Mission Pizza Napoletana, located just down the road from Mary’s Gourmet Diner on Trade Street, is mixing up Winston-Salem’s pizza scene with Italian-style pies. Its location automatically tells you something about the business — small, but trendy.
From the curb, customers are met with a modern, plain façade. This modern theme continues on the inside of the restaurant. The walls are lined with simple booths and high tables; no cherubs or scenes of Italy can be found here.
Instead, the brick oven in the corner of the room and the counters where the pizzas are made are visible from any seat. Even the logo reflects their simplistic approach. Yet, the small interior creates an intimate yet casual atmosphere.
People can be seen watching soccer on the TV above the bar or watching their food being prepared in the kitchen in the middle of the restaurant.
Staffers are welcoming and friendly, albeit a tad slow. On a Saturday night, many waiters — through no fault of their own — will have to wait both tables and man the bar. A crowd of people surrounding the bar make it difficult to see other customers trying to flag them down. While it took longer than we would have liked to order another pizza for our group, our waitress was still chipper and attentive when she could be.
The succulent pizza makes up for the slow service; this is not your ordinary pepperoni pizza. Pies come in many different styles. The basic margherita can be found on the menu, but alongside it are items called “Rocket man” and “Italian stallion.”
Some pizzas come topped with arugula and have crushed tomatoes instead of sauce. Others, like the marinara pizza, don’t include cheese. Customers may need to suspend their usual expectations, but these unorthodox combinations (at least in the U.S.) are delicious. A slice of pizza with arugula and prosciutto is light and refreshing, while their “Italian stallion” contains hearty chunks of sausage. The crust is neither deep fried nor crunchy, but is light and satisfying.
These delightful pies are served as individual pizzas. They come cut into four slices, so you can split with a friend if you’re not particularly hungry. If ordered for yourself, you are likely to fall into the all-too-familiar situation of striving to only eat two, eating the third slice anyway and leaving yourself with one small slice leftover, which will not make a full meal.
Of course, that means the pizza is too scrumptious to leave alone. However, it is expensive for what it is. Most pies appear to cost 12 to 15 dollars, which is a little much for an individual pizza. It does hover around the same price range as Mellow Mushroom’s 10-inch specialty pizzas.
All in all, Mission Pizza Napoletana serves wonderful pies that I am glad to add to my local restaurant rotation.