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Lo Bello's serves homemade Italian delights

People who come to Lo Bello's Spaghetti House in Coraopolis often either know it through the Food Network -- where it was featured on "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" -- or they know the super-friendly owner, Rose Lo Bello, like she's an old friend.

How couldn't they get to know her• Lo Bello's parents opened the place -- which makes homemade pasta like ravioli, lasagna, fettuccini and gnocchi -- in 1944, and Lo Bello, 80, has been practically living there ever since. Her parents -- Ross and Katie Rowe -- pulled her out of school as a teenager, so she could work at the family business.

Now, 66 years later, Lo Bello alternates between fawning over her diners and cooking up homemade delights in the kitchen, despite a stroke and brain surgery five years ago.

"I'm never going to retire -- never, ever, ever," she says. "Not until God takes me and keeps me. I love my restaurant and I love my people. All you have to be is human, and I love you."

Rosalie Richards, Lo Bello's daughter, marvels at her mom's friendliness to patrons.

"She doesn't want to be out of here for a second because she'll miss one of her customers," Richards says.

The best-selling favorites are the homemade carbs, including ravioli, which comes in meat-and-cheese versions in homemade tomato sauce, and the gnocchi (both $10.95 for a small order; $12.95 for a large). The one-size fettuccini comes with the tomato sauce for $12.95, or alfredo sauce for $15.95. Lasagna comes in one size for $12.95. Lo Bello's also serves pasta that is usually pre-packaged, including spaghetti and rigatoni ($7.95 and $9.95), and angel hair pasta ($10.95). A homemade meatball on the side is $1.20.

Other items on the small menu include hot sausage, meatball or jumbo fish sandwiches ($7.95), pasta fagioli soup ($3.50 and $4.95) and the dessert of the day ($3.95), often coconut cream pie.

A nostalgic picture of the Rowes hangs in the dining room, which seats about 45. Ross Rowe was an immigrant from Italy. Customers etch their names into the backs of the wooden seats and benches.

Lo Bello's attracts a broad clientele, including families with kids, professionals, and many travelers, who seek out the restaurant from Guy Fieri's recommendation.

"It was delicious," says traveling Chicago businessman Tom Moran, 45, as he leaves after dinner.

The guestbooks at the front counter include a page from Sarah Palin, who ate at Lo Bello's during the 2008 presidential campaign.

"Thank you so much for the personal service," Palin wrote. "Our Secret Service ... really appreciated your fine food. P.S. I'll tell John McCain to swing by and enjoy your food."

Additional Information:

Lo Bello's Spaghetti House

Location: 809 Fifth Ave., Coraopolis

Location: Lunch, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays; and for dinner 4-8:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays

Details: 412-264-9721 or website

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