We’re big fans of a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Between the limited-but-exquisite menu, the intimate atmosphere, and the like-home vibes, Bivio Pizza Napoletana truly checked off all these boxes — which is why Montclair is losing a true local gem with the announcement that Bivio Pizza has officially closed. Located at 107 Pine Street in Montclair, the beloved local pizza spot shared the news on the morning of September 19th via its Instagram. Read on to learn what we know about the closing of Bivio Pizza Napoletana in Montclair — as well as why we will miss it.
(Photo credit: @biviopizza)
Bivio Pizza Napoletana is owned by 30-year long Montclair resident Tommaso Colao and his wife Jackie. “My family is from around Naples, and my mother and grandmother were great cooks,” Tommaso told The Montclair Girl. “I grew up in a very Italian home where my mother and grandmother would make bread, desserts, pastas — I mean everything! It’s just the way it was in my family.”
Though Tommaso is now an excellent chef, that wasn’t always his choice of career. Up until 2011, before opening his restaurant, he was actually a musician — and the two professions, according to Tommaso, aren’t dissimilar.
“[Cooking] is like playing music,” Tommaso said. “You got the heat from the fire, the colors from the flames, the rhythm of putting the pizza in, turn it, get it out. It’s a connection for me. It’s an artistic endeavor and I’m passionate about it.”
Read More: The Best Pizzerias in Montclair
The Announcement of the Closure
On the morning of September 19th, Bivio posted on Instagram saying that it had officially closed for good as of September 17th.
View this post on Instagram
“Ciao a tutti, The time has come… After nearly five years of offering true pizza Napoletana in Montclair, Bivio will be closing our doors as of September 17, 2022,” the post reads.
“Bivio has been a wonderful journey for Jackie and me. Our vision of opening a small authentic pizzeria in June 2011 has exceeded all of our hopes and dreams,” the post continues. “It has been our pleasure to serve our guests/friends with the best quality ingredients available to offer a true pizza Napoletana. We thank all of you for your support and you will always remain special to us. A huge shout out of thanks to our wonderful staff who made the dream possible and were always there for us, you are truly family. Finally, we’d like to thank all the food writers for the articles and awards acknowledging Bivio as one of the best pizza Napoletana in the area.”
The team signed off with one final goodbye. “Jackie and I have now reached a crossroad (un bivio) and look forward to the next chapter, another journey perhaps. This has been a bittersweet decision, much like a Napoletana espresso, bitter until tasting the sweetness of the unstirred sugar at the bottom of the demi tasse, like life – And so it goes… Grazie mille e tante auguri !! Tommaso , Jackie and la bambina (our natural yeast).”
Inside Bivio Pizza Napoletana: What We’ll Miss
We look back fondly on our last visit to Bivio Pizza — here’s what we’ll miss.
Bivio Pizza Napoletana had a cozy, welcoming atmosphere that immediately gave the sensation of being at home.
Over by the wood-fired brick oven — which was successful at keeping the entire restaurant warm — diners could see Tommaso rolling out dough and preparing each pizza himself. The menu got brought over on an easel where the waiter or waitress would describe the in-house ingredients as well as the homemade bread and dough. The restaurant could seat only 24 — and when we dropped by, every table was full. The ambiance was romantic and intimate, immediately transporting visitors to small-town Italy with Pine Street providing the perfect backdrop.
There were five pizzas and two appetizers on the menu, with an addition of two specials each night. Tommaso’s personal recommendation was the Margherita — which, of course, we had to sample. Each pizza was small enough to eat personally, or you could order several to share. The pizza baked for only roughly 60 seconds in Bivio’s brick oven before it was brought to the table.
Tommaso told The Montclair Girl that he spent years developing his flavor profile — and it showed. There really was a beautiful simplicity of ingredients that made each bite delightful, fresh, and delicate.
“We’re not trying to create anything. We’re just trying to do our best and present traditional Neapolitan pizza and be honest about it. If you came to our house, this is how you would be treated,” Tommaso told MG. “This is our home.”
In terms of wine pairings to go with pizza, Tommaso had a few suggestions.
“I always lean towards Italian, but that’s not necessary,” he told MG. “A good chianti, a nice Nebbiolo. For white wine: Verdicchio or a nice Pinot Grigio. Personally, I like a nice Sauvignon Blanc in the summer. Not too heavy of a wine, you want a lighter wine. But it’s all personal!”
We’ll truly miss this local gem, and we wish the team the best in the next chapter of their lives.