The Groveport Pizzeria offers classics
“THIS BOX CONTAINS MORE THAN A PIZZA” is prominently printed on the branded cardboard boxes used by Little Italy Pizza. Because the message is figurative – the boxes literally only contain pizza – an explanation is provided, in a more modest type, via a brief history of the long-beloved neighborhood restaurant.
I’ll be brief: Little Italy Pizza, which has been making pizza since 1979, is a family-owned business in downtown Groveport (about a 20-minute drive from Columbus) that started as a grocery store in 1966. Echoing Pizza- message box, Little Italy offers more than just a basic pizzeria.
To accompany its decades-old heritage, Little Italy’s superior attributes include: super friendly service; a quaint old building with a scarlet and gray facade pushing green awnings plus wood throughout, a recreation room-like interior with sports tuned televisions; gifting craft beers while describing themselves as “the house of the $ 5 pitcher” by Bud Light; cooking pizza that everyone will love with great ingredients and family recipes, but also making two handmade pasta dishes – one worth a visit from Columbus on its own – adorned with homemade meatballs.
These pork and beef delicacies come in a variety of forms, the simplest being the Mozzarella Meatball Appetizer ($ 7.95): Three large, juicy, tender, and tangy meatballs coated in melted mozzarella and cheese. ‘a lightly sweet tomato sauce that’s as rich as it is shiny. An oversized, deeply roasted garlic bread stick was provided for cleaning.
Mashed meatballs in tomato sauce are also aptly offered as a pizza topping. They join with other tasty meats – extra-spicy capicola, pepper salami, Ezzo pepperoni, and good chunks of Italian sausage – on well-cooked pizzas cut into rectangles that feature yeast and thin crusts, but no crackers, with crispy crusts, almost flat edges.
Prices start at $ 9.99 for a small pie covered in good oven-grilled cheese. The specialty multi-topping pizzas, which offer good values, range from $ 13.49 for a 10-inch small to $ 24.45 for a well-described “extra-large” 16-inch pie.
Although described as a newer offering, the Threezo specialty pizza, which was loaded with two types of pepperoni (which were equally crisp, spicy, and premium) and sausage, had all the hallmarks of a local classic.
The highly recommended Big All Meat Pizza – a godsend for the taste buds that flaunts this place’s strengths – tweaks this winning recipe by stacking more meats: salami, capicola, bacon and, most importantly, mashed meatballs. These extras mean pepperoni isn’t the main ingredient, so pepperoni-obsessed types might want to add the Crispy Sicilians appetizer ($ 6.99) – deep-fried pepperoni chips served with a “dip.” of (don’t pretend to be surprised) ranch dressing.
Order the homemade spaghetti ($ 9.99) and, in addition to a bread stick and a lively dinner salad, topped with a cheerful house dressing and topped with pepperoni, cheese, olives, pepperoncini and more still, you’ll get a big meatball and some nice fishy sauce over some homemade egg noodles that wouldn’t be out of place in Amish country.
Order the el (sic) forno fettuccine ($ 10.99) and you’ve got a massive pasta dish worth heading to another city with your nice salad and bread stick. This menu highlight was a lasagna-style casserole dish assembled with thick, wonderfully crispy house noodles, topped with house sauce and a plug of baked puffy cheese, carefully encrusted with crushed meatballs.
Suiting this slogan “more than just pizza,” Little Italy also makes a great Italian sub ($ 6.95). It is distinguished by toasted toast, house dressing and tasty, but not plentiful, meats.
Sure, some dishes may look like run-of-the-mill pub food (jalapeño poppers, fried macaroni and cheese bites), but there are enough other “small batch” items – such as Amish Fry pies from locally sourced ($ 4.49) – to warrant further exploration when I return for another serving of this terrific al forno pasta.
Little Italy Pizza
Or: 619 Main Street, Groveport
Contact: 614-836-3056, www.littleitalygroveport.com
Hours: from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays; 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday
Price range: $ 7.49 to $ 24.45
Atmosphere: A quaint old building with an exterior reminiscent of the Ohio State sports and Italian fandom, and a wooden interior reminiscent of a game room
Children’s menu: no
Alcohol license: beer and wine
Quick click: You can get more than a good pizza from this longtime Groveport favorite that also offers super friendly service, great meatballs, and a scratchy baked pasta dish worth checking out.