Sal E Pepe Contemporary Italian Bistro: A Place For Everyone
From the moment you enter Sal e Pepe and take one look around, the stage is set for a tasty good time: from the smiling hostess greeting patrons at the door to the friendly vibe of the guests seated in any of four dining areas, including the bar.
To the right of the entrance is a separate dining room, which is also available for private parties. There, guests have enjoyed birthday parties, bridal showers, wedding receptions, celebrations of life, and work gatherings, among other special occasions.
The main dining area beckons with warm red- and gold-colored walls and table settings finished off with glowing candles that create a cozy and inviting ambience.
Whether you are looking to enjoy a romantic dinner for two or a casual meal with friends and family, Sal e Pepe can accommodate all of your needs. And there is no need to worry about dietary issues. The restaurant is flexible in satisfying patron requests as well as serving vegan and gluten-free meals.
You can also choose al fresco dining on the patio during the warmer months. Enjoy a refreshing repast under the tent surrounded by beautiful, overflowing flower boxes.
The name Sal e Pepe is Italian for “salt and pepper,” so owners Angelo and Renia Marini have added a little whimsy to your experience by showcasing a different set of salt and pepper shakers at each table. Among Angelo and Renia’s collection, gathered from their various travels, are also those given to them by patrons, enhancing the neighborhood feel. What sets this restaurant apart from many others is that the owners are usually present, assisting their staff and engaging with patrons.
As Angelo tells it, the Sal e Pepe environment has a “come as you are” ambience where everyone can feel comfortable and have an enjoyable experience. The “polished casual” atmosphere of serves a variety of customers, from those who just popped in for the first time to the many regulars who feel like friends and family to each other and the staff. Angelo and Renia have championed making Newtown a restaurant destination and support local sports teams and organizations. They are actively involved in the community they are proud to call home.
With so many repeat guests, Sal e Pepe created a loyalty program to reward frequent customers, which now boasts more than 10,000 members. These customers receive special discounts on their birthdays and anniversaries and also get 5% back for every $200 they spend. Be sure to sign up!
Since 2014, Sal e Pepe fans and followers have helped the restaurant earn more Connecticut Magazine Readers’ Choice Awards than any other restaurant, with 52. In 2019, they claimed 17 awards — Best Overall Excellence in the state and Best Italian Restaurant in the state among them — and took nine awards in 2020.
“I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Newtown community for their support through the pandemic,” Angelo said.
Sal e Pepe is prioritizing everyone’s safety and is following state guidelines for social distancing while serving patrons indoors and outside. Masks are required to be worn when walking through the restaurant.
A Sample Of The Menu
Appetizers: Nine options are available on the dinner menu. One of the most popular is Maine mussels, which come with a choice of gorgonzola cream sauce or white wine sauce. Prices range from $6.95 to $13.95.
Soup: All soups are made fresh. Favorites include the Italian wedding soup and Tuscan peasant soup; the latter has a chicken base with sweet Italian sausage, pasta, beans, and vegetables.
Salads: Among the salads, a bestseller is the Caesar. It includes parmesan crackers (rather than croutons) and dressing, both made in-house. Prices range from $10.95 to $11.95.
Specials: Many customers solely order off the specials menu because of the constant variety. There are typically six to eight specials, which usually include a stew, a fish, a steak, and a ravioli special.
Lunch: Among the lunch options is a section titled “Pastabilities,” where any of Sal e Pepe’s 14 pastas can be matched with any of its 11 sauces. The dish is served with a soup or salad, all for $16.95.
Entrées: Entrées range in price from $19.95 for baked eggplant Parmigiana to $32.95 for filet mignon. A top seller is the parmesan tilapia served over a green pea risotto, $24.95.
Pasta: There are 12 pasta options on the dinner menu, with the seafood ravioli another best-selling dish: tilapia, salmon, bay scallops, and shrimp stuffed into Sal e Pepe’s fresh pasta pockets. Prices range from $19.95 to $23.95.
Desserts: The desserts are made in-house. The Nutella mousse pie is the restaurant’s signature dessert. It has an Oreo cookie crust, caramel, Heath Bar crunch, dark chocolate ganache topping, and of course, a Nutella mousse center. Another dessert highlight is the gluten-free drunken cherry parfait, which has vanilla ice cream along with special Amarena cherries soaked in grappa. It also comes with chocolate sauce and fresh whipped cream.
Kid’s Menu: All meals are $12.95, which includes a main course, a drink (a choice of soda, milk, or apple juice), and a “messy sundae.”
Craft Cocktails, Wine, and Beer: The craft cocktails include Sal e Pepe’s very own Mule Thyme — Absolut vodka, house-made raspberry thyme simple syrup, fresh lime juice, and Gosling’s ginger beer. Order from a selection of nearly 50 wines, some by the glass, as well as from a variety of beers.
Sal e Pepe Contemporary Italian Bistro, at 97 South Main Street in Newtown, serves lunch Thursday through Saturday and dinner seven nights a week. Curbside service, delivery, and takeout are accepted by calling 203-426-0805. For more information, visit salepeperestaurant.com or facebook.com/salepeperestaurant.