Inside Enrico’s New York Style Pizzeria on Plantation Key, owner Larry Calvano carefully sprinkles the cheese and toppings before opening the oven to place his masterful creation in. Pizza’s not only a way of life for the third-generation pizzaiola. It’s a proud passion.
The popular New York-style pizza that many have come to enjoy inside Enrico’s at Key Largo’s Big Chill has now made its way to Islamorada at MM 88.7, bayside. And with its delicious pizza choices come famous garlic rolls, pasta favorites, sandwiches and more.
The pizzeria, which opened its doors in September, is named after Calvano’s father, Enrico, who was a pizza maker in New York City. His wife, Laura, and he opened their first pizza restaurant in the early ‘60s. After many successful years, the family moved to Florida with their three children.
In 1972, they moved to Fort Lauderdale, and Enrico’s New York-style pizza was introduced.
“I’ve been making pizzas since I was a kid,” Calvano said as he sits for a brief break during a busy Friday afternoon. “It’s been my love. I grew up in the pizzeria. It’s where I did my homework. It’s where I spent my time after school. “
In 2010, Enrico’s pizza was introduced to locals and visitors inside Jimmy Johnson’s Big Chill at MM 104, bayside. Calvano, who owns and operates the famous restaurant, said the pizza created quite the buzz among the seafood town.
“Once we started pizza, that truly opened the restaurant up to everybody,” he said. “People who wouldn’t normally come to The Chill came. Visitors who would stop by came back again and again. It allowed for a nice family experience.”
And a family experience it continues to be for Calvano and his new pizzeria in Islamorada. Inside, the music mixed with pictures on the wall of family, and the likes of Sylvester Stallone as Rocky, emits nostalgia. Behind the clear glass, patrons get to see Calvano and his pizza makers do what they do best.
“My father said you never hide the pizza guy unless there’s something to hide,” he said. “I like to stand there and watch their first bites. I like to see them rocking out to the music. I love this stuff.”
All cuisine on the menu is made with the freshest ingredients. From the san marzano tomatoes to the parmesano cheese and fresh basil, Calvano said, it’s all high quality, yet simple.
“It’s true, fresh Italian ingredients made with a lot of passion and a lot of love,” he said.
Stopping in for lunch and dinner, patrons can start off with Enrico’s famous homemade garlic rolls. When they reach the table, Calvano will urge you to eat them hot and fresh out of the oven.
Another notable appetizer is the mouth-melting, homemade mozzarella. It’s creamy on the inside and crunchy on the outside. It’s laid over with spicy marinara and topped with fresh basil and shredded Parmesan.
Among the entrees is the lasagna, which is made with imported pasta and layered with Enrico’s homemade meat sauce, grated Parmesan, Romano cheeses and seasoned ricotta. There’s also the shrimp and lobster a la vodka that’s made with fresh Florida lobster and jumbo shrimp.
Hot sandwiches include chicken parm, steak and cheese and the Italian style tuna salad, to name a few. Salads, cold sandwiches and calzones are also available.
Last but not least, Enrico’s traditional pizza consists of 100 percent grande mozzarella, Italian tomatoes, Parmesan and Romano cheese, olive oil and basil. With all sorts of toppings, patrons can specialize their pizza to their liking.
Patrons can also order specialty pies like the meatball & ricotta, eggplant a la laura or “The Italian Fisherman,” which is made of lobster meat, clams, shrimp and crab meat. There’s also “The Boss,” made with pepperoni, sausage, meatball, onion, mushrooms,sweet pepper medley and extra cheese.
Top off the dining experience with Enrico’s zeppole, or the “Italian doughnut.” It’s homemade dough lightly fried and topped with powdered sugar and served with chocolate and caramel dipping sauce and whipped cream.
When stopping into Enrico’s Pizzeria, expect a true, family friendly, Italian experience.
“You come here with your family, you’re singing the songs, eating good food and reminiscing of the good old times,” he said. “I want people to come in and have that pizzeria experience. The whole thing is to Enrico and Laura.”
Enrico’s Pizzeria is open Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Enrico’s also delivers. For more information, visit enricospizza.com or call 305-852-2200.