Nonna Maria is becoming something of a rarity in the restaurant industry. No, pizzerias are not on a decline, they are everywhere. However, the passion to be the best, combined with desire to provide superior hospitality is not sought after like in years past. These two main ingredients for a great restaurant and Nonna Maria’s quaintness is a recipe for success.
Looking at the the Winn-Dixie plaza from the street you would not give a second thought that hidden in this busy plaza would be one of the best Pizzerias in the area. Once you see it, you will began to notice it’s authenticity as soon as you step to the front door. The logo on the door contains Nonna Maria herself, the grandmother to Marcello the owner of the pizzeria.
As you enter you are greeted with the smell of rich tomato sauce, garlic and freshly baked pizza. It is a small place with a few tables outside and maybe 12 tables on the inside. Traditional Italian decor are on the walls. The downside to the whole place is the dining room is long and narrow. There is plenty of space for the tables that exist, but it looks cramped. Not to worry though. The are expanding to another unit with a full size bar and a place to host parties. This will greatly increase the ambiance.
My time there I was greatly impressed. As i sat down I was greeted by Abby. She was the only server there at the time which made me a little cautious. She was impressive. Being the only server at lunch time, Abby met every task as a seasoned pro. She met my demands and was not put off when I announced I was there to review the restaurant. She made a fantastic experience from a hospitality end.
Soon after I was greeted by Marcello, the owner. We formed an instant bond. His excitement for his food was in line with the passion I share. We talked about his food over garlic knots and his future expansion that is under construction. He is successful because he loves what he does. That should be an example to all of us. I am sure we are on our way to forming a lasting friendship. It is speaking with folks like Marcello that ignite my love for food and the people who prepare it.
Now I am sure at this point you are wondering about the food. This is what it is all about, correct? It is fantastic. I had baked manicotti, garlic knots and a house salad. The pasta for the manicotti was home made. The sauce was really well balanced and some of the best tomato sauce I have had at any restaurant. The cheese was top quality. Rich, with the right about of salt and stringiness. All of this with great presentation, makes this dish a winner. Paired with delicious garlic knots made my experience an Italian heaven.
If you live in DeBary, FL or central Florida for that matter, Nonna Maria’s Pizzeria is a must. The people and food of this restaurant create a strong foundation for success for years to come. This is a place you must visit. Tell them that Patrick sent you and you will be treated as part of this wonderful family. I tip my hat to Marcello and all the family at Nonna Maria’s Pizzeria.,