1803 Pizza/Kitchen

Written by Scott Joseph on .

1803 exterior

As coincidence would have it, earlier this week I told you about a guest column I wrote for Orlando Date Night Guide listing many of the area's oldest restaurants. I also noted that I had written a similar article, in 2005, for the Orlando Sentinel. In neither article did I list O! Stromboli.

I mention that because at one time the owner of O! Stromboli advertised that it was the oldest Italian restaurant in town. That was in 2007, and during my 19 years at that point of reviewing restaurants, it had been Ciotti's, Sandroni's and Farinacci's. Also during that time, there were several Italian restaurants that had been operating longer. When I asked the owner about it, he said that there had been an Italian market or restaurant at that address since the 1940s, albeit under different owners. Not exactly truth in that particular advertising.

The address in question is 1803 Winter Park Road, Orlando. The address lends its name to the new tenant, 1803 Pizza/Kitchen. It's Italian, so by some people's standards it's the oldest one in Orlando even though it opened just last week.

Pizzeria Roberti

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Roberti pies

Every day, Pizzeria Roberti, a new pie monger in East Orlando, features a specialty pizza. You might find braised short rib, Buffalo chicken or even foie gras pizza on offer.

Or a relatively mundane pizza bianca, as was the case when I visited. Oh well, luck of the draw, I suppose.

And the bianca was fine, just nothing out of the ordinary. The crust was New York-style thin and nicely done, and the toppings -- all white, because bianca -- were applied neither too amply nor stingily.

The Pie

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Thepie top

The Pie is the simplistic name for a new pizza joint in College Park. But the pizza here is different from your average pie.

It’s pizza al taglio (say TAH-lee-oh), which, according to a large sign on the wall inside the restaurant, is “Italian for pizza by the slice or ‘by the cut.’” The word taglio translates to shear, so sort of a cut.

It’s also made in rectangular pans and sold by the slice. This is a common type of pizza that you’d find in Rome and is sometimes sold by weight.

Luckily that’s not the case with The Pie because given the toppings that were on the slice I had I would have paid extra euros.

Ragazzi's Still Cranking Out Good Pies

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Ragazzi pie

College Park is certainly becoming a regular Pie Town, isn’t it?

That’s pie as in pizza pie. From Tornatore’s Pizzeria to the Armando’s to the newly opened The Pie, Edgewater Drive is vying for the designation as the city’s Pizza Row.

So it made me wonder how one of the longer pizza mongers and flog friend Ragazzi’s was doing these days, especially since it recently changed ownership.

Lazy Moon Downtown

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Lazy Moon tables

I don’t know, I sorta miss the grunge of the original Lazy Moon.

I don’t mean the one at 11551 University Blvd., which would qualify as the first Lazy Moon when considering the second one opened recently on Colonial Drive in the Mills 50 district.

I’m referring to the one that preceded it. The original Moon was in the more than slightly rundown strip center on the corner of University Boulevard and Alafaya Trail, just across the street from the UCF campus. It had a real College Town pizza joint feel to it, a lived-in look with decals that had been slapped on the hoods over the stoves and an ordering system that involved sliding tickets to the cooks on a wire strung the length of the place.

Pizza Bruno

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Pizza Bruno pie

Finally stopped by Pizza Bruno, a new ‘zeria in the Conway area on Curry Ford Road. Stopping by isn’t  easy to do since the restaurant is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, open only for dinner on weekdays and the small parking lot fills up quickly. Oh, and it doesn’t have a phone. Or website.

That hasn’t kept it from being crowded to overflowing, because advance word is that a good pie shop has finally moved into the area.

That’s true, though I’m sure it isn’t much comfort to the people who ran Soprano’s Ristorante-Pizza in the same spot before closing earlier this year.

Paradiso Pizza

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Paradiso Pizza

I have a favorite little pizza joint — well, it used to be a favorite — in New York that was always a go-to for quick slice. It’s Joe’s Pizza on Carmine Street, between Bleecker Street and 6th Avenue. I felt smug that I had found it years before Jon Stewart did his now-famous pizza rant after watching video of Donald Trump take Sarah Palin out for some authentic New York pizza at the generally reviled Famous Famiglia Pizza. (Although it seems like it could be ripped from today’s headlines, the Daily Show segment, which included both polibrities eating their slices with a knife and fork, aired in June 2011.)

