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Dine Out: Italian heritage part of charm at Philipís

By Robin Perry
For the Salisbury Post
Steak and pasta ó the best of both worlds ó thatís the way Philip Mannino sees his new restaurant in Salisbury.
He already had an Italian restaurant in Charlotte, but he has always wanted to have a steakhouse. And Salisbury seemed like the perfect place to combine his love and talent for serving authentic Italian dishes and melt-in-your mouth steaks.
He opened Philipís Steak & Pasta House at 1504 Jake Alexander Blvd. on Dec. 1.
ěI wanted to open a steak house in a smaller town and have it be more home-like and people friendly,î he said, ěbut still be big enough for the economy to support it.î
According to Mannino, Salisbury fit that description perfectly. His new eatery was previously the home of Pub 1504 and Alliís.
Since 2006, Mannino has owned Anziís Italian Restaurant in Ballentyne.
Originally from New York, Mannino grew up in the food business, serving Italian dishes since he was 14. During college he worked in restaurants and has always loved cooking. After school he worked in the corporate world, but after a layoff, he followed the advice and encouragement of his friends who urged him to go back to the restaurant business. His ěeducationî in cooking came from his mother and grandmother and friends who graduated chef school. His Italian heritage helped too, where dinner is an event, not just a meal.
His menu offers Italian favorites such as baked ziti and chicken Alfredo, along with the ever popular flat iron steak and a ribeye or t-bone steak, all seasoned with a signature blend of spices, flame grilled to perfection.
We tried the flat iron steak ($13.95 with two sides) and the taste was excellent ó it melted in your mouth.
Other items that have become favorites are the steak style chicken ($9.99 with a side or salad), grilled marinated chicken breast, seared and smothered in their signature mushroom and onion medley, served over garlic mashed potatoes.
We also sampled this dish and the blend of flavors made it an instant favorite.
Chipotle chicken ($10.99 with choice of two sides or one side and a salad) is also ordered often.
From the harbor, the menu offers excellent seafood such as seared tuna, ($14.95) a sushi grade tuna seasoned and grilled to your liking; northern salmon ($12.95) and Faithís fresh catfish, which some have described as outrageous ó a mild catfish cooked to order served blackened or fried ($11.95). The rolls have a hint of cinnamon in them as does the honey butter ó a nice little extra touch.
Some of the top picks in appetizers include golden fried pickles, Tex-Mex egg rolls and jumbo wings with a choice of sauces including voodoo, which some like the best. Alliís onion blossom brings back a traditional favorite from the old Alliís at this location. Appetizers range in price from $4.50 to $7.99.
Burgers and giant heroes are also on the menu. The Philís burger is smothered in their steak mushroom and onion medley, topped with onion rings and melted mozzarella ($6.75). The Philly cheese steak and chicken parmigiana ($6.95) have quickly become customer favorites on the giant heroes side. The chipotle burger is a special dish ($7.25) and will satisfy the fan of this pungent chili used to spice up a dish.
And you wonít want to miss dessert. The Brooklyn cannoli tastes as delicious as it looks ó and the presentation is beautiful. Godiva double chocolate cheesecake and Oreo cookie bash pie are other choices that will delight the sweet tooth in all.
Mannino wants his place to be one where people can have a home cooked meal with family and friends, and have a good time. On Tuesday and Thursday nights, you can play team trivia. Saturday night is karaoke night.
For St. Patrickís Day, the Upside of Down provided live music.
As the weather warms, the outdoor patio will feature corn hole events and others. A $25 special includes a tower of beer and 25 wings. The beer is served in a tall ětowerî that holds 100 ounces. This has been popular.
The lunch menu offers all their regular items ranging in price from $5.99 to $9.99 for a Delmonico ribeye. Drinks are added for 99 cents. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. Meals to go are also available and you can call or fax in the order. Catering and private parties are other options.
Mannino offers to donate 10 percent of your dining bill to your church when you bring in a church bulletin/program on Sundays or Wednesday nights.

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