Barton's Bites

Food from a guy's perspective



Happy Pi Day! Now about about this gem of a pizza from MOD Pizza, a fast-casual build-your-own pizza restaurant where you pick the toppings and they whip up a custom pizza – in a matter of minutes. Mozzarella, gorgonzola, chicken, jalapenos, buffalo and marinara sauce equal a spicy pizza.

MOD Pizza Calexico Willow Grove, PA


MOD Pizza

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The New York City lunch scene is dominated by build-your-own salad places. That’s all good and great, but what if you replaced that salad with a pizza?

I give you MOD Pizza, a fast-casual build-your-own pizza restaurant where you pick the toppings and they whip up a custom pizza. And don’t worry, you won’t be waiting around for 20 minutes like regular pizza places. The MOD team has perfected the art of turning around a finished product super quick – in a matter of minutes.

I recently checked out MOD Pizza in Willow Grove and loved it. The restaurant was bright, airy and gave off the vibe of a place I’d want to sit down at, relax and dominate a pizza.

Instead of picking my own toppings, I opted to try one of MOD’s own creations, the Caspian. We’re talking a pizza made with mozzarella, gorgonzola, BBQ chicken, BBQ sauce and sliced red onions. Love at first sight (and taste).

The Caspian hit the spot. The pizza came out in a matter of minutes, tasted great and had an enormous amount of toppings. I’m sure this place is a hit for the weekday lunch crowd. For the price, you can’t beat MOD. It has to be one of the best deals in town.

MOD Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Why You Should Go to California Pizza Kitchen… Now!

Domino’s Moves Outside the Pizza Box

I love good pizza and sometimes, even though I’m in the pizza capital of the world, you just need some good ‘ol fashion Domino’s.

Last month, Domino’s expanded its offerings and launched its new Specialty Chicken – boneless chicken featuring a delicious combination of toppings, sauces and cheeses layered over twelve bites of lightly breaded, 100% whole breast white meat chicken. The four unique flavors offered include Crispy Bacon & Tomato, Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple, Classic Hot Buffalo and Sweet BBQ Bacon.

Domino's Specialty Pizza
Domino’s Specialty Chicken
Domino's Specialty Pizza Classic Hot Buffalo
Classic Hot Buffalo
Domino's Specialty Pizza Sweet BBQ Bacon
Sweet BBQ Bacon

These pieces of chicken were loaded, and I mean loaded, with toppings. Both the buffalo and barbecue versions were pretty good. The chicken was tender and small enough that they were bite size, allowing for maximum flavor in each bite.

At only $5.99, the price is right if you’re craving some classic Domino’s that takes them outside the pizza box.

A new national TV spot (which I’m sure you’ve seen) helped launch the campaign. Take a look and get ready for a few laughs.

*This meal was provided free, courtesy of Domino’s.

Pizzetteria Brunetti

Feeling nostalgic for traditional Italian Sunday dinners? Father-and-son owners, Michael and Jason Brunetti, have teamed up to bring their traditional Neapolitan Pizza to the West Village and opened Pizzetteria Brunetti.

Pizzeteria Brunetti

And now, they’ve revealed their own take on an authentic Sunday dinner and created a prefix four-course family meal, priced at $30 and offered every Sunday starting April 27. The menu starts off with the Insalata alla Pulcinella, followed by the Polpette alla Maria (Mary’s Meatball) and Neapolitan Margherita Pizza served with a glass of Brunetti wine or beer. You will also be able to enjoy an espresso and delicious orange zest Zeppole for dessert.

Pizzeteria Brunetti

I was recently was invited to give the menu a try and it was delicious! Michael and Jason Brunetti have put together a real gem. Leaving no details ignored, the restaurant has a custom-built wood-burning brick oven created on-site “brick by brick” and is one of only a handful of pizza restaurants in New York City that use a wood-burning brick oven.

Margherita Pizza

Margherita Pizza

The classic Margherita pizza has San Marzano tomatoes, house made mozzarella, basil, sea salt and is drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.

San Gennaro Pizza Pizzetteria Brunetti

San Gennaro Pizza

The San Gennaro pizza has sweet Italian sausage, buttery caramelized onions, roasted red and yellow peppers, sheep’s milk ricotta, San Marzano tomatoes.

