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Some time ago, Dad introduced you to our favorite local pizza joint.  I encourage you to hit that up and read about the colorful history of Larry Dinolfo and his culinary hero status in our hometown.  Dad did such a great job there I can’t add much.  Needless to say, it was a very special kitchen in which to grow up. At one stage of my life, Larry offered candy necklaces and fun singalongs… colorful stories at another stage… then dirty jokes… and later some… *ahem*… wisdom on courting the opposite sex.

Who knew college was supposed to be like a doughnut factory?

Larry knew.

Today I’m here to share a tribute to Larry and his famous Garlic Salad Dressing. Prepare yourself for a life-changing event.  You won’t be the same after.

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I’m writing this up instead of Joanna because it might not be the healthiest recipe in the world.  Dad spent way too many hours after Larry passed perfecting this tribute and I refuse to allow The Wife to ruin it by attempting substitutes like tofu for pepperoni and condensed quinoa sweat or something instead of salad oil.

Don’t think I’m exaggerating the amount of R&D effort that’s led us here.  I believe we’re now on Version 8 of the recipe.  Each time a slight ratio adjustment gets phoned in to us, I can’t imagine how it could possibly taste any more like Larry’s original.

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But it does.

So without further ado, I give you

 

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The ingredients may look straight forward and for those that didn’t grow up with the real thing, you’ll enjoy the dressing with whatever you have laying around. However, I’ve discovered not just any old brand of Oil and Vinegar will do. I’ve tried. For true authenticity, you need a hookup from T-County to visit the local market that carries these specific labels, plus their signature pepperoni.

Perhaps a Blog Giveaway is in order?

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Ingredients

  • Iceberg Lettuce – Half Head (Resist the Kale)
  • Balbo Salad Oil – 1/3 Cup (Resist the EVOO)
  • Muro Wine Vinegar – 1/8 Cup
  • Garlic Powder – 3/4 Tablespoon
  • Accent – 1/2 Tablespoon (Resist not wanting to eat straight MSG)
  • Table Salt – 1/2 Teaspoon (Resist weird large pink salt rocks we have)
  • Brown Sugar – Dash
  • Colby Cheese – Handful, Freshly Shredded
  • Miceli’s Pepperoni Stick – Handful, Freshly Sliced
  • Green Olives – Handful
  • Black Olive – One

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  • Toss lettuce, liquids, and powders in a large bowl
  • Sing something vibrantly in Italian
  • Plate
  • Sprinkle on cheese, pepperoni, and olives
  • Tell anatomically impossible joke
  • Serve

Magnifico!

To complete the experience, here is a family friendly peek inside Larry’s kitchen… and life. Below is the most amazing thing I’ve ever found on YouTube.  This was filmed for the local cable access station, I’m guessing sometime in the 1980s.

–Mike

P.S. – Read this to see how Joanna adapted this recipe into the most delicious burger I’ve ever eaten.

Hubby's Favorite Garlic Salad Burger

Question of the Day: Do you have certain foods or tastes that instantly bring back your childhood?

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57 Comments

  1. Well done son! A fitting tribute to an Italian gentleman. We could all learn something from his generosity and work ethic. He was a singer, philosopher, comedian, dancer, and chef. No one went away from his kitchen hungry – whether a person could afford to pay him or not. He filled your stomach and soul and is sadly missed.

  2. Oh Larry D. I had some interesting evenings at his restaurant. One night he serenaded us, danced with us (complete with dips), and did a marionette show. I likely won’t try the dressing because it would just be nostalgia but fun walk down memory lane. Thanks.
    Michelle Smiles recently posted…Anyone have a paper bag I can breath into?My Profile

    • That sounds about right. I don’t think I ever had a boring meal at Dinolfo’s. There was a stretch in college where Rosie enjoyed sitting on my lap every time I went in.

