Hours before the pizzeria is scheduled to open, Joe Miceli is inside, mixing the dough; flour, water, yeast, eggs – “They make if fluffy, tasty.” He’s also working on the cannoli cream, his Sicilian grandfather’s secret 100-year-old recipe. (It is luscious!) While waiting for the dough to rise, he busies himself with the soup, made fresh and from scratch everyday (chicken noodle today; nothing better!) and the chicken roasting bound to be Buffaloed for his signature Buffalo Chicken Pizza; a bestseller.
Miceli and his sister Danielle Butzgy won the 17-month-old restaurant in Oakdale. With catering, free delivery (whoa!) great hours for takeout and an at once traditional and homey menu, the eatery is “Doing well.’
“We’re really holding our own, even in this economy,” he said Wednesday morning as he stirred steamy soup and flipped savory-smelling chicken. “Everything is fresh. Nothing is frozen except for the French fires,” he laughs. “No seriously. It’s all fresh.”
Miceli grew up in a kitchen. He comes from a family of Connecticut restaurateurs; a large Italian family that emigrated from Italy, Sicily to be precise two generations ago. Miceli grew up in Waterford and after a stint in the military, he followed his sister to Montville, bought a house “100 feet from here” and decided t hat cooking, Italian food, kitchens was “just in my blood” so the idea of opening a pizzeria was a no-brainer. But nonetheless a gamble in a tough economy. But he and his sister made some decisions early on to make it not just about the awesome, reasonably priced food but make it customer friendly, hence the free delivery.
“That’s big and it helps people so much so we decided we’d make it happen,” he said. And they deliver food to area businesses – Rock Tenn and Rand Whitney are customers – and they cater, to boot.
Go to Pa’s. Joe’s an awesome guy, the vibe is cool, the food is fresh and authentic and he’ll deliver if you’re too popped to drive over!
Postscript: Before a reporter left the store, too early for pizza, she grabbed a freshly made cannoli for her daughter. The cannoli never made it home! Delicious! Heaven!