The Crimson White

Little Italy not gourmet, but good

Pizza will always be on the menu for college students. Tribune News Service

Matt Lund

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What a load of crap. These people must have never eaten a decent slice of pie, because anyone who describes the blissful marriage of marinara, mozzarella and crust as anything less than delicious just might be crazy. That’s not delicious as in the overused, scatter-shot way we refer to fast food lunches, dried out hamburgers at a barbecue or your significant other’s cooking, but truly delicious, defined as the ethereal transportation of your mind, body and soul to all the days before your 10th birthday, when you would see that too-tired-to-cook look in your parent’s eyes and simply utter the magic words, “Can we have pizza tonight?”

There’s generally a lot of complaining around town about all sorts of inadequacies concerning specific cuisines. The most unforgivable is pizza. There are plenty of hole-in-the-wall joints for almost any cuisine you could want in town, but I get it. They’re hard to find, you’re lazy and it’s just more fun to complain. But fellow lovers of the ‘za, rejoice. There are plenty of places in town to get a good pie: Broadway Pizzeria, DePalma’s, Bob’s Victory Grille and even Tut’s Mediterranean churn out quality products. But today we’re going to focus on my personal favorite: a shining gem hidden right under your nose.

Little Italy is one of those places that just exudes “college.” Located right in the center of the Strip next to Moe’s Southwest Grill, this little restaurant makes affordable, no-frills Italian classics all day and night. They’re open for lunch and dinner daily, and the ovens run late every day except Sunday, making it a great place to stop by after all the “studying” you’ve been doing past midnight. Everything is served on a paper plate, but don’t let the bare bones atmosphere get you jaded. It’s fair to say nothing about Little Italy could be considered gourmet, but that’s what makes the place so good.

They serve every classic you can imagine: calzones, meatball heroes, chicken parmesan, lasagna and of course pizza. You can’t go wrong when ordering, since everything on the menu is a different incarnation of the same recipe. Quality meat, quality cheese, fresh vegetables, crust or pasta are all served in skyscraper proportions with a side of parmesan and hot pepper.

“The freshness of our food is the difference in the taste,” owner George Matta said. “Everything from the pizza dough to the marinara sauce is prepared here in the kitchen.” Yet, I digress. Back to the pizza.

Obviously ordering pizza is more of a personal preference thing, but there are a few pro tips to be considered:

There are two crust options offered, Neapolitan and Sicilian. The Neapolitan is a thinner, crispier, more classic New York-style slice. The Sicilian is a titanic mountain of dough with just the right amount of crisp. Both are highly recommended.

Experiment with your sauce: marinara, pesto, alfredo – go wild.

All toppings are good, but for anyone who has appreciation for real Italian sausage (with fennel and hot pepper), Little Italy knows what’s up. Sliced long-ways and heaped upon any slice you ask for, the sausage is great.

$1.50 Yuengling drafts. All day, every day.

Need I say more?

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Little Italy not gourmet, but good