Not much has changed in the way that Rocco Giugliano, owner of Capri Pizza & Grill in Northfield, approaches his style of crafting pizza and other Italian specialties from the way they used to do it back in Naples, Italy. The old ways are often the best ways.
Giugliano’s cooking is steeped in years of tradition, and so is his business acumen. Not many restaurants last for 40 years — the only reason Capri Pizza in the Shore Mall went out of business is because they decided to knock the building down. So the the Capri Pizza owner found another location less than a mile away on Tilton Road in Northfield and, within a few months, opened a new restaurant that feels like it has been in place forever. Or at the very least, with 40 years of tradition under its belt.
The move to Terra Mar Plaza put Giugliano smack in the middle of four or five other pizza restaurants in the area, but Giugliano thinks the move was a good thing.
Many of his regulars from the mall happily make the short trip down Tilton Road to eat his food. Still more former customers who stopped supporting the mall businesses have returned to the fold.
“I think I do have the best pizza and some of the best Italian food in the area,” Giugliano says.
New trends haven’t affected Giugliano’s take on pizza. He prefers to stick with his original stone ovens.
“Coal-fired pizza doesn’t bother me,” Giugliano says. “I came out of Naples, Italy, and the southern kitchens. I grew up with it, doing it since I was 18.”
Giugliano makes something called the grandma pizza ($15), similar to the pies he grew up with — the kind they made at home.
“You get the tomatoes and squash them then saute with olive oil, a little salt, pepper, basil and you cook it together, one shot,” Giugliano says.
Buffalo mozzarella is strewn across the top.
“That’s your original pizza that they used to make years ago,” Giugliano says.
Other pizzas offered include the toppings that all Americans are familiar with, including all of the classics, such as pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms and green peppers. Nontraditional pies such as Hawaiian pizza ($18) made with ham, pineapple and hot sauce are also available, along with a Buffalo chicken pizza ($16) with fresh grilled chicken, mozzarella cheese and buffalo sauce.
White pizzas include a broccoli and tomato; spinach and tomato; or a spinach and mushroom, $15 each.
Giugliano is already at work on a new pizza for his next menu, made with homemade pesto sauce, ricotta, and sweet peppers.
Capri offers a calzone ($7.95) made with ham, ricotta and mozzarella; a fresh grilled chicken calzone ($7.95) with mozzarella, blue cheese and Buffalo sauce; a cheesesteak calzone ($7.95); or a pepperoni stromboli ($4.50).
“The original calzone was always made with ricotta cheese,” Giugliano says.
Appetizer choices include buffalo wings (six for $5.95) served with blue cheese; homemade mozzarella sticks ($5.50); and chicken fingers ($5.50) with french fries. Giugliano recommends his fried calamari ($7.95) and his calamari paisano ($8.95), which is made with fried calamari, tomato sauce, and cherry peppers.
Salads include a grilled chicken Caesar ($8.50) with croutons; an antipasto ($8.50) that offers Genoa salami, capicola, provolone cheese and roasted peppers; a calamari salad ($9.50) with Greek olives, celery and a lemon dressing; and a grilled salmon salad ($9.50) with portabello mushrooms. All dressings are made from scratch.
Homemade soups change on a regular basis.
“I do a nice lentil with spice and sausage, a pasta e fagioli, and a chicken vegetable,” Giugliano says. “I move my food fresh, every day,” Giugliano says.
Pasta sauces at Capri feature all homemade sauces, such as a classic filetto di pomodora, marinara and putanesca. With a choice of spaghetti or rigatoni, your pasta can also be sauced with a simple garlic and oil ($7.50) or paired with a meat sauce ($7.50). Gnocchi is served with pesto, sorrentino, alfredo, or meat sauce ($9.95).
Sandwiches run the gamut from Italian favorites such as meatball, sausage, or chicken parmigiana ($7.50 each) to local specialties including cheesesteaks ($7.50) and pizza steaks ($7.50) to the ever-popular wraps served on a soft, whole wheat tortilla shell.
Capri has two lunch specials and two dinner specials daily. They also offer family-style dinners to go that include enough chicken parmigiana and pasta for two ($16.95) or four ($30.95). Chicken marsala, Francaise, or cacciatore for two ($20.95) or four ($36.95) is also available with a choice of spaghetti or rigatoni pasta.
Always keeping up with the times, Giugliano has a video of himself making a pizza on his website.