Story and Photos by Julie Unger
Pasquale’s Pizza, a family-owned restaurant, recently opened on the west side of State Road 7, between Forest Hill and Southern boulevards.
The local restaurant is part of a family-owned chain that also includes three locations in Broward County, said middle son Mike Marrone, who runs the restaurant with his brothers, Nick and George Jr.
“We started from humble beginnings,” Marrone said, “with my mom making the sandwiches, my dad making the pizzas and my brother and I growing up in a crib literally in the kitchen, which is kind of cool. This is all we know.”
Authentic New York-style pizza and Italian food is their specialty. It all started with Marrone’s father, George, naming the restaurant after his father, Pasquale. The family restaurant tradition is still going strong, with another location opening soon.
“My dad has been doing this since 1974. We use the same ingredients that my dad started with back then. We have had a tradition now of almost 40 years doing things the exact same way,” Marrone said.
Attention to detail and caring about the quality and experience is part of the family’s secret to success. The menu had only four things when they first started out. Now, there are salads, wings and more, including authentic zeppoles.
“At the end of the day, when you do things right, you serve quality, people are going to understand that and they’re going to get that,” Marrone said. “That’s why we’ve been successful for so many years. We haven’t been in business for more than 40 years because we got lucky. We have really good food, we care about our customers and we’re passionate about what we do.”
A visit to Pasquale’s wouldn’t be complete without ordering the Penne Alla Vodka; perfectly cooked penne pasta is mixed with a homemade vodka sauce, garnished and served.
“It’s a simple dish made with high-quality ingredients,” Marrone said. “The beauty of the dish is that there are a multitude of things that go into it, but you don’t taste one thing. It’s like a combination of everything to make a certain flavor that you’re looking for. Everyone loves our Penne Alla Vodka.”
The sauce is made with heavy cream, butter, basil, scallions, parsley and vodka, which gets cooked off during the preparation process. Black pepper and crushed red pepper are added, and then the dish is topped with grated Romano cheese.
Marrone said customers also can’t get enough of the pizza, wings and strombolis. Popular subs include the cold Super Sub with ham, salami, capicolla, pepper ham and provolone cheese, and the hot Leave It To Us Sub with salami, capicolla, pepper ham, grilled sweet peppers and melted provolone cheese.
“Those are two unique sandwiches to our restaurant using quality Boar’s Head cold cuts and the same great attention to detail that we’ve always had,” Marrone said. “That has been made in our family since 1974.”
At Pasquale’s, the meatball parmesan sub is actually made with meat slices, rather than round meatballs, which allows the sandwich to fold.
“It’s something neat and different that we do, and it lets the customer know they’re homemade,” he said. “Everything we make on the menu is from scratch. Everything we make is homemade.”
Other favorites include deep-fried calzones, which are a New York/New Jersey specialty, and the zeppoles, which are a northeast delicacy of fried dough with powdered sugar.
“They’re almost like funnel cake at a fair — light, soft, airy and with powdered sugar,” he said.
The Marrone brothers are working to bring the restaurant’s community-friendly atmosphere to the new Wellington/Royal Palm Beach location. They like to be active in the community, sponsoring local sports teams and participating in special events.
Last year, Pasquale’s was at the Wellington Chamber of Commerce’s Flavors of Wellington, where they won runner-up with the Penne Alla Vodka. “We served meatballs and Penne Alla Vodka. It was awesome,” Marrone said.
“Wellington reminds me a lot of Coral Springs,” he added. “A lot of young families, sports… it’s a growing area.”
They’ve already sponsored local sports teams and hosted school fundraisers and other special events.
There’s a bar with outlets in case someone wants to enjoy a craft beer or a glass of wine, plenty of seating, freestyle soda machines and a community table for teams to come and hang out.
“All of these things are geared toward the trend of how fast, casual dining is going,” Marrone said, noting that Pasquale’s is family-friendly and not the traditional dark, quiet Italian restaurant. “All we want to do is make people happy. We want you to smile.”
Pasquale’s also offers takeout and delivery, and is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Pasquale’s Pizza is located at 171 S. State Road 7 in Royal Palm Beach. For more information, call (561) 904-0707 or visit www.pasqualeandsons.com.