Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pizza? It's all in the family

If you want old school, New York-style pizza, then you probably want it from a place that's earned its reputation for making some of the best in the area — like Sorrento Pizza, a place that's been a fixture in Mendham for over 40 years.

Sorrento's owner, Jarrod Poggi, said that his father, Bob Poggi, owned what is now the Colonial Pantry. When the opportunity arose to purchase the pizza restaurant, "He switched from that to this, and it was a good transition then. It was something that he was passionate about, and he still is today."

Bob Poggi might be the oldest, still-working businessman in Mendham. He works at and visits both his shops, Sorrento and Village Pizza, which is in the Mendham Shopping Center and now owned by his other son, Guy.

"I've had it for about 18 years now, so it's a family-run, family-oriented pizzeria and restaurant," Jarrod Poggi said of Sorrento.

"We're involved in the community a lot," Poggi continues, "so we have parties that we do for people, the town and different events. We donate pizzas for different things, so as far as that goes, it's very good for the community."

Jarrod Poggi started working in Sorrento back when he was 11, at first cleaning up and then moving on to making pizzas and eventually owning the restaurant.

"When I first started, I was little, so all you really did was clean the tables, you did little tasks," Poggi says, "and then it grows to eventually being a pizza maker, and cooking dinners."

Like his dad, he likes the idea of having a family-run business, so he's already got his children excited with prospects of one day working at the shop.

"It's fun, because they love coming here," Poggi says, "so I love bringing them, making pizza, talking to their uncle — it's nice."

The menu has all the favorites that you want at a pizza shop: pizzas, calzones,strombolis, as well as some things you might not expect; Sorrento is willing to cater to many different needs.

"Some people come in for special things. We get a lot of people who want pizza (with) no cheese or no sauce, which is almost like a grilled cheese," Poggi says. "But we do a lot of different things for people, and we have a lot of regulars who come in for the same type of thing, and we'll do it different for them, and they like that."

Because he and his brother, Guy, use pretty much the same recipes, it's become a bit of a matter of preference for pizza aficionados in the Mendham area to choose between Village Pizza and Sorrento.

"It's interesting to talk to people and find out what they think about it," Poggi says. "It might be (that one place is) heavier on the sauce, a little bit lighter on the cheese. Some people flock to different places for different reasons."

Whatever the reason, it's all in the family for Poggi, who believes that family always comes first.

"I get to see my father and my brothers almost every single day because they're right here," Poggi says, "So that's a real important thing."

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