A local pizzeria recently discovered firsthand that more dining options are needed in a growing, underserved corner of East Naples.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that the second location of Palumbo’s Pizzeria launched Feb. 9 on National Pizza Pie Day. Owners Mark and Marjorie Palumbo have been nearly overwhelmed by the response for their New York-style pizza in a new location already busier than the original Palumbo’s on the northeast corner of Pine Ridge and Livingston roads in North Naples.
“Things have been really good for us. We’ve been really fortunate; really, really fortunate,” Marjorie Palumbo said.
The new Palumbo’s in Stock Plaza at Collier Boulevard and Grand Lely Drive conveniently sits between the entrances to the major residential communities of Lely Resort and VeronaWalk.
“Everybody from VeronaWalk, my husband said, must be from New Jersey — and so is my husband,” Palumbo said. “So it’s a big Jersey hangout here, I guess. It’s been really nice.”
The folks behind Skillets, a local breakfast-lunch eatery that also recently opened nearby in the same newly developed retail center, were similarly surprised to experience such success in this relatively obscure spot. Of course, that’s the reason at least a half dozen more eateries are planned just around the bend at Restaurant Row.
Not surprising, pizza is the most popular item on Palumbo’s menu, the same at both locations. The pizzeria has 12-inch and 16-inch pies in both thin-crust and Sicilian-style varieties.
“We’ve sold a lot of Sicilian out here. We’ve sold a lot more than ever. We can’t even keep up,” Palumbo said. “We make the Sicilian crusts every morning because it’s real thick like a focaccia bread almost. So we let them rise and par-bake them every morning. I just ordered more pans so that we can keep it going. Unfortunately, we’ve been running out at night.”
In addition to the requisite Margharita, Hawaiian, supreme, veggie, meat lovers and white pizza selections, specialty pies include a chicken parm with breaded chicken and mozzarella; and the Palumbo Spicy Special with hot cherry peppers, garlic and onions. Slices ($2.50 for cheese and 50 cents for each topping) are offered during lunch hours, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Other Italian specialties include calzones and stromboli ($9.95) and pasta dishes ($12.95-$14.95) such as spaghetti, chicken and eggplant parmigiana, ravioli, lasagna, baked ziti and tortellini Alfredo.
A Palumbo’s special that sets it apart from other local eateries is its Sunday gravy for two, available Sundays only for $25.95. Come with a big appetite, Marjorie Palumbo suggests.
“It’s a Sunday dinner for two served kind of family style in a bowl. It’s two meatballs, two pieces of brasciole, two sausages and two salads,” she said. “Then we call it the leftover sandwich on Monday and it’s the sandwich with the brasciole, sausage, meatballs and mozzarella.”
Hot and cold subs, available as half (most $5.95) or whole (most $10.95) sandwiches, are popular at Palumbo’s, too. The menu also features appetizers such as garlic knots, mozzarella sticks, fried calamari, chicken wings and eggplant rollatini, as well as salads that include hot and cold antipasti.
And you’ll want to leave room for dessert ($3.95-$5.95). Options include cannoli, cream puffs, eclairs, tiramisu and zeppole.
“Our desserts are all homemade. Our cheesecake is the best in town hands down,” Palumbo said.
Beverages include wine by the glass, half carafe or carafe, as well as beer, cappuccino and espresso.
The Palumbos have been in Naples more than 20 years and they opened their first local restaurant in Riverchase Plaza in North Naples.
“We opened up New York Pizza & Pasta in ’99, so we had that for a few years from ’99 to ’07,” Palumbo said.
Under new ownership, that Italian restaurant became Capri Ristorante and Lounge for a short time before its current owners changed the name back to New York Pizza & Pasta in 2011. New York Pizza recently opened a second location, too, in an underserved market just off Collier Boulevard in northern Golden Gate Estates.
The original Palumbo’s launched in late 2014 in Meridian Marketplace. Both family operated locations have similar dining areas with long counters and bar stools in front of the pizza ovens and tables inside and out.
The new Palumbo’s Pizzeria, 7711 Collier Blvd., unit 107, is open daily 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and offers dine-in, carryout and catering service. The new location is not offering delivery yet, but plans to do so eventually.
For more information, call 239-732-0900 or visit palumbosnaples.com.