Cook finds his calling at South Windsor pizzeria

November 24—SOUTH WINDSOR—Sal Mazzarella moved to the United States from Sicily in 1968 and has made a career in the restaurant business ever since, beginning as a baker and for the past 21 years, running his own Sal’s Pizzeria on Ellington Street. .

“I started baking when I came to the United States,” Mazzarella said.

He did that for 10 years before deciding he needed a change.

salsa pizzeria

Address: 1735 Ellington Road, South Windsor.

Hours: Monday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday noon-9 p.m.

Menu: Pizza, sandwiches, paninis, lasagna and other meals.

Misc.: Delivery via Doordash.

Contact: 860-648-2200;

“It was early in the morning at the bakery,” Mazzarella said. “It was hard for me to get up in the morning. I said, ‘I’ll start at 11 o’clock and I can stay later.’ That sounds better.”

Preferring not to have to wake up before dawn every day of his life, Mazzarella said he decided to open a pizzeria.

“We make Italian pizza,” he said.

“I was the first in South Windsor to make Italian pizza,” he said, noting that other pizzerias generally do Greek-style pizzas, and most operators are Albanian, Turkish or Greek.

“Greek pizza is cooked in a skillet,” he said, while his Italian-style pizza is cooked on a stone at 475 degrees.

As for Mazzarella’s personal taste, he prefers a simple cheese pizza.

“You don’t need to put anything on it to make it taste good, just plain cheese, it’s the best,” he said.

As for customer favorites, Mazzarella said the most popular pizzas are the classic pepperoni pizza and Sal’s House Special, which has pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, onions and bell peppers with a choice of anchovies.

“90% of my business is pizza,” he said.

Although most of the sales are pizzas, Mazzarella said other popular dishes include lasagna and sandwiches.

“We make a great lasagna,” he said. “We make a vegetarian lasagna with spinach, ricotta and cheese. Then we have the regular meat lasagna. It’s delicious.”

“We make great panini with focaccia bread,” he said.

People also come for Sal’s meatball mincers, he said.

“People come to Vernon for the meatballs,” he said. “I make them. All beef. I don’t use too much seasoning. It’s black pepper and a little orgeano.”

Keeping seasonings to a minimum is the focus of Mazzarella’s cooking style, especially when it comes to the sauces he uses for his pizzas and pastas.

“It’s all ketchup,” he said. I start it with tomato. The tomato is the main thing. The more stuff you put in it, the more you lose the tomato flavor.”

After more than 30 years in the restaurant business, Manzarella said he doesn’t intend to quit anytime soon, though his son, who runs a pizza food truck, might one day take over.

“He’s busy all summer,” Manzarella said. “He does very well. In a few years, I don’t know what’s going to happen, if he’ll take over.”

“I’m going to do this for as long as I can,” he said. “I can’t retire. I enjoy being here. I’m here seven days a week.”

For coverage of local restaurants, cultural events, music, and a wide range of Connecticut theater reviews, follow Tim Leininger on Twitter: @Tim_E_Leininger, Facebook: Tim Leininger’s Journal Inquirer news page, and Instagram: @One_Mans_Opinion77.

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