Pizza Rita opens first brick-and-mortar location in Mattituck

Owner Jeffrey Marrone fires up the pizzeria’s the Stefano Ferrara Forni oven. (Credit: Erika Peters)

Mobile pizza truck company Pizza Rita opened the doors to its first brick-and-mortar location in Mattituck.

Since 2015, pizza lovers could only get Jeffrey Marrone’s Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizza through private catering events and Friday pizza night at Moustache Brewing Co. in Riverhead, out of his restored 1946 Chevrolet rack pick-up truck. Six months after signing the lease, on June 10, the Culinary Institute of America graduate welcomed fans into the friendly, family-oriented pizzeria he always wanted.

“When I went to culinary school, I fell in love with the art of making wood-fired pizza,” Marrone said. “That was my first taste and exposure to it, and from that day forward I knew I wanted to have a woodfire pizzeria. The truck was a way to get to this point.”

Guests can expect many of the same handmade pizzas available from the truck like traditional pizza margherita, as well as different takes like the Il Sole, made with ricotta crust and topped with pork sausage. Fried calzones, Italian entrees and homemade gelato will also be on the menu, which Marrone said he plans on getting creative with each week.

“Each week we’re kind of going to be changing up the menu,” he said. “Some weeks we’ll have fresh pasta on the menu, some weeks we’ll be offering a smaller pizza menu or a larger one. There’s going to be more variation and more flexibility.”

Other than the food made from scratch, another unique aspect to the eatery, located in the former Sicilian Pizza & Pasta next to Wendy’s Deli, is Marrone’s eye-catching imported wood-fired pizza oven. Marrone imported the Stefano Ferrara Forni oven from Italy and completed all the tile work himself with plates from the Riverhead Goodwill store, inspired by walls decorated with mosaic art at the Pompeii ruins.

“Some of them are Italian, some are French — I broke them and painstakingly put them on one at a time. I think it turned out pretty cool,” he said.

Marrone and his father, who run the store along with one other employee, also did much of the construction work and put up the wood retaining wall that now runs along the pizzeria.

“We do things the old way and the hard way, not the quick and easy way,” Marrone said.

The 30-year-old Orient resident said living on the North Fork inspired the soft yellow and blue colors of the pizzeria’s interior.

“I love the colors yellow and blue because of the [North Fork’s] ocean and the epic sunsets. Living out in Orient — going over the causeway to start and end your day — it’s kind of a magical place.”

Marrone plans to continue to use the truck at Friday pizza nights at Moustache Brewing Co. and is planning to return to Tuesday night pizza pop-ups at the Townsend Manor Inn in Greenport, starting June 25. The pizza truck can still also be booked for private events such as weddings or birthdays.

The pizzeria will be closed Mondays and Tuesdays, open noon to 9.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, and noon. to 10:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Pizza Rita is located at 55 Middle Road in Mattituck.