Newark Restaurants Serve Handmade Pasta, Pastries and Tortillas

By Carol Cowan on April 28, 2011 at 7:12 pm EST


You won’t find anyone counting carbs or banishing breads at these Licking County restaurants. That’s and La Paloma Mexican Restaurants make their dough by making dough.

From fluffy dinner rolls and flaky, home-baked pies to fresh, made-from-scratch pasta to hearty tortillas and authentic sopapillas, these flour-based foods garner rave reviews from customers who keep coming back for more.

Riley’s Bakery, at 19 W. Church St. in Newark, is the third-oldest business in town, and after 83 years still makes all its bread, rolls, pies, cakes, cookies and ever-popular doughnuts from scratch, with no preservatives. Riley’s also caters and bakes custom-decorated wedding and special-occasion cakes.

Passed down from the founding Mr. Riley to his sons, the bakery finally passed out of the Riley family into the ownership of Aileen Hudnall 11 years ago. But new ownership didn’t bring any big changes.

“I’ve been here 52 years,” Hudnall says. “I started working here when I was 22 years old – I’m 74 now. I guess I’m the only one who knew enough to take over when Mr. Riley retired. But he still comes in and bosses me like he used to,” she laughs.

Meanwhile, over at Adornetto’s Italian Restaurant, owner Mike Sarap and staff crank out some 200 pounds of homemade spaghetti every week. Sarap says the process is time-consuming, but he believes in serving fresh, authentic cuisine made from the best semolina and durum flours, eggs, olive oil and salt. He even imported his pasta machine from Italy.

“We also sell a ton of pizza,” Sarap adds. “Our dough is made from scratch fresh every day. If we don’t use it that day, we throw it away.”

And speaking of dough, Adornetto’s raises a bunch for local schools.

“We do fundraisers almost every Tuesday. We have raised more than $50,000 in the last four years,” Sarap says. “We are grateful we can give back to the community.”

In addition, Adornetto’s makes its own sauces and hand-rolls about 1,500 made-from-scratch meatballs every week. And a single order of lasagna, one of Adornetto’s top sellers, is enough for a couple of meals, Sarap says.

When La Paloma Restaurant founders Gabriel and Marcia Buena came to Licking County in 1975, they brought their old family recipes with them. Today, their children and grand­children carry on their legacy, operating La Paloma restaurants in Newark, Heath and Mount Vernon – all still serving delicious, authentic Mexican food.

“The family recipes have been handed down for gen­erations,” says Cheryl Leach, manager of the La Paloma store in Heath. “Everything is made fresh daily, from scratch. Our sopapillas are our main seller.”

The iconic La Paloma sopapilla is made from a special-recipe dough, rolled out, wrapped around a filling – such as beef and cheese, beans and cheese, chicken or veggies – and then deep fried.

Marcia Buena created the special dough to resist oil absorption, Leach says. “You get a nice, flaky crust without the grease.”

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