      I can hear The Black Crowes on the old jukebox now…

  3. Lisa Eschbacher

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. As a former T-county resident I miss the food. Yes I live in a “big city” with lots of great restaurants but sometimes I need T-County food. So where in T-County do I find the salad oil and vinegar for the recipe? Also what is accent? I do cook but don’t know what that is. So glad I found this blog. Looking forward to reading it.

  4. Lorrie McCauley Patterson Wheeler

    My first date with the man who was to become my son’s father and my first husband Jerry Patterson, was at this iconic restaurant. It became one of my favorite places to share with others and of course, the pizza and salads were fantastic!

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  6. Heather @ What Does She Do All Day?

    I think we still have version 3. I will update my oil stained piece of paper accordingly.

  7. This recipe is very close, but unfortunately you can not reproduce environment. Larry did not measure anything, ever. Each salad was unique, & finished to taste. I cook professionally, & assure you that 100 people making the same recipe will all come out slightly different. Additionally, what may be a perfect reproduction to you, will be slightly off to others. This is very helpful to many, but Larry will always be one of a kind.

    • 100% agreed Nick. No recreation will ever be a perfect match. For many reasons.
      Husband recently posted…Larry Dinolfo Tribute Garlic Salad DressingMy Profile

    • Nick, You hit it right on the head. I spent many days and nights with Larry from the time I was 16 and worked for him waiting tables to the days before he passed. Never a dull moment and the recipes always changed but with the same results! I can duplicate them, but my B.S. is different and my love for the spotlight is different. L.D. was truley one of a kind and I miss those times terribly!

  8. Rosa’s granulated garlic. Not garlic powder.

    …and yes, “Awful Dinolfo” never measured a thing!!!

  9. I knew this “recipe” would create lots of local comments. Of course Larry never measured anything, but I had all of his moves down perfectly with his gallon bottles of oil and wine vinegar – so, I recreated his three splashes of oil to two splashes of wine vinegar by using a funnel placed into a measuring cup. That’s where the liquid measurements came from. The dressing, of course, became more potent the later it was in the evening as his mixing bowl “aged”. The powder mixture is open to everyone’s interpretation since at least three local restaurants are making “Larry’s” salad. Rosie once told me she used a 50/50 mixture of garlic powder (or granulated garlic) to MSG (accent). I’ve cut the MSG back from that scarey ratio. Some people prefer a bit more wine vinegar than I have listed as well as a bit more garlic. This recipe is a good starting point for everyone to adjust to their own taste. My main reason for such careful measurements is that I seemed to have made the kitchen too messy when I just slopped everything together, or at least someone in the house thought so 🙂

    • See? There were funnels involved. I told you a lot of Research & Development went into this.

    • Father-in-law – I like your statement here. Well done. I got to know Larry from my freshman year in high school. He was a wonderful man and truly unforgettable. Thanks to you and your family for the recipe and memories.

  10. YUMMM…..now if only someone could really get the pizza recipe dished out correctly!

    Lard? Deep fried? Oh so good, such great memories!

  11. Jessanas Pizza on Ray Ave NW in New Philly has a house salad that tastes just like Dinolfo’s salad, and it is HUGE… Yummy!

  12. In January of 1964, at the age of seventeen, (Brad was a little loose about serving my friends and I) I was busted in a state liquor raid in Dinolfo’s. The result was Dinolfo’s being shut down for six weeks. Larry was gracious about it, though he busted my younger brother’s chops for years after that. Like the rest of y’all I loved the pies, salads, Brad, Johnny Ruzin, and the incomparable Larry.

  13. if you would like the real deal you need to go to Maggoo’s pizza posta More in New Phila they have it down pat
    from the salad to the pizza calvin was best friends larry as close or better then the real deal.

  14. In 1984 I walked into Dinolfo’s with an attractive woman that was not my wife, but somebody’s. To my shock Larry came into the dining room to serenade her…us. I never saw him do that before. That was the last time I saw Larry.

