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The North Fork's Pizza Rita food truck expands to brick-and-mortar cafe in Mattituck

A wood-fired margherita pizza topped with capicola at

A wood-fired margherita pizza topped with capicola at Pizza Rita in Mattituck. Photo Credit: Newsday/Corin Hirsch

Do all food trucks want to grow up to be storefronts? Not necessarily, but the nearly four-year-old Pizza Rita food truck did just that — expanding last month into a brick-and-mortar pizzeria in Mattituck with a superhot wood-burning oven manned by owner/pizzaiolo Jeffery Marrone.

Like the pies he turned out from the 1946 Chevy rack truck, Marrone’s pizzas are built and baked Neapolitan-style, with dough made from Caputo “00” flour, sea salt, yeast and mineral water, then topped and baked quickly (to charred puffiness) inside a Stefano Ferrara oven heated with white oak split by Marrone’s father. (Marrone also tiled the oven himself, inspired by the mosaics around Sorrento and Positano).

The Culinary Institute of America graduate started Pizza Rita in 2015 after stints at the Mohonk Mountain House and the now-closed Grimaldi’s in New Paltz, as well as Del Posto in New York City, 1770 House in East Hampton and the 1943 Pizza Bar in Greenport. He said the new pizzeria, with a few tables for eating in, is “a spot to display what I’m doing. It’s one of the best jobs in the world, getting to make pizza. It brings together people from all walks of life.”

Pizza Rita’s menu is not on its website; Marrone hopes people will come in to see it in person and “say hello,” but he’ll recite the day’s menu over the phone. Margherita is a standard, and is baked with San Marzano DOP tomatoes and mozzarella made in house. A variation comes with curls of capicola, and another with imported buffalo milk mozzarella; a house white pie is topped with mascarpone cheese, red onions, and pine nuts. Specials might include this week’s saffron pie (saffron in the San Marzano sauce tinges it “bright and orange,” said Marrone) topped with fried calamari, or non-pizza things such as fried squash blossoms stuffed with ricotta.

Pizza Rita also scoops its own gelato — recent appearances include sour cherry and strawberry, the latter with berries from Sang Lee Farms. Bridge Lane wines are on hand, as is a house lager, called Umbriago (Italian slang for "drunk") that is brewed at Moustache Brewing Co. in Riverhead.

The Pizza Rita food truck is still rolling for special events, including the monthly Pizza Friday at Moustache.

Pies mostly fall between $16 to $25; Pizza Rita is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, opening at noon the rest of the week.

Pizza Rita, 55 Middle Rd., Mattituck. 631-315-5557, pizzarita.org.

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