Some of the old-timers in the area may recall walking into what was then “The Mall” on Route 3 and the aroma of dough baking and melted mozzarella greeted your nostrils upon entering. Those smells were synonymous with “welcome back” and it was a hard task to walk past the Italian eatery without stopping for a slice of pizza. La Pizzeria—owned by Jose Vasquez who worked for the restaurant for 10 years before buying it in 1991—was forced out of the mall in 2007 because he was not a franchise or big chain.
In 2010 Vasquez opened La Pizzeria next to the mall, across from Costco in the little shopping strip. Some of his customers have followed him to the new location but Vasquez says a majority of them don’t even know he is there. Known for the stuffed Stromboli, cheesy calzones and hand-tossed pizza, the eatery has expanded the menu. Their pizza had always been very distinctive with the light crust and homemade marinara sauce. The fresh onion, green pepper, and tomato were just kissed by the heat of the oven and the cheese was keeping them in place on the pie he presented for this review. Unlike some pizza topping that are cooked to a soft stage, this slice made you feel like you were eating healthy with the crisp vegetables. I remember caving in and getting a slice of cheese pizza every time I shopped in the mall and sometimes the calzone. Ah, old times!
La Pizzeria has expanded beyond being a pizza joint, it is an Italian restaurant where the standard fare such as lasagna, ravioli, baked ziti, chicken masala, steak and cheese subs, spaghetti and chicken Parmesan can be found. Seafood dishes include seafood cannelloni (scallop, shrimp and crabmeat wrapped in sheets of pasta with a lobster Alfredo sauce) fried shrimp, shrimp Parmesan and linguini with white or red clam sauce. What was not expected was oysters Rockefeller on the appetizer list. The serving included five huge oysters in the shell, layered with ham slices and topped with a huge amount of creamy spinach. The oysters were large and plump, cooked just right and although this is not a seafood restaurant and fresh shucked bi-valves and fresh sautéed spinach are not expected, this version was pretty good and satisfying.
The awesome fettuccini Alfredo comes topped with shrimp or chicken, if desired. La Pizzeria kicks this dish out of the park and ranks this restaurant as a must for Alfredo connoisseurs. This comfort dish was freshly prepared with heavy cream, a little amount of real butter and Parmesan cheese. It hugged the al dente pasta verses coating it, and it never congealed or got gloopy instead there remained a delicious pool of yumminess to dunk every twirled forkful in before bite. The serving is large and rich so be prepared to take home leftovers for the next days lunch!
Another spot-on entrée is the eggplant rolatini, thinly sliced ripe eggplant rolled with mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese and then baked with Alfredo, marinara or meat sauce. This is one of those dishes where the eggplant acts like a pasta so non eggplant eaters would never know it and love it! Order this as a side dish to anything else on the menu, you will not be disappointed, Jose would make an Italian grandma’ proud.
When you stop by for some Italian food or some of that distinctive pizza you’ve been missing at La Pizzeria, tell Jose you read about his restaurant and his new location in the Fredericksburg Patch. La Pizzeria is located at 914 Bragg Rd., Fredericksburg in the Village Square Shopping Center.
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