and range from the regular ham or a small salami and provolone ($3.49) to a large Italian-style roast beef or Italian-style turkey ($6.29). If you like a lot of meat and cheese, you can get a large triple ham and cheese Italian for $5.99.

Hot sandwiches include meatball with grated cheese ($3.79 for a small), Italian sausage with grated cheese ($3.89 for a small), steak and cheese ($4.29 for a small) and pastrami and cheese ($4.29 for a small.)

Other sandwiches include tuna salad, chicken salad and a BLT. Each is priced at $3.69 for a small.

Pizzas made to order start at $5.50 for a 10-inch cheese and go up to $29.95 for the jumbo 20-inch “loaded.” Slices are $2.50 for cheese, $2.75 for pepperoni and $3.25 for loaded.

You can also get a bucket of spaghetti or ziti for $6.09, plus meatballs ($1 each) or sausage ($1.25 each). There is a variety of salads and entrees, such as chicken or eggplant Parmesan ($5.99 each).

The Features staff of The Portland Press Herald anonymously samples meals for about $7.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: