After more than a year of planning, preparing and pining for a slice of the kind of pizza they remembered as children, Millie's Old World Meatballs and Pizza is coming. The hungry and the curious, however, still have to wait until September.
Co-owner Brandon Carrabba, of Millstone Township, rolls his eyes in impatience. It's been a long road, but he and his brother Vince, along with cousin and fellow partner Jordan Eppolito can see the end in sight. All they need to do is open the garage door onto South Street, into their new restaurant's lounge.
Growing up on Staten Island and Brooklyn, Brandon and Vince, now of Mendham, would travel far and wide for a good slice of pizza. When it came to meatballs, however, they didn't need to go far. It was their grandmother, Millie, who fried the meatballs and put them in the homemade marinara sauce every Sunday. But, as Vince Carrabba noted, "by the time dinner was ready there weren't any meatballs left because everyone had already eaten them."
That's why one of the restaurant's expected features is a fried meatball station, where the little tasty orbs will be paired with sauce instead of joined. They will be prepared along with fresh mozzarella at one station amidst the 4,200 square feet that is set to become the 100-seat Millie's Old World Meatballs and Pizza.
Nearby, two ovens, one of coal the other of wood, will pump out pizzas en masse. Eppolito, originally from California and now living in Morristown, noted the wood fired oven, from Naples, Italy, can cook a pizza in less than two minutes.
While the space once occupied by Cascata the Spa still feels a long way from what is to become Morristown's latest restaurant, the trio of entrepreneurs do not appear worried, only impatient. That sense of urgency can already be witnessed in the purchase of two Jeep Wranglers the owners have purchased, to ensure they will be able to deliver their products come rain, sleet, snow or dark of night. "Delivery is going to be a big deal for us," Brandon said. "We can't just shut the doors."
The entrepeneurial spirit doesn't start with the restaurant.
Vince Carrabba has for years bred show dogs. He and his brother invested in a pair of businesses, Krazy House Customs and Metro One Loss Prevention Services Group, the latter of which Eppolito joined eight years ago.
"We have passion," Vince Carrabba said. "And this (Millie's) is something we've always wanted to do."
That passion lead their "Millie's and Paulie's Coal Fired Pizza" to take first place qualifier for traditional pies in their regional category at the 2011 International Pizza Challenge in Las Vegas, a competiton featuring pizzas from all over the world.
The ovens, coal and wood, sit side-by-side, surrounded by continuing construction work. Eppolito said, however once things get rolling, "it's a show with these ovens."
The trio is excited about what has taken over a year to mature, but is only a few months from fruition.
"We grew up around good pizza, so food's a priority," Brandon Carrabba said. "We want to bring something different to town."
For more information about Millie's Old World Meatballs and Pizza, including its progress leading up to its opening, visit www.milliesoldworld.com.