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Casa DiLeo

/ Updated on November 6, 2015
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 I believe there are as many varieties of pizza on this planet as there are variations on any other regional dishes like BBQ, fried chicken, etc. Owner and executive chef Johnny DiLeo calls his pizza “New York.” Having chewed my way through all five New York boroughs, I must concur–kind of. Even given the differences among NY style pizzas themselves, Johnny’s pizza is within (what I consider to be) the two key NY pizza technical specifications:

1. It is thin. New York pizza has a thin, pliable dough and a yeasty, chewy crust. A little corn meal or semolina sprinkled on before baking also doesn’t hurt in the texture/mouth-feel dept. (The legally sanctioned way to consume a slice of authentic NY pizza is to fold it over onto itself (kind of like a taco) and eat it from the pointy end.)

2. It should always be ordered “well done.” I’ve never met a piece of lightly browned cheese I didn’t like. It also imparts a golden crackle to the outside of the crust while adding an extra crisp to the meat toppings.

Unless you’re inclined to take a last-minute trek up the Jersey Turnpike to John’s  Brick Oven Pizzeria (no relation to Chef DiLeo) at 44th and 8th in midtown Manhattan, DiLeo’s will often fill the bill–if you are looking for New York style pies.

It’s not just about pizza at DiLeo’s. They stick to the Italian standards like chicken parmesan. The breast is thin and lightly breaded, with a firm coating stands up to the cheese and sauce. Ditto for the parms using veal or eggplant. All the standbys are there, including chicken or veal marsala, fettucine alfredo, ravioli, shells, gnocchi and lasagne. The lasagne is a must-get at DiLeo’s. A proper lasagne should be firm; standing proudly erect in a tall, stratified square or rectangle –not topple onto itself because of too much sauce or because it was overly hot when it was cut. I usually get it crowned with their meaty Bolognese sauce. Be sure to sprinkle on a little grated parmesan.

The last time we went (there were 4 of us), even the specials stayed within the “neighborhood Italian” genre. The Lobster Fra Diablo (notice their own spelling) was loaded with shellfish in a spicy marinara. DiLeo’s offers an interesting variety of pasta sauces, including a white clam sauce, a red clam sauce and an oil & garlic sauce (aglio e olio, a countrified cucina rustica-style preparation). One side  you have to try (they offer it as an app) is their garlicky and cheesy broccoli rabe. Add sausage and it’s almost a meal. Last night the specials menu featured two “Oscar”-style preparations, one with Filet Mignon and the other with Cappelini (angel hair pasta). Sundried tomatoes added a nice texture to this traditional asparagus-based dish. I didn’t try them, but I did take a stroll around the place to look at everybody else’s food (nope, doesn’t bother me a bit…). Have you had any of the specials? If so, please add your comments below (unless I beat you to it).

UPDATE! Tonight we had the “Old Forge” pizza. This is a rectangular pizza with a thick crust. The “red” has a normal crust that is crispy, with sauce and cheese on the top. The “white” is a “double,” meaning there is a crust on the top and the bottom (like the “stuffed” pizza you see on TV). Both are topped with roasted onion straws…just enough to taste. These pizzas are extremely filling. The “small” is quite enough for two, especially if you start with a salad. Don’t plan on eating again for about a week.

Casa DiLeo is located at 721 Rehoboth Ave., in the last strip center at the west end of Rehoboth Ave. just before it joins Rt. 1. The restaurant also has a busy lunch, with fair prices (the $2.50 single slice is as big as a small pizza elsewhere). Sandwiches, salads, calzones and strombolis are served in all the traditional variations, plus a few unusual ones featuring chicken and Italian cold cuts.

Know that this is a “neighborhood” Italian joint and neighborhood bar serving very basic food for a fair price. They’re open every day until 1 a.m., but it never hurts to call and check. They also have a busy carryout business, and, in my experience so far, they’ll always tell you if it’s going to take a while. Click here for the dinner menu. And click here for the lunch menu. They also have live entertainment. (302-226-8660) (L., D., Bar) Price range: Moderate -.

Off-season Specials & Hours

Specials & Moods change quickly. Always call a restaurant first.

pp = per person.
BOGO = buy one, get one.
Bloody = bloody mary.
domestics = American-made beers (e.g., Bud).
imports = foreign beers (e.g., Heineken).
Rails = non call-brand alcohol.
Prix Fixe = one set price.
Mains = entrees.
Margs = margaritas.
Chix = chicken.
AYCE = all you can eat.
Lite = Miller Lite
drafts = draught beer.
Early Birds = arrive before a certain time.
Apps = Appetizers.
bottles = beer in a bottle.
à la carte = order off the menu (no prix fixe).
crafts = micro/artisanal brews (e.g., Old Leghumper Lager)

721 Rehoboth Ave.
(302) 226-8660

Sunday
NFL ticket w/half price pizza, $5 Apps, 50 cent wings and beer and drink specials.
Monday
Closed 'til 2017
Tuesday
Closed 'til 2017
Wednesday
Under new management! Open at 4.
Thursday
Under new management! Open at 4.
Friday
Under new management! Open at 4.
Saturday
Under new management! Open at 4.
The Rehoboth Foodie

About the Author

"My goal is to promote Rehoboth Beach dining while remaining honest and impartial. I don’t gush unless a place deserves it, and I don’t pull punches, either. With so many good places to eat around here, it just doesn’t make sense to waste the calories — or the money — on anything less." View all articles written by The Rehoboth Foodie

Add Your Comment
  1. ken Miller says:

    We have eaten here for years and loved it. Tonight it was awful. New recipes on the old classics like stuffed shells and eggplant parm. Service was also terrible. Sat for half an hour before asking to see our waitress. Dining room had only 4 other tables of people at the time. Terrible experience.

