Review

Building a Better Pizza in Westerly

Pizzeria Longo flips the script on the take out staple with classically crafted, wood-fired pies

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After an afternoon sampling beer at Westerly’s Grey Sail, my friends and I were definitely in the mood for pizza and headed less than a mile down the road to Pizzeria Longo, on High Street in downtown Westerly. The owner, Jerry Longo, is a certified pizzaiolo who trained in Naples and has been cooking Italian specialties for about five years in his first restaurant, Trattoria Longo. We plopped ourselves down at the granite bar; with exposed brick and duct work, dark wood furniture and higher-end light fixtures, the room was classy. The draft beers were reasonably priced at $5.50, and we ordered a round of Whaler’s The Rise. They also had hyper-local Grey Sail and Cottrell.

To soak up our day of beer drinking, we did the responsible thing and ordered the Patatine Fritti: hand-cut fries ($9) with truffle oil, parmigiano and parsley. We weren’t expecting to find French fry perfection at a pizza place, but these were amazing. The truffle oil and parmigiano were applied with a deft touch, so you could still taste the potato. (They also serve them plain or with Cheese Whiz.) We heard the siren song of buffalo mozzarella, pesto and arugula and split the Fior De Latte Caprese ($12). The tomatoes weren’t quite at their summer peak, but everything else was fantastic.

Our waitress warned us ahead of time that the kitchen took an “osteria” approach to serving food: simple dishes prepared well and brought to diners as soon as they’re ready. We spent a long time deciding which pizzas to order, so our appetizers arrived first, followed by pasta. We’d chosen the Cavatelli Bolognese ($13). The homemade pasta was simple, as promised, but full of flavor, and the sauce tasted like it had spent hours cooking; the meat in the sauce was well balanced with the flavor of the San Marzano tomatoes.

Finally, we got to the pizza, which at Longo’s is prepared in a 6,500-pound wood-fired oven imported from Italy. We opted for the specialties of the house: the Longo ($15) and the Longo Supremo ($17). Both were excellent. The crust was yeasty and crisp and held the heavy toppings well. (Pizzas are available gluten free for $2.50 extra.) The Longo is topped with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, sliced meatballs and dollops of ricotta. The Longo restaurants are built on these meatballs, and they didn’t disappoint. The Longo Supremo is loaded with long, thin slices of pepperoni, sausage, diced red onion, green peppers, red peppers, spicy banana peppers, mushrooms and roasted garlic – enough toppings to feel decadent but not gluttonous.

By the time the dessert menu arrived, we were too full to order anything, but the desserts sounded amazing – especially the Bananas Longo ($9), fried dough topped with a banana, caramel and walnut sauce, and the Zeppole ($8). Do yourself a favor and save room for dessert.

I cannot say enough good things about Pizzeria Longo, and now I want to try their sister restaurant, Trattoria Longo. A new Italian Market will be opening soon in the storefront adjacent to the pizzeria, with 30 to 60 cheeses from around the world, Longo family brands of pasta, sauce and olive oil and a cappuccino bar. “Westerly is predominantly Italian,” Jerry Longo points out. “There’s no fooling these people. You better come with the real deal.”

Pizzeria Longo
84 High Street, Westerly
315-0881