STRATFORD, Conn. -- Villa Pizza has provided its homemade pizzas, pastas and desserts to Stratford since Mello Lubrano and his wife immigrated 31 years ago -- and the popular restaurant is now undergoing an expansion.
"We're not a big restaurant," Michael Lubrano told Daily Voice. "We've bought out the store next door, and we're going to put a bar in."
He estimated that the renovations, which would also expand the restaurant's seating, would be finished by spring 2017.
Michael is Mello's son, and he said he was pretty much born in the restaurant: "I was basically born in the oven." His parents emigrated from Italy's Amalfi Coast in 1985.
Customers spend a bit of time there, too. Its online reviews reflect many loyal patrons, whether they stop by for a slice, pick up dinner or dine in. A wide variety of glowing reviews speak to its popularity. Between Facebook, Yelp and TripAdvisor, Villa Pizza has an average 4.4 rating, out of 5, from the 134 reviews.
The restaurant name is a little misleading, though: In addition to pizzas -- both New York-style and Sicilian -- there are appetizers, salads, calzones, hot and cold subs, burgers, cheesesteaks, pastas and other Italian entrees, and oh, desserts.
"We literally do everything from scratch," Michael said. Even the pasta is made in-house.
He said that seafood dishes are regular customer favorites, and the "Grandma Pizza" -- made with tomatoes from local farms -- is the standout on the pizza menu.
"P.S.: Mangia che ti passa," Michael's father added in one of Villa Pizza's Facebook posts. That Italian proverb roughly translates as "Eat and it will be over, you'll feel better."