Along with a great downtown district, Summit offer a plethora of restaurants, bakeries, and dessert shops that truly reach-out to their clientele.
Lucky for us, friends introduced us to a charming trattoria that really does all it can to encourage folks to come-right-back and enjoy all the dishes featured on their menu. The place: Pizza Vita on Union Place in Summit.
Entering Pizza Vita is like opening a box filled with surprises. Designed and decorated by Proprietor Ernesto Santorelli and Executive Chef Adele Dibasse, each table is covered in permanent-faced orange oilcloth with dark brown linen naplins, and interesting white dinnerware.
Facing his guests from the bustling open kitchen, Santorelli is not only busy rolling dough while gathering ingredients for other dishes, he’s shoving pizzas into a charming orange and white tiled oven, issuing orders to his other chefs, and chatting up his customers.
A most friendly guy, he and Executive Chef Adele and her husband Rocco Flores are totally focused on their menu.
“We worked hard to create a menu that folks will enjoy,” said Flores. “All our dishes are prepared with the finest ingredients. We’re also very excited about our Pizza Truck. We’ll be appearing at the Summit Farmer’s Market, and are definitely able to cater parties in your own home, or certainly your own back yard.”
It was the freshly prepared mozzarella cheese that called me back to Pizza Vita a second time in five short days. Located on the corner of Union Place in Summit, folks passing are accustomed to seeing the friendly Pizza guys stoking the roaring fire in their charming Pizza truck.
But it was their Bloomfield neighborhood that brought the partners together. Growing up and attending the same schools, family and friends gathered together in Naples, Italy where they were introduced to all of the secrets of fine Italian Cuisine. ‘We celebrate our heritage by concentrating on the best there is in Italian food,” said Chef Adele.
Believe it or not, it was Ernesto who introduced Executive Chef Adele DiBiase to Rocco, who bought his wife a restaurant for a wedding gift.
And now, the Executive Chef heads the kitchen at Pizza Vita. A genuine self-taught chef, she began cooking at the age of five. Crediting her Grandmother Delia Tucci for teaching her all about working around the kitchen. she is fully aware of her clientele, and know what they really like to eat.
“I believe I am an expert in the kitchen,” she said. “The reason our pizza is so delicious is we follow the exact recipes of our relatives in Naples. We import their special double-zero flour which I believe is flour in the purest form. We top our pizza with San Marzano tomatoes, and use only the finest ingredients. We prepare simple recipes. I always believe the more simple the ingredients, the better the taste.”
I love preparing my own fresh pasta, and all of our delicious pastries. I’m also a whiz at all kinds of sauces to pair with every dish.”
Walking into Pizza Vita is like walking into a charming trattoria located in your favorite neighborhood. While perusing the menu, order the D’Tavola or Antipasto for the table. Filled with cheese, meats, wood-fired vegetables, and flat bread, you’ll find, you really can’t stop tasting all of the delicious offerings on the platter. ($14).
Along with the D’Tavola, choose a Caprese salad with Burrato, wood fired peppers, tomato and basil, ($8); and an order of meatballs, which are three fire-baked meatballs, ($8), (Adele adds, "The staff prepare 20 pounds of meatballs every day.”)
Before you completely devour each dish, save room for an order of Baked Ziti, penne baked with crushed tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, ($14); or Casa Nonna with Cavatelli with crushed tomato sauce and ricotta cheese, ($14). Another favorite is Country Style featuring Cavatelli with sausage, artichokes and cherry tomatoes. For a different salad, try the Burrato with Arugula, burrata cheese, cherry tomatoes and balsamic vinagar, ($10).
For the Napoletana Pizze Rosse or “Red Sauce” pizza, Adele suggests, the Margherita, with crushed tomato, flor di latte, basil, ($13); Capricciosa, or crushed tomatoes, artichokes, flor di latte, mushrooms, ($14)).
Napoletana Pizze Bianco or white pizza, features Funghi, Mushroom ragu, black truffle spread, and mozzarella di bufala, ($14), or The Popeye, which has fontina cheese, and cherry tomatoes, ($14).
And now for dessert. If possible leave room for Adele’s Gelato. Prepared with rich vanilla cream, and her own chocolate shavings, ($6), another favorite is the chocolate zeppoli, with house-prepared caramel sauce, ($8), or blueberry or other seasonal fruit trosda, ($8). Of course Pizza Vita serves coffee tea, espresso and cappucino.
But that’s not all. If you are craving a meal in a full service restaurant the trio of owners invite you to visit Bona Vita Osteria, at 37 Maple Street in Summit. Yes, you are able to make reservations. Call: 908.277.1414,
For a weekday or evening, casual date, or just “let’s go to dinner anywhere in Summit,” be sure to try Pizza Vita. You’ll find it’s like walking into your “Home-away-from home!”
What: Pizza Vita, Neapolitan Pizzeria & Cucina, 7 Union Place, Summit
Hours: Closed Monday. Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Friday. Dinner: 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Friday. 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday. 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday.
FYI: BYOB. Casual dress. Metered street parking or public parking lot parking. Accepting reservations for 10 or more people. Call about off-premise catering, and ask about their Pizza Truck. It moves all over the State.
$$$$: Dinner for Two: $50 (excluding tax and gratuity)
Thanks to all who are contacting me with great suggestions for restaurants, cafes, bakeries, or specialty dining places. Thanks to all who are taking the time to simply contact me for a chat about a favorite restaurant or cafe or bakery.
Don’t forget that this is your column. Let me know what you’d like to see or visit.
Wishing each of you a great Third week in May.
All the best always,