Article By: Bonnie Williamson
Photos By: Josh Triggs
BRICK BAKED BLISS
That unsolicited comment made recently by a customer at Angelo’s Red Brick Pizza in Martinsburg, WV, says a lot. The New York/New Jersey area has been known for great food for decades because it has been the home of many different immigrants who found their way there in their journey to America after arriving at Ellis Island. They brought their recipes with them, but you don’t have to travel far to experience the delicious taste of Italy, thanks to Angelo’s. It’s right here, waiting for you.
The owner of Angelo’s Red Brick Pizza, Pasquale Dagostino, came to the United States from Giovinazzo, Italy, more than 40 years ago. Dagostino describes Giovinazzo as a little town by the water.
“My father was a vegetable farmer,” Dagostino says. “He wanted a better life for his family. He was sponsored by my mother’s brother in the US so he could come to this country. It was very hard for my parents, starting a new life, not knowing the language. It was a bit of a shock, but he did it. Angelo’s is named after him.
“The family—Dagostino is one of five children—settled in Brooklyn, NY. He was around good Italian cooking and vegetables most of his life. He worked for a pizza restaurant in Pennsylvania and eventually opened a restaurant in Staunton, Va. Staunton has special significance for Dagostino. His wife and business partner Amanda worked for him while she was in high school. They have been married for 15 years.
Dagostino came to the Martinsburg area in 1991, opening a store in the Martinsburg Mall where his business remained until the mall closed in November 2016. A month later, Angelo’s opened at its current location, 714 Foxcroft Ave.
“We had to move quickly. Our customers stuck with us, and we get new customers every day,” Dagostino says.
The Red Brick in the restaurant’s title could be a factor in Angelo’s success.
“It stands for our brick oven,” Dagostino says. “The oven makes our pizzas more fluffy with a charred flavor and better crust. It also helps us to make our orders fast because of the high temperature. Customers don’t have to wait. Most dishes take about ten minutes.”
Dagostino emphasizes that, “everything is made from scratch, on site. All of our ingredients are fresh.”
Even the Mozzarella cheese, a part of so many dishes offered at Angelo’s, is different from Mozza-rella found at other pizza places.
“It’s a softer kind of Mozzarella we get in rolls and slice,” he says. “It’s more expensive, but it adds to the flavor of a dish.”
Round slices of Mozzarella give a unique appearance to the popular Margherita Pizza. Along with the Mozzarella, this pizza has tomato sauce, olive oil, basil and a balsamic glaze. The colors of this pizza symbolize the red, green and white of the Italian flag. According to tradition, in 1889, 28 years after the unification of Italy, Queen Margherita of Savoy, wife of King Umberto I, visited Naples. A chef named Raffaele Esposito created the pizza in her honor.
Another popular pizza is Caprese layered with slices of fresh tomatoes, Mozzarella, olive oil, basil and a balsamic glaze.
Then there’s the calzone, a wonderful oven-baked folded pizza with salami, ham or vegetables, Mozzarella, ricotta and Parmesan or pecorino cheese. The calzone is stuffed with a creamy filling containing ricotta. Customers can pick the combination they want. Dagostino serves the calzone with a tomato sauce for dipping. The sauce itself is rich and so flavorful it could be a meal in itself.
Angelo’s allows customers to build their own pizzas that come in 10-inch or 16-inch sizes.
“We don’t sell slices,” Dagostino says. “We like the pizza to be fresh out of the oven for each customer with toppings of their choice. The 10-inch pizza can make a nice lunch for two or just for one.”
Customers can build their own pizzas with a variety of toppings like anchovies, bacon, chicken, ham, Italian sausage, pepperoni, salami or steak. Vegetable toppings include banana peppers, black olives, broccoli, green peppers, Jalapenos, Kalamata olives, mushrooms, pineapples, red onions and tomatoes. The pizza dough can be traditional or gluten free.
Stromboli is yet another delightful choice on the menu. It’s a type of turnover filled with various cheeses and cold cuts or vegetables. The dough used is pizza dough.
In addition, Angelo’s has a wide assortment of 10-inch subs like meatball, pastrami, tuna and turkey, which customers can also build their own with toppings. Dagostino says a popular sub is steak and cheese.
Appetizers like breadsticks and garlic knots are available as are wings, boneless and traditional; and a variety of salads like chef salad with lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, green pepper, ham, salami, and provolone; and Greek salad with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, Feta, Kalamata olives and balsamic vinaigrette.
Of course dessert is also on the menu, which includes brownies, cookies, a Dessert of the Week, and those wonderful treats: cannoli. Ricotta cheese makes a sweet appearance this time in these tube-shaped finger-sized shells of fried pastry dough with chocolate bits and covered with sugar. Save room for them!
Angelo’s seats about 32 people. The staff includes three full-time employees and three part-timers. Catering is also available.
Amanda, who works for the Washington County school system when she’s not helping out at the restaurant, says she loves to meet and greet customers.
“We are very family oriented,” she says. “We have some customers who come in every day.”
She and her husband have three children of their own, Angelo, 13; Dominic, 12 and Sofia, 7.
Amanda adds that Angelo’s likes to give back to the community.
“We take part in fundraisers. We want to contribute to the community,” she says.
Dagostino says he is glad people continued to seek him out after closing at the mall. He is proud that his pizza was named best pizza in Martinsburg last year by the local media.
The delicious food and the welcoming attention by Angelo’s employees live up to the restaurant’s motto, “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy pizza and that’s kind of the same thing.”
Angelo’s Red Brick Pizza is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday; and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, go to Facebook, the website at www.angelosredbrickpizza.com or call 304-263-2201.