Goodness, do I have a backlog of reviews. You’ll see quite a few starting today, but the first is a great, out-of-the-way find that I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I did.
My trek to this restaurant has a bit of a story. A few months ago, I started following @JoeLRobb on Twitter. Great guy, funny, had a lot of fun chatting with him. It took us several months to figure out who we actually were– namely, friends from high school theater. He went to an all-boys school, I went to his school’s sister school, and we did a lot of theater together, and generally had a ton of fun, but I hadn’t really talked to him since he had gone off to college. I kept track a bit as I knew his mom, but other than that? Bubkes. So at some point, Joe asked me if I had told him someone was lipstick-ing his red Buick after a cast party– I vaguely remembered that– and we made the connection. Immediately, we knew we had to catch up!
It took us a bit, but a couple of weeks ago, we made it to dinner. Joe, who is quite a food lover himself (and a professional baker to boot) insisted we had to try this pizza place in Bellevue Dayton KY, so I happily went along. We started out with a drink at Virgil’s (to be revisited for food soon, I assure you), and then walked down the street to Buona Vita.
Buona Vita is a family-owned pizzeria that recently relocated to an old bank. It’s got this great, 1940s vibe– lots of family pictures up on the wall, Sinatra playing on the stereo, and a mix of families and couples dining on pizza, pasta, and homemade desserts. You can even eat dinner in one of the old, converted vaults– a conversation piece, for sure.
The menu was broad enough to have something for everyone, but not so expansive that you can’t make a choice. Joe and I didn’t get much past the pizza– he insisted it was some of the best he’d had in town. We ended up getting a half-and-half; half pizza bianca and half hot pepperoni.
What a beautiful pizza! I tried the pizza bianca first– lots of garlic, fresh chiffonade of basil, an appropriate amount of cheese– not ooey-gooey, but not stingy either, and olive oil. Of the two halves, this was by far my favorite.
The other half was a spicy pepperoni– very spicy! Maybe a touch too spicy for me, but Joe really liked it. Again, the cheese wasn’t overhwhelming, and the tomato sauce (which I hear is someone’s grandmother’s recipe) is delicious (though I couldn’t tell if it was spicy– the pepperoni was just a touch overwhelming). If you like spicy pepperoni, this is totally the pie for you.
As for the crust– this stuff is handmade, in-house and baked in a super hot oven, which gives you some crispness with a bit of chewiness. It’s not crackerlike, but it’s also not overly doughy. In my mind, it’s a perfect pizza crust.
If you find yourself in Bellevue–and honestly, it’s not that far from Cincinnati, Newport or Covington, so you don’t have much of an excuse not to be nearby– try Buona Vita for a homey, retro feel and some stellar pizza.