Congrats to the east coast Bertucci’s Restaurant chain on celebrating 35 years serving up brick oven pizzas and pastas at a family-friendly price point.
A recent opportunity allowed me to celebrate their birthday with their CEO Brian K. Wright and returning corporate chef, Rosario Del Nero at their Columbia, Maryland location – one of 85 locations. Did you know that their pizza dough is fermented and rests for two days, that all their vegetables are brick oven roasted daily in small batches, that the tomatoes they use in their sauces are grown exclusively for them in California and blended to their specifications. CEO Wright showed me his video of the California tomato farm and the tomato production. He said, “I couldn’t believe how delicious and sweet the tomatoes were, I couldn’t stop eating them.”
What was very apparent upon my visit was their ability to work with small and large groups, working with menu items as well as build your own pizza capabilities. The restaurant was packed for holiday celebrations and family dining. Bertucci’s has combined full service dining with fast casual options staying abreast of current trends.
A trip back into the open kitchen, apron and cap on, I was tutored on how to roll out pizza dough. And just like their patrons, I had a choice of making a menu listed pizza or create my own. I chose, my own creation of brick oven roasted mushrooms, fresh mozzarella and the marinara base pizza topped with fresh basil once out of the oven. Sorry, there are no finished snap of the Bella Dara pizza was a hit and consumed almost instantly as it was placed upon the table.
Executive Chef Del Nero, the original chef for Bertucci’s is back and has created new culinary delights for Bertucci’s menu:
Antipasto – Roasted eggplant, peppers, artichoke hearts, fresh tomatoes and mozzarella topped with sweet balsamic fig glaze. Pecorino Romano cheese, rosemary, ham, salami and stuffed green olives with grilled prosciutto that is wrapped around fresh mozzarella accompanied with rosemary focaccia
Marengo Pizza – Fresh roasted sweet peppers and brick oven baked chicken breast with white wine, lemon, spices and herbs, with house-made tomato sauce, Pecorino Romano and mozzarella cheeses.
Nolio Pizza – Parma style prosciutto and sweet caramelized onions, light seasoned cream, Pecorino Romano and mozzarella cheeses.
Butternut Squash Ravioli – Home style butternut squash ravioli served in a rich,creamy Asiago-sage sauce, served with fresh brick oven roasted butternut squash
Lobster Ravioli – Bertucci’s original saffron-basil dough stuffed with sweet Maine lobster chunks in a delicate cream sauce with grape tomatoes, roasted garlic, scallions and a hint of orange.
Chicken Anna Maria – Sautéed breaded chicken with fresh sage, brick oven roasted artichokes, mushrooms and seasoned tomatoes tossed in a cream sauce with fresh egg fettuccine.
Traditional Cannoli – Crispy pastry filled with homemade fresh buttery whipped ricotta filling and finished with Ghirardelli chocolate chips, chocolate sauce and cocoa powder.
Far from traditional Italian American dishes, these new menu offerings bespeak food from the Italian table.
COMING SOON: Stromboli and Grilled Chicken Marengo on Arugula Salad
Bertucci’s has grown and advanced as times have dictated. The restaurants feature an open kitchen where any one of the patrons can see their pizzas and pastas being prepared to order.
There is something to drink to whet everyone’s whistle at Bertucci’s: beer (domestic, draft and imported bottle), specialty cocktails, cappuccino, Mochaccino, espresso, assorted lemonades, and a generous selection of Italian wines.
Bertucci’s www.bertuccis.com Facebook: @bertuccisbrickoven Twitter & Instagram: @bertuccis