Croton Pizzeria Owner Confident In Staying Power

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Pronto Brick Oven Pizzeria owner Adil Mustafaraj stands with his staff, Mustafaraj is pictured second from the left. Photo Credit: Jessica Glenza

CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. - Pronto Brick Oven Pizzeria in Croton's ShopRite Plaza opened Tuesday, and the owner says he intends to break the curse on the rotating storefront.

"This is not going to come and go; this is going to stay," said owner Adil Mustafaraj. Mustafaraj owns two other pizzerias, including Nonna's Brick Oven Pizzeria in Yorktown Heights, and Westbrook Pizzeria, in Cortlandt Manor.

"This is a great town, this is a great location; we would like something the town would like," Mustafaraj said. The location at 440 S. Riverside Ave. formerly was the site of Sofia's Pizzeria, Pizza and Brew, and most recently, T.K. Casquarelli's.

The restaurant has the same menu as Nonna's, including pizza, pasta, wraps and wedges. Mustafaraj got rid of the bar installed by the previous owner, but beer and wine still is served. One side of the pizzeria is devoted to pizza-by-the-slice, another to sit-down dinners.

A fresh coat of yellow paint, renovated kitchen and brick oven also were installed.

An uncommon meal in Albania, Mustafaraj said he started making pizza when he moved to the United States 19 years ago.

"Coming to this country, 30-years-old, with no money and no knowledge, you have to work somewhere, and you work at the pizzeria. And when you work there, you say, 'I can do this better than this guy,'" Mustafaraj said.

"I think it’s delicious," said 9-year-old Nicholas McCrudden, about his penne and sauce. Paying the ultimate compliment, McCrudden said, "My favorite part is the sauce, it kind of tastes like my grandmother's."

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