Sturdy, huge, and basking in the warmth of candles suspended overhead, the tables inside Mia Cucina's Powell outpost are an apt metaphor for the spirit of the restaurant. At both locations, a sense of hospitality vies with the aromas of house sauces to charm those who walk through the doors. Children—who dine gratis on Mondays and Wednesdays—peruse a specialized menu with mazes and games and absorb trivia about Italy's climate, its inventions, and the volcanoes that spew marinara sauce. Adults scan their own menu, which embraces Italian staples made with fresh and locally sourced pastas along with more updated plates, from chicken parmesan to pesto-rubbed mahi mahi filets.
When they aren't browsing the cuisine, their eyes might linger on the shelves of the floating bar, where wine bottles and glasses levitate over the counter instead of bogarting the chairs. The surrounding wall mimics gray stonework, adding a rustic cellar ambiance to the setting, though the white cloths draped over each table bespeak modern sophistication. The murmur of conversations between families, friends, and couples pervades the genial space, where Mia Cucina insists "everyone's Italian."
The Taranto family had a secret?one that had been passed down though the generations. This secret was cheesy, and loaded with fresh toppings. Only friends and neighbors knew this secret, until 1992, when it was revealed to the world. That year, Dan Taranto opened the first Taranto's Pizza as a vehicle to share the secret family recipe. Now well over two decades later, the dough is still fresh, the sauce still made onsite, and the recipe fully intact. Clients can opt for a custom build-your-own pizza on regular or gluten-free dough, or round out a family meal with pastas and calzone. When not raising pizza dough, the Taranto family helps raise the other kind of dough for charitable organizations.
Each day the kitchen staff at Village Pizzeria creates the dough for its pizzas, calzones, and strombolis from scratch. But that's not the only ingredient that's crafted in house. The cooks also make the sausage that tops the Monster Meat pizza; the meatballs that line the meatball sub; and the lasagna, manicotti, and macaroni that quietly bicker amongst themselves over who gets the best sauce. Even the ingredients the chefs don't make in house come from premium food purveyors, such as Grande Fine Italian Cheeses.