The name Sophia Loren universally evokes thoughts and images of the beautiful and voluptuous Italian actress. She raved about Italian cuisine so there’s something to be said for it, and if it’s homemade, all the better. Now what could be more authentic than the delicious homemade Italian-American recipes created by Frank Crupi at his aptly named restaurant, “Pizzeria Sophia” in Delray? Nothing, other than a trip to Italy.
We started dinner with a slice of “Grandma Pie” which is like Sicilian pizza but with an even heavier crust, a tradition that began in Long Island in the 1970’s and is all the rage now. It’s the only “by-the-slice” pizza available at Pizzeria Sophia and it sits in large square pieces on a raised tray near the entrance for quick take-out. It is made daily and the crust is so fresh and tasty that our server, “Pat” said, “It doesn’t last long. It’s not even on the menu.” She added, “You’ve got to know about it to get it, and when it’s gone, it’s gone.”
We were glad to learn that Pizzeria Sophia will be celebrating its two year anniversary this September. “We opened the week Fauci said not to eat in restaurants,” said owner, Frank, “but we are lucky we have a spacious and comfortable outdoor patio that made it easy to be socially distant.” In addition, it’s important to note that Pizzeria Sophia opened in a brand new building, “free of germs”, as Frank said. Yes, everything inside is new, bright, clean and pristine.
Frank had a very successful restaurant in South Beach and with his wife of 20 years, Priscilla, they had the experience to move into Delray Beach and expand to 2500 square feet inside the restaurant with the same amount of additional foot – age outside. The touches are so important: the brick oven stove, and on the tables: the bottles of EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil), the garlic salt, fresh oregano and parmesan cheese. When we commented to Frank that the lovely floral dinner plates were “oh-so Italian”, he suddenly picked up one of the plates and threw it against the wall. Thinking he was demonstrating a festive custom of throwing and breaking dishes a la Greek party tradition, he was instead showing that his dishes are unbreakable. That turns out to be a win-win: good for the restaurant and good for the accidental “oops” droppage by any customers.
It’s appropriate to begin with Pizzeria Sophia’s “Starters and Apps.” For a superb treat, try “Frankie’s Famous Meatballs.” You haven’t really had meatballs until you try these that are large, all beef and served with a dollop of ricotta cheese, a basil leaf garnish fresh from the garden and a light bathing in homemade tomato sauce that contains lots of savory tomato chunks. As Frank said, “They are sensational, and the best you’ll ever have.” But don’t even think about leaving without trying Frank’s luscious homemade lasagna and chicken parm, both proving that Pizzeria Sophia is way beyond your typical pizza parlor.
Now comes a big decision and good luck with it: do you want to try “Create Your Own NYC Pizza” or go for the “Classics.” The choice of toppings is mind-boggling from Cheeses (5 choices), Meats (9 choices), Veggies (21 choices), and Sauces (9 choices.) Stymied by the variety, we couldn’t resist choosing the eponymous classic, “The Sophia” since we couldn’t take our eyes off of the stunning, enormous, color photo of Sophia Loren on the wall above the kitchen as she gracefully cooked, surrounded by the ingredients we had just ordered: Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato Sauce, Parmesan, Fresh Basil and EVOO. Once you’ve experienced “The Sophia” pizza creation, you’re bound to crave more. The booming take-out business is a testament to those who either have favorites or who come back anxious to try one of the other 20 types of pizzas. Complement your pizza with a delightful tossed salad made of an interesting array of healthy ingredients (Arugula, Greek, Caesar or Sicilian), topped with a simple yet savory homemade vinaigrette dressing.
Don’t miss “Frankie’s Sandwiches” made with oven baked Italian Hoagie Rolls that include all the favorites, especially Chicken Cutlet and Italian Sausage, cooked “South Philly Style”, and their very popular Meatball and Eggplant too. The “Panuozzo” made with their oven baked bread is out of this world, and the Portobello, Toscano Tuna, Caprese and Marinated Chicken Breast contain a mouthwatering variety of ingredients from Goat Cheese, Sundried Tomatoes and True Oil to Roasted Peppers, Fresh Arugula, and Fresh Basil.
All of the ingredients are fresh, the breads and crusts are baked in-house from scratch, the produce is bought fresh everyday, the portions are generous and the prices are more than reasonable. The creations of Italian cuisine come naturally to Frankie. He said, “ I was making sausage before I could walk.” His talent was confirmed by a customer, “Ron”, who had just finished dining at Pizzeria Sophia. Ron said, “I’m from New Jersey and this is as authentic as I can find. It tastes like it was made up north.” Hearing this comment, Frankie smiled and said he knows his customers well. “I don’t always remember their names,” he said, “but I always remember what they eat and drink.’”
Circling back to Sophia Loren, you’ve got to love another of her famous quotes: “I’d much rather eat… and drink wine than be a size 0.” Pizzeria Sophia is the absolute perfect place for you to enjoy Sophia’s same passions.
Pizzeria Sophia 15065 State Rd 7 – Unit 400 Delray Beach, Florida 33446 561-359-2606 pizzeriasophia.com