Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Fresh from the Wood-Fired Oven

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Fresh from the Wood-Fired Oven

Article excerpt

You might be tempted to just drive right past Se7te. First of all, it has a very confusing name (it's really just "Sette" -- the creative spelling is a play on the Italian word for "seven"). The pizza spot sits in a small, nondescript strip mall along Union Boulevard in Totowa that you might miss unless you're looking for it.

Inside, you will find a plain dining room with a chipped tile floor, red walls, black tablecloths and about 40 seats at black metal chairs. On one wall, there's some decor obviously left over from the former Papa John's: Its slogan, "Better ingredients, better pizza" is still included. Only the Papa John's name has been painted over, though it's still faintly visible.

But see that domed, red-and-white oven in the corner? That's no Papa John's oven. It runs at about 1,000 degrees, and produces serious pizzas and spectacular calzones, their crusts puffed up around a creamy mozzarella-ricotta filling. You can also opt for the best of both worlds, the mezzaluna - half calzone, half pizza.

John Pepitone, a native of Venice, Italy, who runs Se7te with his wife, Antonia, said they formerly owned Antonia's in Union Beach and then in 2014 opened an earlier version of Se7te in a strip mall in Woodland Park. They moved to Totowa last fall.

Their menu is limited, but the antipasto salad is an excellent place to

start and can be shared by several people as an appetizer. It's draped in imported soppressata, prosciutto and ham, and includes provolone, Swiss and mozzarella cheeses ($15).

But the focus of the restaurant is calzones, pizzas and paninis. And the calzones are far and away the stars, bearing none of the leaden dough or oily fillings that plague calzones at other pizzerias. The enormous cheese calzone is a bargain at $10, but you can add more ingredients to the filling. And for those who can't decide, the mezzaluna is basically a pizza with one half folded over to create a calzone ($14). It is similarly heavenly.

The 12-inch pizzas stand up to similar wood-fired spots in the area. Their thin, chewy crusts are blackened from the oven (usually just enough to give the pizzas character, but one pizza I tried came out almost uniformly black and just tasted burned). …

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