By Hilarey Wojtowicz
Local restaurant owner Stephen Carroll says there are three things that you need to have to make an Italian restaurant a success: hearty sauce, fresh bread and high quality veal. But aside from the food served, Carroll says there is something so much more important: consistency. “People know the difference, so it is all about the quality you use,” he said. “But I would say the number one thing about Mangia is the consistency that we feature here at the restaurant.” At Mangia Brick Oven Pizza and Grill in Bordentown, customers will find more than a classic Italian atmosphere—they will find a taste of home. Originally from New York, Carroll wanted to bring the Brooklyn style pizza he grew up knowing and loving to New Jersey. After partnering with two other New York natives, Salvatore Saladino and Vincent Minerza, Carroll was able to find his spot in Bordentown, which is now home to the local favorite. Celebrating its fifth year anniversary this April, Mangia is continuing to expand and offer more than just quality food to its customers. “We went from 11 original tables to a space with 26 tables now,” said Carroll, referring to the expansion of the restaurant in October of 2010. “I think we are done expanding, but we are always looking to improve and grow the business and keep it moving forward.” Mangia expanded from a corner space, taking over a second storefront in order to host larger parties and grow from a small restaurant to a full catering service, as well. Mangia now holds parties for a variety of occasions, such as birthdays, showers, graduations and more. And it is not just on-premise catering—customers can have at-home parties catered, too. Those who aren’t having a large event may also call in for take-out or delivery services. Marketing manager Heather Ransome of Full Plate Management Systems is working with Carroll to continue expanding the catering and restaurant business through marketing its Brooklyn-style pizza and pastries. “I don’t think there are a lot of Brooklyn style places in this area,” Ransome said. “The desserts are like a work of art.”
Mangia features favorites like the popular Brooklyn style pizza Focaccia della Nonna (“Grandma’s Pizza”), a thin crusted Sicilian pizza with fresh mozzarella cheese, crushed plum tomatoes, fresh garlic, basil and Tuscan olive oil. Ransome said she finds customers raving about Mangia through word of mouth and online. Mangia also offers weekday and weekend specials that are always changing, as Carroll works to invent new dishes almost daily. Ransome said it isn’t just the food either that makes Mangia successful—it is Carroll’s presence in the restaurant. “The one thing about a restaurant is that you have to be here a lot,” Carroll said in response to Ransome. “You have to interact with your customers. I feel they are an extended part of my family which is important.” Carroll said he depends on his customers just as much as they depend on him. “Mangia is a part of their life,” he said. Mangia in Bordentown continues to grow and expand. With a newly designed menu, an active catering business and features that set it apart from other Italian restaurants in the area—like homemade jar sauce for sale and pastries straight from a Brooklyn bakery—customers can feel special and at home, Carroll said. Mangia is located at 262 Dunns Mill Road in Bordentown. Prices start at $5 for an appetizer and it is BYOB. Search Facebook for Mangia Brick Oven Pizza and Grill. For more information, go online to mangiapizzaandgrill.com. Phone: (609)-298-7499.