Anyway, the quality at Joe’s has waned a bit in the past few years. It’s still OK after a long walk down lower Broadway and a jaunt across Bleecker from the East Village, but it’s missing something.

I was reminded of the Joe’s Pizza of old after stopping in at Paradiso Pizzeria’s new restaurant on Semoran Boulevard in Orlando in a just-constructed strip of businesses. The slice of pie that I had there was as good as Joe’s.

Antonella's Pizzeria

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Antonella pie

It’s still a nice pie, Frank. Pretty good calzone, too.

Frank is also known as Francesco Paradiso and he is the pizzaiolo at Antonella’s Pizzeria, which opened recently on Fairbanks Avenue in Winter Park. The pie shop is named for his wife, and the two of them are partnered in the venture with Antonella’s brother, Leonardo LaCommare.

If the LaCommare name is familiar to you it’s probably because you knew Stefano’s Trattoria in Winter Springs when the brother and sister’s parents, Stefano and Marie, were the owners. The older LaCommare’s sold the restaurant, including the name, and so the younger family members, who all had worked at the popular trattoria for many years, decided to get their own place.

But they didn’t want a large full-service restaurant. A pizzeria that focuses more on takeout and delivery seemed manageable, so that is what Antonella’s is.

Unfortunately — for me, anyway — the delivery area only extends in a five-mile radius from the restaurant, so I made my own pizza runs to try out the pies.


Written by Scott Joseph on .


Saturday was a great night to be in downtown Orlando.

I was there as the co-emcee, along with Nancy Alvarez of WFTV, for Savor the Night, the kickoff to the Latin Food & Wine Festival sponsored by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando. It was held on the plaza in front of — and on the steps of — City Hall.

Across the street the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center was aglow as people streamed in to see Monty Python comedy legends John Cleese and Eric Idle.

A couple of blocks to the west, Orlando’s professional hockey team, the Solar Bears, was hitting the ice.

And up Orange Avenue, from Central Boulevard to Robinson Street, the first Creative City Project had artists of all stripes painting, drawing, performing — there were jazz musicians, classical quintets, country/western, the Orlando Ballet in full tutu attire — and perhaps thousands of people strolling in the gorgeous October weather and taking it all in.

I wandered around after my event and it occurred to me that with all that was going on Orlando is finally a big city.

So when I passed Gitto’s, a pizza joint on Orange Avenue, I did what I do when I’m in a big city: I stopped in to get a slice to walk around with. And I saw it as a good sign that there was a line. Turns out the line was mainly for people waiting to pay and not for those who had ordered their slices; not sure what the holdup was, but it took a long time to process through.

I ordered my basic sausage and my friend got pepperoni. They were pretty much interchangeable — neither had much flavor. The crust was the appropriate thinness, but it was dry and chewy. In other words, the pizza was a disappointment. And they were served with totally superfluous knotted rolls.

The price was certainly Big City: $4.50 each. That’s about what they charge the tourists in the blocks surrounding Times Square (New Yorkers know better than to get a slice from one of those pizza joints — and to pay that much).

We’re a big city now, too, so it’s time someone stepped up and started making a good pizza. That would be something to be proud of.

Gitto’sis at 120 S. Orange Ave., Orlando. It is open…well, the website doesn’t list any opening hours or days. And at this point, do you really care? If you do, you can call them at 407-203-8889.

Tartini Pizzeria & Spaghetteria Revisited

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Tartini arugula

It had been a while since I'd first visited Tartini, the very good "Pizzeria & Spaghetteria" on South Orange Avenue in Orlando, so I was happy to be invited back to see how things are going, and I'm happy to report they're going quite nicely.

And I can reaffirm that the pizzas coming out of the unique oven here are still some of the best pies in town. Well, the oven isn't unique anymore. And the town isn't confined to Orlando. That's because Tartini has opened a second location, at 625 Rock Ridge Blvd. in Apopka, and the new location has the same type of oven. What makes it unusual is that it has a turntable inside the brick oven. But the turntable doesn't just rotate, it also rises and falls, lifting the dough through the hot air. A pizza can cook fully in about 25 seconds.