  15. Oddly, the receptionist where I work and I were talking about this today. My great-grandmother made “apples”. These were just done on the stove top with sugar and cinnamon but I have yet to meet any that taste like hers. Also, my grandmother made potato salad (mustard-y, obnoxiously mustardy). I have never found a mustard potato salad I like more than I liked hers. My other grandmother makes a pretty mean potato salad but the base is more mayonnaise then mustard.
    Susan recently posted…A better placeMy Profile

    • Yeah, I think exactly recreating any recipe that’s etched into our palette is impossible. It’s impossible to add in the environment and company, which has to affect the taste.

      You have a recipe posted for these potato salads? 🙂

  16. Husband…friend. The next time I’m in Tusc. County we should get stupid on Broad Street. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my dear friend, Ernest “Butch” Cato, who grew up on Broad St. According to what I can find out, Butch passed in March of 2010. Butch was my first close black friend. He once put stitches in my mouth when I missed a tackle on the practice field at Dover Stadium. I think that was 1962. uncleray@clear.net

  17. Potato salad. Now that’s a question. My grandmother, Clara Mae Varner did this:

    Cube up some ‘taters and boil ’em. Cool ’em off.
    Chop a hard boiled egg, or two and throw it in the ‘taters
    Mix them with some Miracle Whip (not mayo) and yellow mustard.
    Throw in some salt, pepper, and dried dill.
    Let ’em stand…and, that’s about it.

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  19. I can’t resist one more Dinolfo reference. Back in the ’70’s some high rollers came to Dover to pick up a friend on their way to Florida for some sport fishing. These guys ended up at Dinolfo’s for pies and beers. Johnny Ruzin (an infamous “wino” and character) came in and entertained them with his patented dancing and patter for change and cigarettes. They threw some cash on the table and left. Ruzin disappeared. A couple weeks later Larry got a post card from Florida that said “Heading for Cuba – J. R.”. The story goes that Ruzin was never seen again. For you young bloods, Ruzin may not be someone you knew. Trust me…he was a fixture at Dyna-Flow’s in the ’50’s and ’60’s. Legend?

    • Hey, up ‘ere Ray kid,

      You and I hung out up ‘ere bout the same time @ Dyna-flows in the 60’s. Remember Johnny and his handkerchief dance very well. Never heard that story about Johnny going to Florida, then maybe Cuber. Thanks for that, old buddy! Everybody’s Talkin’ At Me….

  20. So sad that I have none of these ingredients to what makes what would likely be (I am quite positive) my favorite dressing of all time. I would say a blog giveaway might be in order, but then if I win, and I make the dressing and I IS my favorite, then when I run out what would I do? Might be better to just dream of it….hmmmm can’t decide.
    Cinnamon @ eatpraytri recently posted…Seattle by photo (days 2-5)My Profile

  21. Pat – Yeah. Dem were the good old days. A few years ago I was in Rosie’s (in the old Espenshied Restaurant on Front St.). And, there on the wall was a picture of Ruzin. I bet that’s a rare photo.

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  23. My Grandfather and uncles made that viniger with his name on the label at a building on 39 th street and 9 th ave in Borough Park Brooklyn ny. Sold the name and product about twenty years ago.

  24. Larry was my uncle. My heart aches a little eveytime I think about the fact that he is gone. I can remember when we visited Dover from NJ, I was around 9, and Larry had me sing and dance to the Beetles ‘I saw her standing there’ on the jukebox in front of the customers. He was a real showman. We would always hang in the kitchen and get the lastest on Larry’s views on the world, along with many off color jokes. I remember Grandma Dinolfo in her wheelchair running the place along with…BoBo, Aunt Clara, Rosie, Johnny Ruzin and Larry singing Ole Lonesome Me, on one knee. Special place in heaven for people like Uncle Larry!

    • Quentin Singleton

      Great cousin where is Larry buried

      • Great cousin (Laurie Daniels (DeNoi))

        Im not sure. Quite a few are buried in the cemetery on the corner of slingluff and walnut so that is where I would start. I just asked my dad and he’s trying to remember. Good question and I will get back to ya about it when we figure it out now that were thinkin about it. Also my dad (Bruce Daniels) says your last name is very familiar to him but hes not sure why.