Spezie Pizza Pizzetteria Brunetti

Spezie Pizza

The Spezie pizza is a delicious mixture of sauteed broccoli rabe, broccolini, spicy Italian sausage, creamy burrata cheese, hot peppers and a spicy Calabrian pepper puree.

Riso Salad Pizzetteria Brunetti

Riso Salad

Aside from the incredible pizza, the Riso salad was one of my favorites. Black and red rice, organic kale, almonds and dried figs topped with caciocavallo cheese. A spicy chile oil gives this dish a subtle warmth – delicious!

The Verdict

I don’t know why Pizzetteria Brunetti is under the radar of many pizza lovers. With a variety of pizzas sure to please everyone, this place is well on the way to being a West Village hot spot. Delicious food with attentive and friendly service that treat you like family have me giving Pizzetteria Brunetti two thumbs up!

*This meal was provided free, courtesy of Pizzetteria Brunetti. 

Pizzetteria Brunetti on Urbanspoon

Bartolino’s Fine Italian Pizza

Recently, Astoria has gone through a pizza revolution. With spots such as Milkflower and Antika opening up, pizza is front and center. One of the newest pizza spots in this traditionally Greek mecca is an extension of Bartolino’s Italian Ristorante.

Situated right next door to the already existing Bartolino’s restaurant, Bartolino’s Fine Italian Pizza is a small place with seating for about twenty. It steers away from the “old world” feel of Bartolino’s next door and has a modern, updated feel to it with rich, dark wood contrasting against the traditional Bartolino’s red.

Bartolino's Alla Norcina Pizza

We ordered the Alla Norcina pizza – tomato, mozzarella, mushrooms and spicy sausage. Our eyes were bigger than our stomachs and the large was WAY too much food.

Bartolino's Alla Norcina Pizza

Bartolino’s loaded up the pizza with toppings. There was a lot more sausage and mushrooms than I expected. However, they didn’t overdo it with the cheese – there was just enough to cover the tomato sauce and help bind all the toppings to the pizza.

Bartolino's Alla Norcina Pizza

This pizza had a delicious crunch to it, despite a heaping of toppings. The bottom was covered in tasty cornmeal that helped give it that authentic pizza flavor. The sausage was surprisingly spicier than expected, but welcomed as it contrasted against the mild mozzarella cheese.

The Verdict

I’d definitely head back to Bartolino’s for the pizza. The pie we had was delicious, had a nice crunch to it and the sausage kicked it up a notch with some spice. This was definitely traditional New York pizza at its finest – thin crust, delicious toppings, simple. 

Bartolino's on Urbanspoon

Happy New Year! Some of my Favorite Spots in 2013

Happy New Year! 2013 was a year filled with lots of delicious memories. Below are some of my favorites from the past 12 months.

If you check out any of these let me know what you think!

Food filled 2013

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

Restaurant: Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana – 59 Federal Road, Danbury, Connecticut and Multiple Locations

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana has quite a history and is easily one of the best-known pizzerias in Connecticut. Known locally as Pepe’s, it still stands in its original location in the Wooster Square neighborhood of New Haven, CT, as well as restaurants in various cities across the state.

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana
Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

The Danbury location has a simple, green and white interior with an open kitchen. The centerpiece of the bustling kitchen is an enormous coal-fired oven. 

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana Kitchen
Kitchen at Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

Pies are placed table-side on an oversized tin baking sheet. From there, it’s help yourself as you dig in.

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana Sausage and Mushroom Pizza
Sausage and Mushroom Pizza

chowed down on a pizza topped with sausage and mushrooms. While Pepe’s has a rich history, I was unfortunately unimpressed by their pizza. I found the crust to be floppy and the whole pie to be tasteless. 

Slice of Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana Sausage and Mushroom Pizza
Slice of Sausage and Mushroom Pizza

Other detractors are the silverware and plates. Pepe’s skips out on providing anything more than the basics – forks, knives and plastic plates. My biggest complaint is that the plastic plates are so tiny that a slice of pizza falls off the sides. Can’t you invest in some bigger plates?

The Verdict

I was excited to give Pepe’s a try, but unfortunately I left slightly disappointed. The pizza was pretty bland and the tiny plastic plates and lack of anything more than the basics had me thinking Pepe’s is trying to do whatever it can to save money and rein in the profits. Suggestion: buy some plates that at the very least fit a slice of pizza and invest in some silverware other than forks and knives. Maybe a serving utensil for the pizza? 

