Magma Pizza features specialty pizza, calzones and their own special creations like “vulcanas.” Seen are owner Gabe Mahayni and restaurant manager. (Photo by Diana Pichardo.)

At Magma Pizza, customers can expect their food fast – in about three minutes to be precise – but make no mistake: the restaurant is not to be compared to anything in the fast-food category, says owner Gabe Mahayni.

The Italian-Mediterranean influenced cuisine is made from fresh-cooked ingredients said Mahayni, who is living out his dream one dish at a time.

Mahayni, of West Windsor, opened Magma Pizza in Nassau Park in June 2006. His goal was to deliver great food in a fast and elegant fashion.

The motto is “fresh, fast and fabulous,” he said.

At the center of it all is the large volcanic oven, decked out in crumbled stones, and featuring a rotating grill, above hot lava stones. The oven can reach 1,000 degrees, but is usually set to 800 degrees. The oven is also large enough to cook about 10 pizzas in three minutes.

The whole restaurant is also decorated in chic fiery motifs, from the wooden smoke swirls hung from the high studio ceilings, to the warm red-orange walls accented with matching smoke swirls. A volcano-shaped divider separates a section of booths on the left wall and features bright yellow specks of fire shooting out from the volcano’s mouth painted on the wall. Mahayni, originally from Damascus, Syria, is quite happy in his role as restaurateur. Mahayni previously worked as an engineer and then as a stock trader on Wall Street. He took the big leap because in his heart he always loved cooking and food itself, he said.

“I always wanted to be in the restaurant business,” he said.

Almost every item on the menu is one of his creations. He said he wanted to make his restaurant a little different and blended a little middle-eastern and Mediterranean flavor into the mix. Items like the mezzaluna calzone, which features a sun-dried tomato garlic spread, filled with artichoke, onions and provolone cheese, topped with kalamata olives and pesto; as well as the Kefta Kabbob, which features souvlaki-style ground beef, served with lettuce, and sumac on a spread of hummus and olive oil, exemplify this.

“It took a lot of creativity, but I love it, I enjoy it,” he said.

Among the most popular dishes are the hot focaccia, a calzone filled with Fontana cheese, and mortadella and ham, lightly brushed with oil and topped with pesto and kalamata olives. There’s also plenty of pizza, including specialty pies. Pizza rolls, sandwiches, wraps, salads and burgers round out the menu.

Mahayni tries to create a fun, inviting atmosphere that also peaks the interest of his customers.

“I want people to feel comfortable,” he said.

For more information, call (609) 452-8383 or go online to magma-pizza.com. The restaurant is located at 445 Nassau Park Blvd., Princeton.