Tony's Pizzeria Teatro 

With an overwhelming surplus of brick oven pizzas to choose from (17 varieties with 20 gourmet toppings to make your own) and five calzones as well, you could eat at Tony's every day and never grow tired of their fare. Tony's is also a place where you can have good ol' traditional Italian style'za, no barbeque chicken or soggy, greasy crusts; just crisp, light, traditional Italian goodness. Owner Tony Vuolo has modeled his place after his family's teatro in Naples, started in 1896 by his grandmother Rosa. His cousins still run the Italian teatro today, and you can taste Tony's dedication to his family's tradition and recipes in every bite.

From the moment I walked in the front door I felt relaxed, happy and ready to eat everything in sight. The aroma is intoxicating. The decor is bright and cheery and the whole place has the comfortable feel of being in the home of a good friend. Tony's is very small, but there's no boxed-in feeling, because the floor to ceiling windows face City Hall. With only seven tables inside, it could be problematic, but when we arrived during a Friday lunch hour, we were seated immediately.

The wait staff was super-friendly and smiling, A-pluses for them all around. Water glasses were faithfully tended, plates were cleared and replaced quickly with each course. They were knowledgeable of the menu and very helpful.

I indicated before that the menu was overwhelming. Frustrating might be a better word, because my friend and I were immediately frustrated that we couldn't camp out and try everything that day. We finally chose the Arrostiti Salad as an appetizer. It had roasted red and yellow peppers, big slabs of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and other various goodies over mixed greens. It also came with a plate of foccacia strips that were brushed with olive oil, garlic, rosemary and parmesan cheese that alone made the visit worth it. We ordered two pizzas, the "Dolce Vita" (a tasty little gem for $14.50 with sun dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, sauteed mushrooms, spinach and goat cheese). We also ordered the no-frills "Marinara," which usually comes without cheese, but you can request they add a bit of mozzarella. The Marinara ended up being the one we devoured. Woefully, we weren't able to try a calzone (next trip!) and we still ended up taking leftovers home.

Tony's has an amazing wine list with prices so low there's no excuse to not get a bottle or two when dining with friends (bottles range from $15-$41 with many choices in the lower range). Beer is $2.50 for domestics and $3 for imports and microbrews. Tony's is an absolute downtown gem. I can't wait to go back again.

--Rachel Abrahamson was discovered passed out on her kitchen floor with pizza sauce on her chin.

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