Pizza Rustica Challenges Its "Overrated" Status

After Short Oder called this Miami Beach-based chain an overrated, the oversensitive pizzza makers issued a challenge. "Come on over and check us out. Just see if our stuff ain't fresh...." (Well, to be honest, we're paraphrasing here.)

So we we went behind the facade of the restaurant. Back in the early '90s, owner Pino Piroso says, there were only one or two late night pizza parlors where he could go to after work. They served only cheese, pepperoni, and veggie slices; He wanted to make more creative chow. So he launched Pizza Rustica in 1996 and incorporated eclectic ingredients like grilled chicken and eggplant. His vegetarian wife and lots of SoBe locals were impressed.

Piroso responded thusly to our comment the pizza isn't fresh: "Show me a pizza parlor that doesn't reheat its pizza." It's just efficient, he says, adding that pies are fully sold in 45 minutes tops anyway. And customers can order

full, freshly made pizzas if they so desire.

Lastly, in reference to Short Order's comment the place serves "a hole bunch of stuff that doesn't belong on pizza," about their chocolate

pizza, Piroso explained that schoolkids in Italy eat these after school.

They are a typical treat.

Piroso showed Short Order some of the pizza-making process. Eggplants

and potatoes used in the pizzas are daily doused in extra virgin olive

oil and roasted in the oven. Mushroom gills are cut off, which according

to Piroso most restaurants don't do. Otherwise, pizza preparation is

pretty typical. The atmosphere in the kitchen was calm as restaurant

traffic was slow (it was 3pm). Workers were able to take a second and


Most of the cooking staff comes from Guatemala and came to Miami to

progress economically. Marvin Orellana, who prepares ingredients, has

been working here for two years and likes it. When asked about the pizza,

he said, "Me fascina." (I love it). He particularly savors all the

pizzas topped with chicken. Pizza-maker Juan Garcia prefers the chicken

and corn kind. Similarly a Guatelmalteco, he was originally a baker in

his home country. After having been to many pizza joints across the

Magic City, he can claim that Pizza Rustica makes the best of its kind

in all Miami. He notes that the cooking area is very clean.

Cashier Luis Alderete started working at Pizza Rustica after having

become a fan of its pizza. "It's different, but I love the different

types of ingredients," he told Short Order. "People like variety."

Walking by the restaurant one may confuse it for a club; loud house

music blares outside. Manager Regina Agorio claims that both employees

and patrons love the music. For the former, it helps concentration and

keeps them in a happy mood. Diners enjoy the music and sometimes ask

what is playing. Thankfully they don't erupt in a fist-pumping frenzy.

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