Family — and family recipes — make the difference at Bellissimo

For more than a decade, Bellissimo Pizza Café on Mooretown Road has been serving genuine New York-style pizza and Italian dishes to folks from across the Williamsburg area.

But the family has been cooking for hungry guests decades longer than that.

“It is our heritage,” Lucille Micali said. “In our family, we not only have a love of food, but a love for creating food. When we put a dish together in the back, it’s like we are cooking it for our own table, and I think that makes a difference.”

The pizzeria is owned and operated by Lucille and Peter Micali; their son, Peter, also helps run the business.

Bellissimo first opened its doors in 2007 in what is now the Victory Village shopping center across from Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center.

On the menu, of course, is pizza, which can be purchased by the slice or the pie. Diners can order traditional cheese pizza, or specialty pies such as the Bellissimo Classic topped with pepperoni, sausage, meatballs, mushrooms, olives, green peppers, and onions; the Bronx Bomber with meatballs, sausage, pepperoni, ham and bacon; the White Pizza featuring three cheeses, olive oil and fresh garlic; or the Sicilian, a traditional New York-style thick crust square pizza.

Bellissimo also serves salads, calzones, hot and cold heroes, pasta dishes including ravioli, rigatoni, and homemade manicotti, and eggplant, chicken or veal parmigiana. Guests can also indulge in Italian desserts such as tiramisu, New York cheesecake and cannoli.

Dishes are made from recipes handed down from Lucille Micali’s mother. Lucille Micali’s specialty is Bellissimo’s Eggplant Parmigiana.

“My mother was a really good cook and she taught me everything I know,” she said. “My grandmother also taught me how to make my own pasta and sauce when I was younger.”

Peter Micali, a native of Sicily, started working in the industry when he was 13. He bought his first business, an Italian specialty food shop, while he was in high school in the Bronx. He worked in several delis, restaurants and pizzerias in New York City for roughly 20 years before he and his wife relocated to Williamsburg in 2001 following the September 11 terrorist attacks. The couple owned a coffee and espresso bar in Hampton Roads before opening Bellissimo.

Bellissimo’s customers include locals as well as visitors from across Hampton Roads and Richmond who like to drop by to savor the taste of the pizza. The pizzeria’s walls are adorned with New York memorabilia shared by patrons, items such as sports jerseys and patches from military, police and fire departments.

“We have people who come to see us week after week,” said Lucille Micali. “We also have people who visit us from all five boroughs of New York, Long Island, and New Jersey year after year. It’s a lot of fun. There is some satisfaction you get when someone tells you that something that you made is delicious and incredible.”

Bellissimo Pizza Café

757-220-3371

6614-C Mooretown Road

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Copyright © 2019, Williamsburg Magazine
81°