      • I believe it was Larry’s wishes to be cremated.

  25. I am Dinolfos great cousin and I really enjoyed all the positive and loving remarks made. I have been thinking back to family stories a lot lately and this was also nice to add. I love the video. Thank you for making the page!! its very special.

  26. Quentin Singleton

    I’ll never forget my family was eating @ Larry’s & he gave me a tostie roll. Nice man good pizza % salads.

  27. As Larry’s niece I spent plenty of time in the kitchen throughout the years eating olives and testing salad. Magoos does have good food but not an exact replica. And it’s not just a colby cheddar that he used on his salads and pizza’s. It’s amazing how many restaurants in this small area are trying to recreate his recipe and a few have came close , but not quite.

  28. I grew up in Dover and spent many years going to “Larry’s”. Back when Brad worked there, when Larry would serenade all of the women, when Steve Trustdorf worked there and then of course Rosie. No one will ever be as great a man as Larry Dinolfo. He was so kind and absolutely loved people and cooking for them. He is greatly missed. I wonder if he is makings pizzas up in Heaven. Love you Larry and thanks for being such an awesome man!!!

  29. I spent many, many nights with friends at Dinolfo’s back in the 60’s and early 70’s. When my mother would come into my bedroom to wake me for school, she’d say, “Whew, you were at Dinolfo’s again last night, weren’t you?” (rolling eyes). She always knew because my entire bedroom smelled of the garlic salad dressing. I would often stand in the doorway of the kitchen and Larry would sing to me while Brad floated in and out. Such nice memories. LOVED it there.

  30. This was the Best place ever, would stop here on our way to my in-laws cottage. Great memories going for pizza And Great salads. Thanks Larry…we Love You!

    • We have been going to Maggoos it is so close to Larry’s it’s bring so meney good times we had at Larry’s we are so glad they are around

  31. Jack J. Sweitzer

    My older brother took me to Dinolfo’s when I was 8 years old, he became a friend from then on. When I was older I’d ride my bike down to the restaurant and hang out, sometimes he’d send me to Buehlers grocery store to get different things, one day it was hot dogs-he rolled them up with his special dough he made pizza with added some sliced onions and a drip of sauce, put them in the oven until they were golden brown, yum, the best hot dogs I’ve ever had. So many stories, I waited tables the summer Brad left, I was a college student then, quite an experience…the time I enjoyed most was when the business closed and we’d go into the TV room and watch TV until 3 A.M. BS for hours..I loved the guy for who he was and the bottom line was he had a heart of gold. Nice to see you honoring him, I enjoyed the comments.. Oh, one other thing, he’d always send me back to College with 30 pizza shells, I shared a few, but hoarded most of them for myself..I’m 64 now and I will always hold a place in my heart for him. If he isn’t in heaven, the place is empty, hope we meet again.

  32. Bruce Vansickle

    Wow, really great reading all the ‘old ‘ stories of “Larry’s.” My best friend, Dave Sisson, and I would frequent the kitchen to place our order, then get a table. During my career as a Naval Officer, I was stationed in the State of Washington at the time and couldn’t travel with my family for a visit to New Phila. Dave went into the kitchen, explained the situation to Larry. When my family returned home to Oak Harbor, Wa., my wife, Liz, had the entire ingredients for three ‘pies!’ Larry was a fantastic man. Here’s an ingredient tip. He used Yaggi’s cheese. Also,no one could play the spoons like Larry. Is the house still standing? According to Larry’s wishes it was to be torn down.

  33. Believe or not the house is still standing and nobody knows the truth about any of the Dinolfo history, but me. But Larry’s ashes were cremated and the girlfriend has then unless she threw in the sea like Larry requested. As far as the recipes they are going to his grave !!!!!!!!!!!!!