Scalia's Pizzeria coming to South Main Street
WILMINGTON — A spot historically known for hosting pizzerias is once again home to the doughy stuff.
Scalia's Pizzeria will also be a home away from home for Sherry and Frank Cotrona, a Connecticut couple with long-time connections to the area who own the building and run the business.
"We're excited," Frank said. "We can't wait."
The owners of Pizzapalooza and Beer Naked Brewery, now located on Route 9 in Marlboro, previously rented the South Main Street property that Scalia's now occupies. Giuseppe's and Apres Vous also served pizza there before them.
The Cotronas recently closed Mangia e Beve, an Italian restaurant on West Main Street in Wilmington, and put the space up for sale. But that wasn't part of the plan. "We were trying to keep both open with the same manager that is running Scalia's for us," Sherry said. "We realized we had to shut it down."
Sherry said the manager from Mangia e Beve decided to move back to Connecticut after traveling back and forth to to be with his family. She worried the restaurant would suffer if a manager tried to run both establishments.
"It had such a wonderful reputation," she said. "I didn't want it to have a bad one."
Some of the menu items from Mangia e Beve will be brought over to Scalia's. And most of the staff — about nine employees — will work at the new restaurant.
Salads, specialty brick-oven pizzas and a couple dinner entrees will be served as will lemon garlic rosemary or garlic Parmesan wings. Customers can grab paninis only at lunch time.
After about 10 months of renovations, Scalia's is set to open Dec. 15. A couple soft openings are also planned.
"We completely gutted it, down to the walls," Sherry said. "This was a huge undertaking."
Electrical and plumbing systems saw upgrades. New windows were installed.
Customers will be able to see their pizzas getting made.
"People like to watch," Sherry said. "It draws your attention. It was important that that was visibly seen."
Sherry knows the name may prompt some to think of the late Justice Antonin Scalia or the actor Jack Scalia from "All My Children." But it's her maiden name.
Family also provides inspiration in the kitchen.
"I learned to cook from my grandmother," Sherry said. "I'm not a baker. I'm a cooker. Baking is too much science. Cooking, you just kind of do. It's funny because it's hard for me to teach the kitchen my recipes."
She pointed to her head, "They're up there."
Sherry had to bring her own pot to show staff how many ingredients are needed for certain dishes.
"They're learning how to work with me," she said. "But they've been good. It's a love of cooking that I think I've had since forever. You watch your grandmother and you just learned."
Sherry said her recipes will make up 90 percent of the menu. She called the chef's chicken rustica "amazing."
The hope is to draw more locals than Mangia e Beve did. The couple is going for a more "casual" feel.
"I don't want someone to walk in here and think they don't belong here," said Sherry.
The plan is to have dueling pianos in January and February every Saturday from 9 p.m. to midnight for a 21-and-older crowd. A website is now being developed.
Sherry believes Scalia's will be open six days a week, although the schedule is not yet set in stone. She expects the pizzeria could slow down during mud season like other businesses in the Deerfield Valley.
The couple is "really invested" in downtown Wilmington, Frank said.
"Who knows what's next?" he said. "We would like to see the town prosper."
Shelly recalled the destruction waged downtown by Tropical Storm Irene in 2014. "That was just terrible," she said.
The couple found local business owners to be supportive and nice.
"We have great neighbors," said Frank, who's a developer currently building townhouses at Powderhorn near Haystack Mountain.
He also constructed real estate on Coldbrook Crossing and McGovern Lot Lane.
"We do live in Connecticut but we come up here a lot," Sherry said. "We've been coming up here a long time."
Frank and Sherry met on a blind date and have been married for 27 years. They have been visiting the Deerfield Valley for 30 years.
Incurable Romantic on West Main Street is Sherry's favorite store.
"I can't believe it's still here," she said. "It's been here forever."
Reach staff writer Chris Mays at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.
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