Instead of heading out to play after school as a kid, Ron Stephan spent afternoons in his mother's kitchen, rolling chicken cordon bleu for the catering business she ran from their home. Today, Ron continues his family tradition of freshness at his own restaurant, Ricetta's, where every dish is made from scratch daily. "I guarantee you my freezer is smaller than your freezer at home," Ron says with a laugh, "unless you have a really small freezer."
The restaurant’s accolades speak for themselves. Since it opened in 1989, Ricetta's has won the Maine Sunday Telegram's readers' poll for best pizza a whopping 20 years in a row, as well as earning a spot on USA Today's 51 great pizza parlors in 2010. At its current location, which it has occupied since 2000, two hand-built brick ovens fire up each pizza, giving the crust a crisp outside and a soft, pillowy center.
Though the food is crafted with care, the lifeblood of Ricetta's, according to Ron, is its employees, many of whom have been with him for over 10 years. They have helped create all of the menu's dishes, including the Bolto pizza, loaded with pesto, roasted chicken, and broccoli, and named after the manager who would make it for himself for lunch every day. Ricetta's first employee, Skip, lends his name to the popular linguini Scipollo, which he fashioned from chicken, sometimes shrimp, with prosciutto and tomatoes in lemon-cream sauce. To show his gratitude, Ron celebrates each staff member's anniversary by printing a mention in the newsletter and cooking them a pizza with monogrammed pepperoni slices.