Pizza plenty

Pizza plenty

Come down off the ledge, people—Anna’s Pizza Ristorante Italiano on Maury Avenue is not going anywhere! The family behind Anna’s is merely expanding to the mixed-used development planned for Old Trail Village in Crozet. Still, co-owner Marcella Kauffman (great-granddaughter of the Sicilian matriarch for whom the restaurant is named) says loyal customers have contacted the family in a panic, concerned that the 32-year-old original Charlottesville eatery would be closing. But no worries—Kauffman’s aunt and uncle (Marta and Mario Grado) are staying back to man the Maury Avenue location, while Kauffman, her sister, Silvana Liguria, and her mother, Maria Buzzetta, manage the outpost. The menu at the new place will be pretty much the same homemade pizzas, subs and specialty pastas that have made Anna’s a favorite among locals, particularly the UVA crowd headed to Scott Stadium just a short walk away. And consistency itself is one of Anna’s signatures.

“UVA alumni come back all the time with their own kids and are excited to see the place hasn’t changed. They always comment on the wallpaper,” says Kauffman.

Extra topping: Maria Buzzetta and her daughters, Marcella Kauffman and Silvana Liguria (left to right) are extending the Charlottesville tradition of Anna’s Pizza to Crozet.

The wallpaper is worthy of comment. It’s white with a black velvet damask design and looks amazingly clean for its 32 years of existence in a pizza parlor. Unfortunately, the Crozet Anna’s won’t have the same wall covering, but it will have similar artwork: family photos and scenes of Carini, Sicily, from where Buzzetta and her parents emigrated, before starting Anna’s in 1976.

Regarding the decision to locate in Old Trail, Kauffman says, “Some people are concerned about the growth in Crozet, but we think they’ll really appreciate us because we’re a local, family business, and we’re quiet people. Well, we’re Italians, so I guess we’re not that quiet.”

Thanks for the warning! Look for Anna’s Pizza to bring the noise and the nosh to Crozet when construction on the Old Trail complex is completed in early 2009.

Hamdingers and high horses

Congratulations to Patrick Critzer and his gourmet food cart, Hamdingers, for making Bon Appetit’s list of the 10 best mobile street foods in the country. In its June issue, the magazine scoured the landscape for the most interesting and tasty foodmobiles and gave Hamdingers props for its global focus and organic and locally sourced ingredients in such dishes as the masala curry and teriyaki tofu. Of course we’re proud of Critzer for being the only street food vendor in Virginia to make the cut (and you should stop by his cart on the Mall, 11:30am-2pm, Monday through Friday, to congratulate him yourself). But instead of gushing about the national press, we’re just going to say, duh, of course he made the list. Do you know why we’re so not going to make a big deal about this? Because last week a little article in The Washington Post kind of irked us. In a May 7 piece entitled “If It Tastes Good, It’s in Charlottesville,” food writer Jane Black discussed all the reasons to love eating in Charlottesville (e.g., Mas, Feast!, Albemarle Baking Co., Aroma’s, etc.), which is great for those businesses and the tourist trade. But then she had to go and be condescending about it. In discussing, for example, Rev Soup’s generous menu full of local ingredients and owner Will Richey’s customer-focused attitude, she says, “…that’s why the food here is far better than it should be in a place with about 40,000 year-round residents and 20,000 broke college kids.” Uh, thanks for the backhanded compliment.

Perhaps Restaurantarama unintentionally has promoted this idea of Charlottesville being just the cutest little food town. Admittedly, we’ve gotten misty-eyed in the past about our culinary good fortune. Just last week, we effused about Ten chef Bryan Emperor making his way here after high-profile posts in Manhattan and Tokyo. But you’ll hear no more comments from us about the, gosh, gee, surprisingly good eats for Charlottesville’s small size. From now on, we’re dispensing with modesty. Smart, discerning palates do live outside the Beltway and the Big Apple, y’all (smarter, if you ask us). So you big city writers can just take your condescension and shove it up your discriminating noses, or better yet, redirect it to some other “up and comer.” We’ve already arrived.

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