The rustic atmosphere of Newtown's longstanding La Stalla Italian restaurant is apparent the moment one gazes upon its barn setting. Inside, wood beams and stone pillars set the tone for an evening in Tuscany.
Since 2001, La Stalla's family-style cuisine has been enhanced by its family-owned presence. Owner Marc Masso grew up in the restaurant business, working alongside his father, Vince Masso, himself a product of the family food business.
Entrees, salads and appetizers are designed for either one person or two. The only standard-sized items on the menu are the soups — a homemade chicken noodle and a Pasta Fagioli — and the handsome dessert collection.
"If you asked our regular diners, they would point you in the direction of penne vodka, chicken parmigiana, our homemade meatballs, cannoli and tiramisu," says La Stalla manager Mia Maddox of the restaurant’s most popular items. "To be honest, there isn’t a dish I wouldn’t recommend. But when you are looking for something outside of the classics, our maiale la stalla and pollo la stalla never disappoint."
In fact, the menu largely explains the restaurant's success. "The menu has stayed quite consistent, which has helped us maintain our loyal customer base,” Mia says, adding that small changes, for example, include the addition of gluten-free and vegan options, highlighted throughout. Additionally, she points out, “Yet, we’ve kept with the times and gotten creative through our nightly specials.”
Tables of large parties splitting several massive plates are commonplace at La Stalla. Out on the open-air back patio is a shaded area with fans, beyond which includes several smaller tables and a decorative water feature with rocks. Situated just beyond this, the rectangular pergola is the perfect setting for groups.
The outdoor dining area not only looks attractive, but it’s also provided the restaurant with great use. "The newly renovated pergola and outside bar offers an abundance of outdoor dining and high-top seating in addition to the bar seating available,” says Mia.
A draw of the bar, she adds, is its special "five at five" happy hour featuring select $5 drinks from 5-6:30 p.m.
With its rustic, welcoming indoor-and-outdoor Italy-meets-Bucks County setting, it's no surprise La Stalla often hosts special events of all kinds, including birthday parties, graduations, communions, bar/bat mitzvahs, weddings, bridal events and baby showers. "The rustic feel to the restaurant makes it easy to dress up or keep classic," explains Mia. "We are able to accommodate a wide range of private events ranging from a small gathering of 14 in our private wine room up to full restaurant buyouts."
In addition to private events, the restaurant hosts its own special events including the rose dinner and bourbon dinner, which offer four to five courses, alcohol pairings and, at times, live music. Says Mia, "Our beverage manager, Jessica Cassidy, does an amazing job planning our special events based upon the season.” Next on deck? “We will be updating our drink list and hosting a beer dinner in the fall,” she says.
On and off-premises catering for pickup or delivery is also available, with most regular menu items offered. Additionally, the manager says, La Stalla’s nearby Italian market specializes in catering and offers many items that can be added to any event. "We work hand-in-hand with each event to customize menu, bar options and event design," Mia explains.
This may be why, over the past two decades, La Stalla has become associated with being an ideal Bucks County venue for large gatherings of good food, good drinks and good company. "We pride ourselves on family-style dining, which gives your guests the feeling of having a home-cooked meal served to them without any cleanup,” says Mia. “Guests leave our restaurant as they would leave your house: full and happy."
"We pride ourselves on family-style dining, which gives your guests the feeling of having a home-cooked meal served to them without any cleanup. Guests leave our restaurant as they would leave your house: full and happy."