When on the hunt for Little Italy in Richmond, look no further than Giuseppe’s Pizza on Richmond’s South side, located in Rockwood Square Shopping Center. Giuseppe’s has been serving up good eats since the 70’s and is open from 11-11 Monday to Saturday and 12-10 on Sunday. Giuseppe’s has many, many regulars, including my family.
A hole-in-the-wall at first glance, it offers a slice of Italian cuisine from the homeland. Giuseppe’s has the feel of a local dive or tavern, but is also homey and welcoming. The same four waiters have been taking orders and filling waters for the past six years.
Once my friends and I seated ourselves, the waitress promptly arrived at our table and took our drink orders. Due to the close connection with the many regulars they have, she asked, “No dad tonight?” My dad originally heard of Giuseppe’s from a friend about ten years ago, and now he and his colleagues go there every other Wednesday night for pizza and beer.
Giuseppe’s offers specials each night of the week, but nothing brings in more business than their traditional pizza. On Wednesday nights every seat, booth, and table are filled, as people run in and out the door picking up their takeout.
We had three dishes at the table: stuffed shells, a steak and cheese sub, and their cheese pizza.
The stuffed shells are cheesy, covered and smothered in a monstrous amount of fresh mozzarella that’s melted on top, and ricotta cheese inside the shells. All pasta dishes are served piping hot and come with a fresh salad to get your serving of veggies. Plus, a fresh loaf of baked bread and a pound of butter, to offset the salad or to be dipped into the cheese and tomato sauce. The tomato sauce is hearty with the rich consistency of an aromatic tomato stew.
Their steak and cheese subs are the best in Richmond: fresh mozzarella and provolone, sauteed onions and peppers, thinly sliced cuts of top ribeye, and I add on lettuce, mayonnaise, and a little bit of Italian dressing, with Parmesan crumbs. Modeled after the classic Philly cheesesteak, everything is slathered on a fresh Amoroso roll. With every bite, all the flavors of the steak, cheese, and seasoning go rushing towards your taste buds. Your taste buds proceed to send electronic pulses to your brain, yearning for more and more, building an insurmountable craving and addiction. Legendary: a sub to savor and eat slowly to appreciate its authenticity and powerful orchestra of flavors. Best steak and cheese in town, hands down.
Giuseppe’s pizza possesses rare and uncommon qualities too. First, they have no deep dish pizza; only thin crust. Everything they do is old school; they hand-toss their pizzas right behind the counter for everyone see, and they are baked in a traditional Italian brick pizza oven.
Before it arrives to your table, you will smell it. It’s an enticing odor that pulls you in and will not let go. The pizza has that perfect crunchy sound when biting into the delicious seasoned crust; it’s like heaven on earth. The pizza dough is thin and not too chewy but highly savory, with a light fluffy feeling of a deep dish pizza. The tomato sauce is light and tasty, while the cheese is a highly guarded secret of multiple cheeses mixed together. The layer of cheese is perfectly thick, and never too gooey. Truly delectable, the pizza is almost like currency; we always want more and can never have enough.
Giuseppe’s has four pillars of success: speed, inexpensiveness, friendliness, and taste. Giuseppe’s serves fast; we were in and out of the restaurant in under forty minutes and left with full bellies. The vast majority of the menu is under eight dollars, even the large cheese pizza. After eating at Giuseppe’s a few times, they will treat anyone like an old friend that they haven’t seen in awhile and need to catch up with. Giuseppe’s is not a fancy, high-end restaurant that a man might take his longtime girlfriend to on the night of his proposal to be engaged, but the food is still delicious nonetheless. Simple and scrumptious is the way to go.
Giuseppe’s is a trademark in the restaurant business on the South side that continues to serve up Italian eats to anyone with an empty stomach. The best place in town to fill up on lots of bread, pasta, and pizza with family and friends.