  2. June says:

    Love this place. They have the best Italian food in Rehoboth. The Margarita pizza is one of many yummy things they have fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and Johnnys own homemade mozzarella. This pizza is sooooo good a must try.

  3. Tressa Strudwick says:

    Whoever did the review update on this restaurant had dead taste buds.
    Being my boyfriends birthday I asked people at Fins Restaurant a Goid italian restaurant to take Craig. Louie CK/Tim recommend we eat at Casa Dileo’s. So we WALKED from Fins to eat this great Italian food. As we walked along I kept saying this had better be a good restaurant for this walk!
    We ordered Calamari for the appetizer . When the appetizer came out the calamari was dark, oily and very unappetizing to look at. Thrown on a plate with no concern about falling off of plate. When I bit into the food it tasted like burnt undercooked fish that had been saturated in 3 day old grease . I’ve never turned away from eating calamari . It was horrible. But scaring being hungry ate what he could.
    My salad which I ordered with their “Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing” came out on a saucer plate with the salad barely fitting on the plate. I couldn’t cut my salad as there was no room to put knife without salad falling off plate. So I dipped fsalad into dressing cup. If there was any blue cheese in the dressing they could have fooled me. I tasted a cream dressing with no flavor. My sig other got a oily ceasar salad dressing . They had been surprised when we asked for creamy Ceasar salad dressing.
    It only got worse as the hour progressed ! Craig ordered lasagna . When his plate arrived it looked like s burned box that someone had placed on plate with tomato sauce.. I asked him what was on the back of lasagna . It was a dark brown and looked like card board. He turned plate around and it was burnt cheese that had hardened. The lasagna was dry, hard and tasted like it had been sitting around kitchen a couple of days before they served. It was old, not fresh . I ordered chicken in a white wine sauce . The menu said it came with pasta and chefs suggestion . I asked waitress what the chefs suggestion was with my meal? She said the angel hair pasta. I said no, it says that there is something that chefs suggest with pasta. No, he suggests angel hair pasta that’s all it means. No arguing as things had been so bad.
    When my plates were put in front of me I saw right away the chicken didn’t look right. I took a bite of partially cooked chicken in a bitter sauce I gagged on. The angle hair pasta had the sMe sauce on it. I tried it as I love pasta. But even that made me want to spit the food out.
    When the waitress came by asking if we liked everything I said “no”. She didn’t expect to hear me say that passing the table and stopped. “You don’t like the chicken or pasta ?”, “No, it’s horrible .” She asked if I wanted something else and I told her no. Leaving the plate she told me she asked me if I wanted to talk to manager or chef? I asked her what that would do to make the food better? She didn’t have any response. My dog other didn’t say anything about his lasagna . I didn’t oersue as I was warn out from us talking about how horrible food was.
    Being hungry still I ordered dessert as no one can mess up on a cannoli ! There was a plain and chocolate cannoli. I specifically asked for plain not wanting chocolate in the filling.
    The waitress brings out dessert with choclate chips covering the ends of the dessert. I said to her that I didn’t want choclate . She took the dessert to the back snd came back stating the chips were the only choclate and inside was just the crem filling. I opened the cannoli and it was a chocolate color cream inside that I showed her . She agreed and went and asked on back. She stated the chef said it was not chocolate but plain. Well I didn’t eat the so called plain cannoli due to the no chocolate through out the cream.
    I was told the manager was going to credit our bill. She had mentioned .25$ but wasn’t sure what she meant. When I had gotten the bill the manager had credited my bill .25 cents. My chicken and dessert were still on the bill. The waitress stated the manager gave us a complimentary .25 cents off the bill! We were drained from trying to deal with the hell we’d been put through!
    It wasn’t the waitress fault I know. I left paying the bill and tipping her 20% . As we were walking back to 2nd street we vowed not to go where others in the review said it was horrible. Stick to the known places on town . Maybe with the horrible food this is why the restaurant is on the outskirts of town.

  4. Lynn Lynn says:

    What happened to Casa DiLeo’s pizza? Years ago it was the closest to NY pizza but now it’s terrible. We recently ordered a cheese pizza from their north location and even our 6 year old granddaughter who loves her school pizza told us it was “gross” and we had to agree. The dough was totally different and it was difficult to find the cheese as well as being tasteless. Do you have a recommendation for a good New York or New Haven style pizza?

