by Valerie Hotz
Piccolo Napoli for Authentic Italian Pasta, Pizza and Gelato
Orinda has an abundance of excellent restaurants and another new addition – Piccolo Napoli – opened inside Theatre Square this summer. Located near Entourage Spa & Salon and across from Republic of Cake, this new Italian restaurant is family owned and managed by native Orindan Peter Eberle and his wife Maria. Their four children, Aja, Hailey, Alex and Ariel fulfill their responsibilities at the pizzeria after school and during the summer.
Eberle spent the past 20 years trading on the options exchanges in San Francisco, Chicago and New York. “We lived in Germany and traveled extensively in Italy, and basically have been eating pizza everywhere we travel. We really wanted to have our own restaurant and incorporate my wife’s family recipes, especially here in my hometown. Maria’s maiden name is Napoli, and we are excited to provide delicious specialty Italian dishes from her family’s authentic recipes,” explains Eberle.
With a primary focus on pizza, Piccolo Napoli offers classic starters including Caprese Mozzarella salad, Bruschetta and Caesar salad. The main course dishes are Fettuccini Alfredo, Spaghetti Di Carne and Penne Pollo – Penne pasta with grilled chicken and homemade pesto sauce. Eggplant Parmigian and a meatball dish made with super moist pork, beef and veal round out the main course offerings. The Piccolo Napoli pesto sauce is pine nut free, and a gluten free nine-inch pizza is available.
Pizza selections range from the uncomplicated six-cheese blend, grape tomatoes with local pepperoni, to Pietro’s pizza featuring fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, organic basil and truffle oil. What is really fun about this place is having the opportunity to make your own pizza from a wide assortment of ingredients, such as fresh mushrooms, artichoke hearts, sautéed spinach, red onions, caramelized onions, pineapple, pears, prosciutto – the list goes on. An attractive beer selection includes Angry Orchard Hard Cider, Shock Top Belgian White, Stella Artois, Sierra Nevada, Goose Island IPA and Bud Light. (Restaurant note: tap beers will rotate regularly.)A nice assortment of wine offerings from Italy and Northern California is available by the glass or by the bottle.
The interior has a 1950’s Roy Lichtenstein pop art flavor to it, featuring bold horizontal striped walls, a motif accomplished by Eberle’s sister-in-law, Carmen Napoli, an artist who does murals for the Ritz Carlton and other establishments. Outdoor seating in Theatre Square is available where up to 22 guests can be accommodated. You will not want to miss the gelato. The current flavors are vanilla, salted caramel, spumoni, and decadent chocolate, with more flavors being added regularly. “Our customers are a real pleasure and I enjoy seeing how excited people are about our pizzas,” says Eberle. “Chef Sarah Pugh joined us from Bonfire Pizzeria. She has done a great job helping with many details,” he adds.
Peter and Maria enjoy golf and swimming, with Peter competing in triathlons. “I like doing a half Iron Man triathlon every year,” he says. (Restaurant note: since original publication of this article, Peter has completed a full Iron Man in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and plans to do another soon in Tahoe.) Their children are involved in water polo, swimming, rugby and theatre arts. Alex and Hailey attend Miramonte high school, Ariel graduates Campolindo High School in June, 2014, and Aja is studying at UC Santa Cruz. “We have a very active and engaged household. Everyone, including Maria, works at Piccolo Napoli,” smiles Eberle.
Lunch hours are 11:30 am to 5:00 pm Wednesday-Sunday, dinner hours are 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm daily; Saturday and Sunday they are open until 10:00 pm. “We will stay open until our guests want to leave,” adds Eberle. Piccolo Napoli is a member of the Orinda Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit the website at www.piccolo-napoli.com or call (925) 253-1225. (Restaurant note: home delivery is now available in Orinda from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.)
As published in the Orinda News