As the first week in the life of Michael’s Pizzeria comes to an end, Michael Masi, the man behind the business’ namesake, every once in a while interrupts our conversation to still inspect every delivery that comes through the door. To Michael, quality is important, be it with his five dealerships, his wholesale produce business, or a good plate of spaghetti.
“I own five dealerships. My two sons and daughter run the business but it’s gotten too fast for me now with the computers. I’m used to the old school. Being in produce before, I said I’ve got to do something,” Michael paused to review the latest package of pizza dough trays and then continued, “I wanted to go back to slowing down and serving up a good meal because who doesn’t like to eat good spaghetti? I had four other stores and I happened to see this in the newspaper.”
Michael referred to what used to be Villagio’s Pizzeria, a mainstay on the Westfield Avenue corridor. Its doors closed in June after almost two decades serving pizza and other Italian dishes when Tony, the owner, retired. The months of July and August were spent re-doing the interior with new ceilings, new floors, and new equipment. The pizzeria officially opened on August 20, 2012.
“We started out Monday and every day it’s grown,” Michael said with a proud smile, “And yesterday, it was unbelievably good.”
With chefs Javier and Robert, Michael’s Pizzeria serves up everything from pizza to appetizers to 3′ & 6′ subs to hot dinners. In their freezers are fresh Michael’s brand of eggplant rollettes, cheese ravioli, stuffed shells, tortellini, manicotti, rigatoni, cavatelli, and sauce if you want to take home to cook yourself or you can order a meal from their fresh selections of pastas. There are vegetables on-hand for their salads and subs. Entrees include calamari, spaghetti, lasagna, meatball parmigiana, ziti, and even cooked pizza bread. Their drink selections range from sodas to juice to slushies.
Robert came out with an order of mussels in marinara sauce – a seriously spicy dish that is nonetheless delicious – stating, “I make my own marinara sauce with plum tomatoes and I crush them all up. I don’t use the spaghetti sauce we use for dinner. I do everything from scratch.”
As we were finishing up, Javier brought out a fresh pie out of the oven that he just finished baking. One half was a grilled chicken, mozzarella, basil pizza slices and the other was a sausage, peppers & onions pizza.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be scheduled with Mayor Joseph Accardi in the near future but even with that, Michael wants to do things right, “I’ve got to get in touch with the accordionist so we can have some old-fashioned Italian music.”
Michael’s is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and they are currently offering $1 plain slices and $8 for a plain pie with delivery for an extra $2. They are located at 211 East Westfield Avenue and their phone number is (908) 445-8317.