Milano's Pizza Opens - "Coming Soon," Turns into "Really Good"
Published on Friday, 23 March 2012 18:33
"This is 100,000 times better than the cafeteria pizza," said AMU student Jonathan English, with a smile of satisfaction as he dug into the first pizza served at the long-awaited opening of Milano's pizza. Left, Fadeline Delva serves the first pizza to Mr. English.
"It's really good," said Megan Rivera, another university student sitting beside him.
The verdict of the first customers to Milano, which opened 11 a.m. on Friday morning, after months of anticipation by the town, was in and consistent.
Rhodora, Robert and Jack Moore (below right), Donahue students who were served the second pizza, rated it, "Really good," "Really good, and "Really good," respectively.
"Well," added Rhodora, seeming to feel that more was needed, "tremendous."
The new restaurant, soon to offer international dishes in addition to pizza, is limiting its menu over the next few days to pizza and chicken wings, with plans to expand their offerings beginning Monday, the projected "Grand Opening" date. Pizza
slices are $2.75, medium pizzas run between $12.95 and $14.95, and large pizzas run between $14.95 and $16.95, with varieties that include plain, vegetarian, Hawaiian, "meat lover's," and shrimp scampi. Additional pizza toppings cost $1.25 each, and, at the moment, beverages include soft drinks, beer, coffee and tea and bottled water.
Nide Delva, the owner, beamed through her first-day jitters as she and a few helpers made pizza after pizza while customers began swarming through the door, with Donohue Academy students well-represented.
Waitress Brandy Vignolo (left, with Fadeline Delva), hurried up to the very first customers, two men, and announced that today's offerings were largely limited to pizza. "Just ate pizza last night," harrumphed the one, and both left without ordering. But happy expectancy radiated from the rest of the customers, who seemed content to wait while last minute kinks were quickly worked out, checking out the bright, homey atmosphere, the two flatscreen TVs, the floral paintings and the many examples of religious décor. A few hours later, the entire restaurant, including the outdoor seating, was filled.
Customers may call in ahead for take-out, 239-867-4296. Delivery service is planned for the future. Milano's plans to be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.
Nide Delva said she was attracted to Ave Maria as soon as she saw it several years ago, when she was visiting her mother who lived in Immokalee and has since moved to the Emerson Park neighborhood.
She and her husband had owned a restaurant in the Atlanta area before moving to the east coast of Florida.
They have three daughters, two of whom will be working alongside Mrs. Delva in the restaurant: Fadeline, who has a degree in culinary arts and experience as a chef at a country club on the east coast, and Cyntia.
Left, the opening crowd at Milano's (photo by Erin Campbell)