The Collegian
Friday, October 30, 2020

35

Total cumulative cases

5,873

Total COVID-19 tests

0.6%

Total positivity

8

Current cases

1.1%

Current monthly positivity rate

To dine or not to dine: Stuzzi Pizzeria

Take a turn off the busy and eclectic W. Cary Street in Carytown and you'll find Stuzzi Pizzeria nestled among a quieter neighborhood of bungalows. Even though I visited on a Sunday night, Stuzzi exuded a generally buzzing atmosphere of chaos that made dining there exciting and a little frustrating. The restaurant was clearly understaffed and the host left us waiting for a while as he and the bartender tried to sort out the delivery and carryout pizzas, so my friend and I decided to eat at the bar rather than wait for a table.

The space is both casual and modern with colorful blown-glass lamps hanging over the bar and ink drawings on the walls. Stuzzi features a wood-fueled pizza oven, which, according to the menu, was constructed using lava from Vesuvius of Naples, Italy. The oven also serves as the social centerpiece of the dining room, with a wrap-around bar for diners to eat and watch chefs toss pizza dough in the air.

The menu is both adventurous and classic with staples such as margherita pizza, and seasonal experiments such as pumpkin pizza. To start, I ordered a fennel, orange and pomegranate salad. Fennel is a crisp, white, mild-tasting vegetable, and in this salad it was shaved into ribbons and mixed with just a few pomegranate seeds and orange segments. I was surprised that there were some briny-tasting olives on the side of this dish, as they didn't mesh well with the other lighter and sweeter ingredients. For an entree my friend and I shared a roasted mushroom, sopressata salami, and arugula pizza. The unusual toppings on this pizza weren't disappointing, and somehow managed to escape the doughy center of the pizza, which wasn't completely cooked. This only succeeded in confirming the initial impression of hastiness that Stuzzi gives off.

The prices are moderate; appetizers are more expensive ranging from $6 to $8 a dish, but pizzas hover in a range between $11 and $13. They are about the same price as a Papa John's or Domino's pies, but with a lot more class, and you can pick from great toppings like artichoke, caramelized onions, prosciutto and goat cheese.

Maybe I caught Stuzzi on an off-night or maybe the restaurant is still adjusting to its new delivery option.

The food choice was impressive and though there's only so much a girl can eat, just from creeping on other diners in the room, I have a feeling a lot dishes are hits or misses.

Despite the frazzled employees, the atmosphere was as jazzy as the old Italian swing music and my friend and I couldn't help but shimmy just a little. It's a great place for a date, so if anyone's planning on asking me out anytime soon they should keep in mind that I wouldn't say no to a night at Stuzzi.

Contact reporter Caroline Croasdaile at caroline.croasdaile@richmond.edu.

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