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Dinner by the Brick Oven

Bertucci's brings international flavor to it's customers that won it the 2010 Southington Chamber of Commerce "Best Pizza" award.

It’s not the prices that bring people back to and with 20 Italian restaurants in a five-mile radius it’s not a lack of options that is attracting customers either.

The winner of the Southington Chamber of Commerce’s “Best Pizza” award has instead earned a reputation for providing the highest quality foods and a friendly staff, bringing customers back time and again said Don Spohrer, general manager for the Queen Street restaurant.

“We can’t compete on price, but what may cost just a little extra we make up for in value,” Spohrer said. “Our foods are not only fresh, but we spend the extra to import the best ingredients available. We use Romano cheese imported from Italy and each table has Mediterranean Sea Salt, for example.”

Located less than a quarter mile from exit 32 off of Interstate 84, Bertucci’s is one of the first restaurants people see when they exit the highway and head northbound. With a full dining room and Italian setting, the restaurant will celebrate 10 years in the Southington community this May.

Spohrer and Jake Allan, a two-year employee, said the orders vary but the pizza remains a top seller.

The types of pizzas that are most popular are not the basic pepperoni or extra cheese you may order at your neighborhood pizza spot, however. Instead the restaurant’s brick oven pizzas provide a simple but original flavor for customers, Allan said.

“One of our most popular is the Parma, which is made with a rosemary ham, zucchini, balsamic nectar and sautéed red onions,” Allan said. “One of the ways we succeed is by always looking for new ideas and maintaining the quality of the ingredients we use helps put us a step above.”

The menu extends far beyond pizza, however, with a variety of artisan dishes and brick oven specialties like the Tuscan Vegetable Torta or Seafood di Mare. If you ask customers, they will all give you a different favorite dish.

Regular customers Blaze Zajaczkowski and Whitney Poyajian said people would be happy with almost any dish they ordered, but it’s the simple quality and service that keeps them coming back.

“I just love the bread and oil. It’s the simple things they have here and it’s the way they listen to what you want and make it the way you want it,” Poyajian said. Spohrer said if customers want a certain flavor, they only need to ask and the staff will make it to taste.

It doesn’t hurt that the wait staff is friendly and checks on customers often either, Zajaczkowski said.

When things get busy, the staff isn’t afraid to step up and help either, as evidenced in their service Wednesday when customers filled several booths despite the weather. With a skeleton crew on hand, Allan stepped up to take on the challenges of running the brick oven.

In the front of the restaurant, Spohrer put aside his manager title Wednesday with the short staff and was bussing tables to make sure no one had to wait for good service.

As the restaurant continues to evolve and provide new dishes for the local community, there is one guarantee: Bertucci’s will be here for a long time.

“We are committed to this community,” he said. “We are involved in the chamber and work with civic groups throughout the area. Bertucci’s will be here for years to come.”

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