Frank Pepe Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Eating My Way Around the Nation’s Capital (Part 2)

Guest post by Hailey Apter. Continued from Part 1. 

Restaurant: RedRocks Neapolitan Bistro – 1036 Park Road NW, Washington, DC

We met up with my cousin Lauren and her fiancé Kevin in Columbia Heights on Saturday night for dinner. We were in the mood for pizza, and this restaurant is a favorite neighborhood spot of theirs.

The exterior of the restaurant looked almost like a nice apartment building/house. There was outdoor seating (which was very popular) and two levels of indoor seating, featuring exposed brick walls.

RedRocks Neapolitan Bistro Roasted Eggplant Pizza
Roasted Eggplant Pizza

We started with some apps, but the highlight of the night was definitely the pizza. From the menu, we ordered:

  • Roasted Eggplant Pizza: roasted eggplant, goat cheese, pesto, grana parmesan
  • Neapolitan Pizza: tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, + caramelized onions

The wood-fired pizzas were extremely flavorful and easy to share. The crust on the roasted eggplant was a little bit too soft, likely due to the heaviness of the numerous toppings. The goat cheese really stood out and made this pizza unique and delicious.


RedRocks had delicious pizza, a nice atmosphere and good value. While I might not visit again, it was perfect for dinner that night! For $10-$13 a pizza, the value was great. Two pizzas fed four of us. The craft cocktails were also quite tasty and ranged from $8-$10.

RedRocks Firebrick Pizzeria on Urbanspoon


Restaurant: Founding Farmers – 1924 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC

Founding Farmers is located a few blocks from the White House and is the kind of restaurant that requires reservations well in advance, or you’ll be told you have a two hour wait. According to their website, this restaurant is owned by a collective of American family farmers and offers farm-inspired food and drink in a modern, casual, and eco-friendly setting. It is a LEED Gold Certified Restaurant, meaning they are certified green. Alyssa and I went for brunch on Sunday, and the restaurant was packed – for good reason!

Founding Farmers Exterior

The inside of the restaurant is very modern and industrial. The design calls to mind farm silos, and there are also bird lamps and fake clouds throughout.

Founding Farmers Interior
Silos Decorate the Interior to Give off a Farm Feel

There were SO many choices on the menu, but we wanted to stay “healthy,” so unfortunately you won’t see a review of their red velvet pancakes or bananas foster stuffed French toast. We ordered:

  • Uncle Buck’s Beignets: with raspberry, chocolate, and caramel dipping sauces (healthy?)
  • Sausage, Mushroom, & Spinach Egg White Scramble with Shredded Leek Hash Browns: two pan scrambled eggs, sausage, mushrooms, white cheddar cheese, spinach
  • “Red Flannel” Hash: goat cheese, pan roasted red beets, shredded leek hash browns, poached eggs
  • Farmers Custom Blend Intelligentsia Coffee
Founding Farmers Uncle Buck's Beignets
Uncle Buck’s Beignets

We started with the beignets, which were deliciously greasy, yet light. The dipping sauces were amazing, especially when mixed together. The order came with six beignets. We saved a few for after the meal and were nearly too full to eat them (note, I said nearly).

Founding Farmers Sausage, Mushroom, & Spinach Egg White Scramble with Shredded Leek Hash Browns
Sausage, Mushroom, & Spinach Egg White Scramble with Shredded Leek Hash Browns

With egg white omelets, I sometimes feel they are lacking in flavor. This scramble was totally different and was bursting with flavor from the perfectly seasoned sausage and the melted cheese. I loved the hash browns, as the leeks really added something different and unique.

And good lord the coffee was amazing… and came with free refills, which are always appreciated.

I also want to call out the service at Founding Farmers, which was amazing. The server who seated us welcomed us and then apologized that he wouldn’t be our waiter for the rest of the meal. Our new waiter was very attentive, friendly and treated us like royalty!


I would come back here all the time if I lived in DC. The décor was very modern and cool. The restaurant is very eco-friendly and farm-to-table, which is trendy, as well as delicious and wholesome. The cost for brunch was pretty on par with a normal brunch in New York City, and the portions were huge. I could have taken home half my meal. I would love to visit again for dinner!

Founding Farmers DC on Urbanspoon

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