OGDEN — The unpretentiousness of La Ferrovia Ristorante fits in perfectly on Ogden’s Historic 25th Street.
No worries about ambience, aura or atmosphere. Just dig in for an array of southern Italian cooking that’s been keeping Junction City diners satisfied for 31 years.
The extensive menu leads off with two cannellone dishes, followed by a variety of chicken, beef, seafood and pork selections and a constellation of pastas featuring house red and white sauces.
“It’s not a fancy place, it’s not eclectic,” said Jeff Ashbridge, who owns and operates La Ferrovia with his wife, Giuseppina. “We’re not anything we’re not.”
There’s pizza, of course, plus eggplant parmigiana and the pleasingly devoured spaghetti with Napoletano-style meatballs or mild Italian sausages.
“We’re just a little family joint,” Ashbridge said. “It’s old-school homemade stuff.”
The Napoletano calzone is packed with Italian sausage, salami, pepperoni and a variety of cheeses. Spinach and seafood offerings round out the calzone section.
Giuseppina is from Naples, Italy. She does most of the cooking.
“No one leaves hungry,” Ashbridge said. “It’s an Italian kitchen with an Italian lady in the back. We have to stop her — that’s enough pasta on there.”
Plenty of choice in salads is there as well. The caprese features fresh sliced tomatoes and mozzarella, with black olives and freshly chopped basil, topped with olive oil and spices.
The lunch menu boasts meatball, sausage and breaded chicken sandwiches and a swath of entrees from the dinner menu. Children’s menu choices include spaghetti, penne pasta, pizza and a grilled cheese sandwich.
The wine menu is deep, and La Ferrovia caters to craft beer connoisseurs with 18 varieties of Utah-brewed beverages and 20 other beers from wider places.
Giuseppina feels at home in the kitchen, as if she were back home in Naples.
“It is challenging, but making it myself makes me happy and it’s worth it,” she said. “I enjoy cooking a lot.”
The couple arrived in Ogden because Giuseppina wanted to be near her sister. In 1988, the Ashbridges opened La Ferrovia in the restaurant space inside Union Station.
The restaurant moved to the 100 block of 25th Street two years later, staying there about five years, then landed in its current location at 234 25th.
They bought the 1890s building and brought it up to code. Over the years the building had been home to jewelry stores and a saloon, among others, Ashbridge said.
Historic 25th Street’s always getting better, he said, and so is Ogden.
Ashbridge said he’s a Navy brat from San Pedro, California.
“We raised our four kids here,” he said. “Ogden has been good for us.”
Business is better than ever as well, he said.
Busy Fridays and Saturdays are the norm. “Just insane,” Ashbridge said, especially when “dance kids, high school groups” and the occasional hockey team arrive.
“We’ve had people propose here, get married, have kids and come in with their kids for 30 years,” he said.