Uno, due, tre, quattro! Quattro formaggi means “four cheeses” in Italian. At Denapoli Crispy Pizza in Bayonne, NJ, quattro formaggi means more than just a four-cheese blend. Denapoli imports four cheeses from Italy: real Parmigiano Reggiano, real Pecorino Romano made from sheep’s milk instead of the copycat cow versions, mozzarella (both low moisture for shredding and super soft fresh mozzarella), and ricotta. These cheeses are used in a variety of ways on the menu.
All of the products in their dishes come from Italy, even the tomatoes.
Vegetarian pizza with black olives, mushrooms, green peppers, and onions.
Diana and Mike
“How can you keep your prices so reasonable when you are using imported ingredients?” I asked the owners, Mike and Diana, both from Naples.
“We are a family-run business. The entire family works here.” Mike said. He also mentioned that they keep the overhead low since they own the building and live there. That translates into high quality products for a great price.
I asked Mike when he started making pizza. “Since forever,” he said. He started at home with his family. He has been in America for 32 years and for 13 years in Bayonne, making pizza all the while.
I asked him what the most popular pizza was and he said the basic cheese. It also happens to be my favorite. One day I was standing at the counter, eating a hot molten slice, fresh out of the oven.
“It’s so good!” I exclaimed.
“I know, I know!” he said, his eyes lighting up. “It’s so good, sometimes I can’t believe it myself!.”
The restaurant is decorated with neon, the centerpiece being the large “Pizza” sign which casts a glow. In this shot, Mike has just prepared a cheese pizza.
While cheese pizza is the most popular, also ready at the counter are several specialty pizzas, waiting to be reheated in the big oven.
On this day, they had out chicken marsala, buffalo wing chicken, and breaded chicken chunks with fresh tomatoes. They usually have and a deep dish Sicilian cheese pizza that Diana is especially enthusiastic about.
Also ready to get hot and go are the spinach and chicken rolls; they are long rolls with mozzarella inside to make the hot, chewy bread even more luscious.
I was lucky to get there right as a batch of garlic knots was coming out of the oven.
Cheese comes into play in many of the hot dishes and sandwiches. I asked Mike and Diana which were their favorite specials. They said the Chicken alla Bella Napoli (chicken with white wine, ham, and fresh mozzarella) and Chicken Sorrantino (chicken with sherry wine and fresh mozzarella, topped with eggplant). They put special focus on the eggplant!
A garlic pecorino romano roll, not on the menu, but similar in look to the spinach and chicken rolls.
Provolone shows up in the hero sandwiches, and the calzone is filled with mozzarella and ricotta. Still, my favorite remains the hot impulse buys of cheese slices.
Denapoli’s also offers free delivery alongside the grab and go slices.
“I use the real stuff,” Mike emphasized. “My food is real good.”
Elizabeth Bland, Cheese Mistress