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 already 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. Sal e Pepe even offers special dining experiences from wine pairings to music and comedy events in this space that accommodates up to 42 guests.
The main dining area immediately beckons guests with its warm red- and gold-colored walls and table settings finished off with glowing candles that create a cozy and inviting ambiance.
Whether you are looking to enjoy a romantic dinner for two or socialize with friends and family, Sal e Pepe can accommodate all of your needs. Bring in the entire family; there is room for all — 125 people, to be exact. And there is no need to worry about dietary issues. The restaurant is flexible in satisfying patron requests as well as serving gluten-free meals.
You can also choose outside dining on the patio during the warmer months, which seats 32. Enjoy a refreshing experience dining under the giant green umbrellas surrounded by beautiful, overflowing flower boxes.
The name Sal e Pepe is a take on the Italian “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” ambiance where everyone can feel comfortable and have an enjoyable experience. The atmosphere of “polished casual” 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 a community they are proud to call home.
With so many frequent guests, Sal e Pepe created a loyalty program to reward devoted customers, which now boasts more than 10,000 members. These loyal customers receive special discounts on their birthdays and anniversaries and also get five percent 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 43 awards. In 2019, they won 17 awards — Best Overall Excellence in the State and Best Italian Restaurant in the State among them.
“It’s been a joy and an honor to serve the greater Newtown community over the last 15 years,” says Angelo. And judging by the satisfied customers enjoying their dining experience, the community feels the same way about Sal e Pepe.
A Sample Of The Menu
Appetizers: Nine options are available on the dinner menu. One of the most popular items 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 the Tuscan peasant soup; the latter has a chicken base with sweet Italian sausage, pasta, beans, and vegetables.
Salads: Among the variety of salads, a bestseller must be the Caesar salad. It includes Parmesan crackers instead of croutons and dressing — all made in-house. Prices range from $10.95 to $11.95.
Specials Menu: 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 ravioli special.
Lunch Menu: Among the different 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 entrée is served with a soup or salad, all for $14.95.
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 different pasta options on the dinner menu, with the Seafood Ravioli being another bestselling dish. Tilapia, salmon, bay scallops, and shrimp are stuffed in 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 that are 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.”
Martinis, Wine, and Beer: The Martini Menu includes Sal e Pepe’s very own Basil Martini, which is a combination of Grey Goose vodka, fresh lime juice, fresh basil, and simple syrup. Order from a selection of nearly 50 wines, by the glass or the bottle, as well as from a variety of beers.
Sal e Pepe Contemporary Italian Bistro, at 97 South Main Street in Newtown, is open Wednesday through Friday, from 11 am to 9 pm; Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday, from 4 to 9 pm; and Sunday, from 4 to 8 pm. Takeout, catering, and seating reservations are accepted by calling 203-426-0805. For more information, visit salepeperestaurant.com or facebook.com/salepeperestaurant.