Family business brought us to Fernandina Beach. The kids were amazingly well behaved while waiting for some documents to be signed, and afterwards we decided to visit Arte Pizza for lunch. The restaurant is located at 103 W. 3rd Street in a small building that has been added onto over the years. The central portion where the kitchen is located is constructed of coquina. A dining room room surrounded by windows is located to the left. Outside a bar and tables straddled the area between the restaurant and the road. Bright yellow planters and a fence added a dashes of color. During warmer weather I imagine it is packed with people. The day we visited it was cold, and the only people who outside were the owner’s wife and son folding pizza boxes.
The front entrance is located to the left of the patio. Walking through the door we passed the small kitchen where employees were busily making pizza in a red brick over located towards the rear. A few past the kitchen led to the dining room where we met my brother-in-law Carl. He was sitting at a table towards the back of the restaurant enjoying a glass of wine. He told us while waiting for us he had sampled some of their mac ‘n cheese. It was killer and he had eaten every last bite. I was jealous and as I looked over the menu snacked on some bread and dipping sauce.
The menu was extensive offering appetizers, salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes and other Italian specialties. The kids were focused on one thing, pizza and we decided to order two for the table. The first was the Classica, a simple cheese pizza, and the second was their Paesana topped with pepperoni, sausage, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Wine and beer were ordered and we waited for the pizza baked while catching up and relaxing after a hectic morning at the granite topped table.
Inside the dining room it was warm. The floor was slate, the ceiling white and window allowed in a large amounts of natural light. The walls were painted a light cream accented by a medium olive and pale sage green. Old windows on the wall next to the kitchen were re-purposed as wine holders with strips of wood holding numerous bottles of red and white wines. The restaurant had a relaxed atmosphere and invited people to linger and savor another glass of the libation of their choice.
As my beer was drained the waitress appeared with two large pizzas on thin aluminium pans. Colorful ceramic plates were passed around the table and slices placed upon each. I started with a slice of cheese. The crust was thin and topped with a mixture of cheeses. The edges were slightly charred. The ingredients were fresh and gave the pizza a great flavor. The slice of cheese was followed by a piece covered by thin slices of pepperoni and crumbled sausage. Again, the ingredients were fresh and the pizza had a really nice flavor. Of the two pies I actually preferred the honest simplicity of the cheese, though both were wonderful. Service during our meal was attentive and the staff was very friendly. Arte Pizza, including the small bathroom, was also spotless.
As we were leaving I snapped a few pictures of the restaurant from the outside. The owner’s wife noticed me and we started chatting. She informed me they are building a new restaurant right next to the old one. It will be interesting to see what the new place looks like, and I look forward to checking it out after its completed. Arte Pizza is on Facebook (though their page needs some updating) and can be contacted at (904) 277-1515.
Sweet Tea & Bourbon’s Rating: