Located on the dense pizzeria stronghold of Stamford’s Broad Street is Morelli Pizza Café. Around the corner from Remo’s and a few doors down from the to-be-reviewed ZAZA Italian Gastrobar, Morelli faces stiff competition from the get-go as a uniquely themed newcomer with deep Stamford roots.
Establishment. Claiming a 30 year influence on Stamford’s pizza scene, Morelli Pizza Café exists as the reborn phoenix of the defunct Café Morelli that was once located in the purportedly cursed 269 Bedford property down the street. Creative renaming aside, the new pizzeria presents a smaller, more counter service-oriented atmosphere than the original. Resembling a clean, modernized bakery/café complete with trendy wall lettering straight out of Restaurant:Impossible, Morelli’s comes across as a place to grab a slice while passing by—not necessarily as a destination.
As we’ve mentioned, counter service is Morelli’s MO, and as such, makes the few interactions with the staff all the more important. Having said this, we were totally put off by the lackadaisical “help” we received, the awkward glares that were shot our way through the duration of our meal, and by the ill-fated attempts made to charge us for tap water. Service has a tendency to set the scene.
Pizza. We visited Morelli’s months ago. Literally months. The fact that it’s taken so long to scrap together some semblance of a review for this boring, run-of-the-mill pie should speak for itself. But it doesn’t, so here’s some more words.
In typical Pizza Tour fashion, we ordered a large, half-plain, half-topping measuring stick pizza. The crust was a big, chewy, bready number with no shortage of air bubbles and all the flavor to match. The cheese was slightly less offensive in the flavor department with a short-lived creaminess that became gummy and hard as the once scorching hot pie cooled rapidly, and turned it into a slippery sheet that slid clean off the crust. The high spot (if you could really call it that) was the sauce, which lent the pizza just about all of its flavor. While bold and tangy, this sauce was super heavy and helped make a cumbersome pizza borderline unbearable. It should be no surprise to you at this point to find out that the meatball topping we ordered was likewise devoid of an important attribute that we call “flavor.”
Bottom line. If you’re in the neighborhood, Morelli Pizza Café might be worth a visit for its vast menu of burgers, dogs, quesadillas, and soup, but better pizza and better service is no more than a 3 minute walk away.
Hits the Spot: 5.7/10
Large cheese: $11.00