Four months young with a website that is just days old, La Vera Pizza & Pasta is on a roll. The bright restaurant, freshly-decorated in red, green and white, has a large flat-screen television and oversized photos of London. It is accessible, with a ramp and grab rail at the entrance. And, to judge from its bustling lunch and dinner-time crowds, it’s a popular spot.
La Vera, which means “the real thing,” describes itself as a “casual Italian eatery.” Its offerings go well beyond pizza, though there’s a steady demand for slices and pies. Paninis and entrees as ambitious as Veal Sorrentino and Shrimp Fra Diavolo meet on the menu.
The lunch crowd includes a good number of Columbia High School students, and the folks at La Vera know that. Specials change daily; a frequent offering is a free soda with two slices of pizza. Another favorite, occasional special is a burger, soda, and fries for $3.95.
For a heartier meal, La Vera offers “fat” sandwiches, such as “Fat Elvis.” Elvis is a gyro with mozzarella sticks, fries, white sauce, hot sauce, lettuce and tomatoes. (No worries; there are also several salads on offer.)
This editor kept it simple, sampling plain pizza and the eggplant pesto version. Both offered a medium-thick, crunchy crust, with ample cheese. The eggplant slice, in particular, made a meal, though the Mozzarella Caprese salad – tomatoes, mozzarella and basil sprinkled like confetti over it all – was impossible to turn down.
For next time, I have the square-shaped La Vera pizza in mind; it’s simply tomato, mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and “grandma” sauce. And then I’ll have had three pies, well on my way to earning a free plain pizza. For La Vera offers coupons on the pizza box. A total of 12 earns the happy eater a free plain pie. That sounds good already.
La Vera is open daily from 11 a.m. until “late.”
Free wi-fi; credit cards accepted; handicapped-accessible; on-street parking; sports on the television.
329 Valley Street, South Orange, NJ 07079