  5. Frank says:

    My wife and I had dinner at Casa Dileo Saturday night (5/3/2014) and it was good. The service was very good. If your looking for good not fancy food I would recommend this place.

  6. denis oconnor says:

    Ordered pizza and calamari at Casa DI Leo North on Friday, August 2nd.

    The pizza was way overcooked and tasted like eating cardboard.

    The calamari was better but the portion size was disappointing based on the $$$ value.

    Both the plain pizza ($15) and calamari ($11) were way overpriced for the area. In Lewes, Villa Sorrento and Annabella’s are far better choices than Casa DiLeo. The same order of pizza and calamari at Annabella’s is far superior in quality and the cost is $9 cheaper! Needless to say, I will be taking my business elsewhere.

  7. Dale E. Smith says:

    Do not try the Lewes Casa Di Leos for at least another month. Their $15.00 one topping medium pizza was horrible. The counter help was constantly bickering about procedures and personalities. Front counter presentation was awful – day old looking pizza on display and a used WaWa coffee cup in the soda fridge. In dire need of training, supervision and upgrading of skills. I hope they can rebound.

  8. Robosox says:

    Also frequent here but last week ordered our usual Steak Stromboli & pepperoni pizza.
    Stromboli was Italian, not Steak and was about half the size it has been.
    Pizza was extremely greasy.
    Something has changed here and not for the good. May give them the Summer to work it out.

  9. Kona says:

    Was disappointed. Went with a local at supper for Monday special. My pizza was a micro waved slice left over from lunch! Bad news. Won’t go back

  10. fightingbluehen says:

    Nice little Italian bar/restaurant. I eat there like three or four times a year. Seems like every time I return, I recognize a new bartender just hired from another restaurant. I usually am eating solo at the bar so I tend to notice the bar tenders.
    Any way ,salads are fresh, and it’s nice basic Italian food and appetizers. The veal marsala paired with the house red is usually my stand by.

  11. Brian Wagner says:

    Hi John it has been a long time. Had a salad and pizza
    in ur place last year and it was wonderful Sevice was great the pizza great. But tonight a nightmare thr service what can I say IT WAS BAD!!!!!! Sonny was are waiter totally messed up the order John I understand help is an isuse. What we got was Ok but not what I and my guest expected. May we will try you again or maybe not. Sorry just thought should know Thanks

  12. Tamara says:

    Twice and the food was great, best salads in town, had the chance to try the appetizer of the day which was Brie so delicious, and chicken parm lots of food and our waitress Pam the best server I would go back again.,

  13. Kris says:

    Casa di Leo has been disappointing at best the last two visits. we sent the pizza back because it not even resemble the former one one our last visit. We have made our last visit there, I am sorry to say. The former quality of food and service do not seem to be there.

  14. Meyer J Persow says:

    Casa DiLeo has the best pizza in town, IMO. And we always get our special made perfectly. Staff is friendly and they know how to take care of the locals.

  15. Kevin Bliss says:

    We ate there this evening on the strength of the review and comments. We enjoyed it. We had the Calamari starter. It was excellent but an expensive appetizer at $12. For the main course I had the Diablo Pizza and my partner the Meatballs, which he thought was outstanding. I liked the Diablo but would try another pizza next time. This one was not special. I’d would add the Caesar Salad was very good. All in all we were pleased.

  16. Steve says:

    went back again yesterday. short and sweet– service excellent, salad fresh and crisp and in 50+ years of pizza eating, the best I have ever had including New York.

  17. Steve says:

    Well, against my better judgement, and really as a testament to the lack of godd italian food down here, my wife and I tried again on Sunday. She is quite particular, and loved the meatballs. Only the 2nd time in over 20 years she has approved of a meatball. My lasagna was outstanding. Service by a very friendly waitress was excellent. The salad was a bit nondescript although the dressings wer excellent. We had to order garlic bread in order to have bread with outr meal, I might suggest a dollar more per entree and a good quality italian bread–but that’s just me. The canolli was excellent, and I might just go back for the coffee. All in all a good experience. Glad we gave them a second chance.

  18. Steve says:

    My wife and I were going to go there Sunday–we were reallt craving some good Italian (which seems difficult to find) so we headed over to Casa DiLeo. We’ll neve know. We walked in and three employees standing at the bar said nothing. We walked over to the dining room where tables were being set and nobody said anything. We sat sown at a booth in the bar and s waitress told us someone would be with us shortly. Oh by the way the place was empty–i booth occupied and 2 people at the bar. Another customer came in to get 2 sloces of pizzza. Was seated by a staff member,given a menu, and asked if he would like something to drink while he waited for his carryout order. Two more people came in, were taken to the dining room, given menus and had their drink orders. We still had seen no one, had no menus, and no drink orders. We waited another 5 minutes and finally left. I guess I’ll jnever know if the food would have been any good,because the service was so horrific.

  19. Bill says:

    We’ve eaten there many times and I can only remember one dish that wasn’t wonderful. I believe it was lasagne and it had a very strong flavor of nutmeg, which I thought very odd. Otherwise, everything else has been excellent from the pizza served on a pedestal, to the various pastas and meats.

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