GLEN ROCK, NJ – With restaurant dining rooms closed as New Jersey continues its effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, a local pizzeria has added a twist to make take-out fun for families cooped up at home.
Since Wednesday, Francesca Brick Oven Pizza & Pasta, which has shops in Glen Rock and Elmwood Park, has been offering Pizza Kits, which contain all the ingredients you need to make a pie on your own.
Each $10 kit comes with dough for a large pizza, a cup of sauce and some mozzarella cheese, and is available for pick-up or delivery.
Salvatore Reina, one of the restaurant’s owners, said it’s been “a real hit so far” and provides “a fun cooking activity for families.”
Earlier this week, Reina said they saw social media posts of other Italian eateries offering pizza kits so they decided to try it out. Between both stores, Francesca has sold more than 75 kits on the first day, he said.
The restaurant is also encouraging customers to “Show us your pizza!” and post their pies using the hashtags #franpizzagr or #franpizzaep. Reina has also uploaded a video on the restaurant’s Facebook page featuring some advice, tips and other details for customers on how to cook the perfect pizza.
“It was really amazing to see the response,” Reina said, adding that he’s received more than two dozen pictures and videos of pies made using the kits.
Patrons are even putting their own spin on their pizzas, he said.
“Someone went for a penne vodka pizza!” Reina said.
Francesca Brick Oven Pizza & Pasta, which offers genuine wood-burning brick oven pizza, pasta and fresh salads made to order, was started by Salvatore and his brother Gino. They named their business in honor of their Sicilian grandmother, whose picture is hanging up inside.
Both takeout and delivery service continue to be available at both locations. And, starting Friday, curbside delivery will be available through the duration of the coronavirus crisis. Reina said restaurant staff is taking all necessary measures to make sure the shop is cleaned and sanitized and even going “above and beyond” what is being recommended.
“It’s been challenging, we had to make a bunch of adjustments, but we are doing our best and moving forward,” Reina said. “As you probably know right now we can only do pick up and delivery and I’m just glad we are still able to do that. A lot of my neighbors and people I know right on my block were forced to close their shops. So I can’t even complain right now. I’m just hoping for that this is the worst case right now for my business, and they don’t shut us down eventually.”
“That is the biggest thing on my mind and the one thing I do not want to do which is lay off anyone or cut anybody’s hours. Right now we haven’t got to that point and I’m doing everything possible not to. I will sacrifice my paycheck in a heartbeat to save my staffs’ hours and wages,” he said.
In addition to trying to get the word out about his restaurant being open for business, Reina said he’s also been sharing menus and offerings from other local eateries on his social media pages, too.
“It’s such a crazy time,” he said. “Trying to help in any way I can.”
Francesca Brick Oven Pizza Pasta is located at 234 Rock Road, Glen Rock and can be reached at 201-251-1199. Its Elmwood Park restaurant can be found at 246 Market Street and contacted at 201-791-4578.