Locally owned Mama Della’s N.Y. City Pizzeria on Jefferson is the real thing.
The chef and owner Barry Kalt of New York has brought a little bit of the Big Apple here, with his place offering pizza, calzones and hero sandwiches.
We chose two of the specialty pies and two of the hot hero sandwiches. All were good, with one in particular being a crowd pleaser.
That one would be the Emilia Romagna specialty pie ($15.95, 14-inch; $18.75, 16-inch).
The thin crust is topped with thin slices of mortadella cheese and large slices of delicious Genoa salami, along with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.
The combination of meats and cheese create a lot of wonderful flavor — but also a lot of moisture while cooking, which makes picking it up and biting into it effectively a bit of a challenge.
Use fork and knife? “Fuhgeddaboutit!” said the guest who ordered it. He chose the New York way of breaking the crust in the middle and folding the sides of the pizza slice together, before taking a bite. Works like a charm.
The “Grandma Pie” ($10.95, 14-inch; $11.50, 16-inch) chosen, I must admit, for its charming name, was a simple and basic thin-crust pizza, topped with mozzarella cheese and a plum marinara sauce.
By the way, in addition to the specialty pies, which seem to have a simple refinement about them, a diner can also order a cheese-and-tomato-sauce pizza and pile on as many toppings as they’d like — sausage, ham, beef, mushroom, etc. — for an extra charge.
A hot chicken parmagiana sandwich ($6.95) came highly recommended by the cashier, so one guest gave that a try.
The bread was soft and tasty and contained a generous amount of breaded chicken breast cutlet topped with melted parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
He thought the seasonings in the “Chef Leonardo’s” marina sauce could have been kicked up a notch.
The eggplant parmagiana sandwich ($6.75) arrived on a soft hoagie roll and was sliced in half for easier handling. The halves held layers of lightly breaded and fried eggplant slices covered with a zesty tomato sauce accented with basil, all topped with a generous amount of melted cheese. A flavorful and filling sandwich.
Other specialties at the restaurant are calzones, Italian roasted chicken wings, minestrone soup and salads.
Pasta dishes are available, too. They’re not on the menu posted up on the wall, but look for a little stand-up placard on the counter to find those.
We decided the food at this pizzeria is made with great ingredients and care. The menu is a little unusual, so you might want to study it for a bit, before making your choice.
One of our guests, who has been to the “Holy Grail” of New York-style pizza, Lombardi’s Pizza in Manhattan, which opened in 1905 as the city’s first pizzeria, rated Mama Della’s N.Y. City Pizzeria as offering authentic New York style pizzas “from the hand-tossed dough to the greasy goodness it contains.”