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More Than Pizza

Calabria Restaurant & Pizza is offering much more than quality Italian cuisine.

Forty years ago, Calabria Restaurant & Pizza opened in Livingston by owner Gabriella Ottaiano’s father Dino and uncle Tony. From their delectable upside-down crunchy thin pizza to eggplant parm, Calabria’s made a reputation for authentic Italian food, and fresh ingredients, and is the first name I think of for pizza worth traveling for.

However, like many restaurants, the Covid-19 pandemic threatened Calabria's long-lasting tenure. In walked Barstool Sports founder and CEO Dave Portnoy; Portnoy, notorious for his “One Bite Pizza Reviews”, where he tastes and rates pizzas from all over the world, had awarded Calabria’s “Crunchy Thin Pizza” a staggering 8.9 out of 10 which ignited a frenzy for loyal Barstool fans to taste Calabria’s pizza. Gabriella recounts their website crashing, 645 orders the next day, and a yearlong police presence needed at Calabria’s. Calabria’s pizza was in such demand, that they began distributing through Gold Belly, a food delivery service where customers can order food from their favorite restaurants nationwide. The Barstool Pizza Review was life-changing for Calabria’s and established a relationship between them and several Barstool employees; some of which, “The Barstool Units” Coach Duggs and Frank The Tank came into Calabria’s to make pies with the help of Stu “The Source” Feiner with all proceeds going to The Barstool Fund: a non-profit supporting small businesses hurt by the pandemic. Even before the life-changing pizza review, Calabria’s had a history in charity.

Despite being forced to close during the pandemic, the Calabria team quickly took action to support their community. Calabria offered and donated over 10,000 special family meals, to feed families of 6, during the pandemic. Gabriella took things a step further with the restaurant's “No Questions Asked Policy” when she posted on her local Facebook group, “If you are not working/not getting a paycheck/struggling to make ends meet and run out of food or necessities...please don’t let yourself or your kids go to sleep with an empty stomach.” This kindness did not go unnoticed for Calabria was featured by GMA and The Today Show for their generosity. Gabriella and The Calabria Family have truly shown their dedication to the community. When I say, “The Calabria’s Family”, everyone is treated like family; It’s the restaurant's priority to make everyone feel welcomed, and like “famiglia”.

Not only will you find authentic Italian cuisine, made with fresh ingredients, but also classic cocktails, beer, and liquor at Calabria’s. So, make the short drive to Calabria’s and you will be welcomed with open arms, and you’ll soon find out why their pizza is rated in the top 1% statewide and 3% nationwide with Barstool.  calabrianj.com/

CLASSIC SPANISH RED SANGRIA RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

·         2 bottles of Rioja Spanish red wine

·         1/2 cup brandy

·         2 oranges, one juiced and one diced

·         1 diced green apple

·         1 peach diced

·         1 diced lemon

·         1 cinnamon stick

·         optional sweetener: sugar or simple syrup to taste

·         optional bubbles: club soda or lemon-lime citrus flavored soda

INSTRUCTIONS

Wash all fruit, core, and dice. Combine wine, brandy, fresh orange juice, diced orange, apple, peach, lemon, and cinnamon stick in a large glass pitcher and stir. 

Taste and if needed, add in a few tablespoons of sugar or simple syrup.

Cover the glass pitcher and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes or up to 4 hours to let the flavors blend.

Serve the sangria over ice. You can top off each glass with a splash of bubbly club soda or lemon-lime citrus-flavored soda if desired for a little extra fizz and flavor.

Garnish with citrus or mint leaves.

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