Frederica Pizza & Pasta House owner and chef Pete Randazzo pretty much has the only place to eat in town. He took a few minutes to share how he works to have his restaurant be a destination in itself for those in the Dover area.
Q How long has this place been open?
A We’ve been in town since 1993. We built this building in 2004. We had a little building on Market Street and we moved here in 2004. We bought this corner and we built the new building.
Most people when they walk in that have never been here [say] it’s very nice, and especially at nighttime it’s got a warm atmosphere.
Q What’s the food like at Frederica Pizza & Pasta House?
A [It’s] Italian food. We specialize in pizza, very authentic, traditional, old-fashioned pizza making.
Q When you say authentic, does that mean Italian-style pizza?
A Authentic, meaning we make everything from scratch. Our dough, we make it in house. We stretch our own dough.
A lot of people have the idea of New York style. You know, in New York they make the best pizza in the world, and we are compared to that. All of our clientele, they are like “This is just like New York pizza. This is just like the places up north.”
Q Do you cook the pizza in any special way?
A Yes. We have a woodstove oven and we also bake in our regular brick oven, which bakes the pizza differently. It has a lot more flavor to the crust.
Q What’s your cooking background?
A I’ve run my own business since 1983. I used to own Numero Uno Pizza in Dover; it used to be a little place that’s no longer there. I worked with my brother in Philadelphia for a few years in a pizza restaurant. We opened a restaurant in Rehoboth in ’89 and then in 1993 we opened here in Frederica.
Q Have you had any formal cooking training or just picked it up over the years?
A It’s all through experience. I’m very passionate about what I do.
Q You’ve had restaurants in different areas, what’s the difference about having a restaurant in a small town?
A Well, the difference between having a restaurant in a small community [and somewhere larger] is you really have to be good at what you do to be successful. Obviously, you’ve seen the town. We are the only restaurant — the only thing — in town. We’ve been able to be successful because we provide the best product, I think, in the area.
Q Does it make it easier because you’re only thing in town?
A I don’t think it makes it easier. You have to attract people here. It’s a destination, and that’s our goal to make us as a destination. In today’s business environment, there’s a lot of obstacles anyway so you have to make sure you become a unique place.
It was very tough at first but over the years we’ve built up the clientele. We’re now in our second generation. A lot of the kids that came here have gown up and come here now.
Q What do you do to attract people here?
A We do focus on our service and we do emphasize, thrive on making sure our quality stays consistent. We also try to change the menu every so often.
Q What are the most popular items on the menu?
A The most popular is our pizza. Our New York-style, hand-tossed pizza is our most popular. We have a works pizza with everything that’s very popular — that has pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, anchovies, green peppers, onion, olives and ham, meatballs.
Also we do a Chicago, which is like two layers of pizza, and then we do a Sicilian pizza, which is a deep dish, a thick crust pizza, which is pretty popular.
Our most popular [pasta] dish is the baked ziti. We also have the Alfredo and the vodka sauce and those sauces are made to order in house.
We sell a ton of chicken wings. Our sales reps, our suppliers they say we are one of top wing purchasers in the area.
Q What is your favorite dish?
A Pizza, of course, but pasta, I could eat pasta every day. I can make Pasta Puttanesca, which has got capers and olives and garlic, and you can put anchovies, but we don’t put anchovies on our in house one.
I’m very creative when it comes to making dishes so every day I try to mix it up a lot.
Q So, do you have daily specials?
A We do make specials and we have a few that are not on the menu. We have a Chicken Rustica with sun-dried tomatoes and capers with a lemon white wine sauce and it’s got rosemary on it. That’s requested a lot, and sometimes when people come in and they want it, we’ll make it special.
Q What do you like to do when you’re not cooking?
A I spend a little time at home, and I do coach my son’s soccer team. I do that a couple times a week, and play soccer. I like to play soccer.
Email Jayne Gest at firstname.lastname@example.org