Free Lance-Star Review
Restaurant review: La Delizia serves up a pretty pie
Posted: Thursday, April 16, 2015 12:00 am
BY KURT RABIN/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about how we need to step up and “save the deli.” First came the book by that title and now there’s a feature film, “Deli Man,” on the topic. But you never hear much about saving other kinds of places, like pizzerias, for instance. Probably because pizzerias are like The Little Restaurants That Could. In fact, if I were to open a restaurant, it would likely be a pizzeria. Pizza is the one thing that’s awfully hard to improve on, let alone replicate, in a home kitchen.
Even if there are neighborhood pizzerias on every corner, they never seem in any danger of disappearing. Do pizzerias ever fail? Except I’d have to put La Delizia, the new pizza-by-the-slice place in Massaponax that came highly recommended by a pair of readers, on the endangered list. It’s not because it’s not a good place for pizza. Au contraire. They serve very good pie. It’s just that it’s hidden away among many other eateries in Cosner’s Corner. You’ve really got to know exactly where the place is. It could hardly qualify for neighborhood status, either, unless you’re talking about that highly transient, fickle community known as consumers.
La Delizia is located in the space formerly home to Moe’s Southwest Grill, and you saw how well that burrito palace made out. In fact, the pizzeria’s interior color palette remains evocative of the American Southwest’s earth tones, except its walls now feature “wise guy” art, framed stills from “The Godfather” and “Goodfellas,” for example.
I visited on a weekday at 1 p.m. and was the only one in the place, which made La Delizia seem even more cavernous than it already is. However, it also gave me the chance to chat with its owner, Maurizio, who was helping to get my order out.
When we started talking, I finally understood why his pizzeria had been so highly praised. What a prince this guy is! We’re talking about a real quality guy. And what a success story he has to tell. Plus, he might just be the only guy I’ve ever met who can tell you the precise difference between a calzone and a stromboli, no easy task.
Maurizio started his pizza career at Ciro’s, an Italian restaurant in Centreville, as a dishwasher. He worked his way up to manager. On La Delizia’s Facebook page is an old newspaper advertisement from the early aughts, with Ciro’s thanking Maurizio for 10 years of service and for making around 600 pizza pies every Friday during that span. That works out to nearly a third of a million pies. He would go on to open his own pizzeria in Woodbridge, before eventually relocating to Fredericksburg.
By now Maurizio has undoubtedly left the million mark in his rearview, and is still going strong. This is a guy who is a sure hand, who can bake, for real. His pies all feature his nice, light, signature sweet crust. And he couldn’t be a more friendly or helpful soul. He’s someone who really cares about how you enjoy your meal.
Maurizio really took his time with my order, a slice of mushroom and sausage pie and an antipasto salad to dine in, and an Italian “hoagie” to go. He carefully packed that sandwich like he was sending a child off to summer camp, with vinegar and oil dressing in a separate cup, so the sub wouldn’t end up a soggy mess.
The antipasto salad included fresh mozzarella, a chiffonade of fresh basil, green and black olives, artichoke hearts and a house-made balsamic vinaigrette, plus some truly great dinner rolls he’d baked in-house. And it didn’t just taste great, it looked great, too—not just thrown together, or pre-made, like so many restaurant salads these days.
La Delizia’s offerings are priced like those of a carryout, but the quality is easily a step up from that, with some nice touches, like the dressing and dinner rolls. Plus there’s the nice presentation and obvious care that goes into everything that comes out of the kitchen.
Check out La Delizia. You’ll not only be saving a worthy pizzeria, you’ll be helping a restaurateur toward his second million.