June 24, 2008
Land Park Lands New Pizza Place

After more than a decade of cooking at restaurants in Minnesota and North Carolina, Robert "Bobby" Masullo, a 1988 graduate of McClatchy High School, has returned to Sacramento to open his own place, Masullo.

There, he's specializing in individual-sized Neapolitan-style pizzas fired in an Italian oven burning oak and olive wood. His opening menu is concise, but the selection of pizzas will be updated to stay current with seasonal ingredients. The first choices include a traditional margherita of tomato, mozzarella and basil ($9), a "brigitta" of potato, fontina, oregano and Niman Ranch bacon ($12), and a "mustapha" of mozzarella, granna, prosciutto and arugula ($10).

Other than the imported pizza oven, the restaurant's most unusual architectural feature is the tables and counter made from a single walnut tree that stood at 10th and Richards on the north edge of downtown.

Masullo, a 1992 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, N.Y., visited Naples four times to study the city's famed way with pizza. "Fresh, regional flavor is an inborn quality there. People take a pride in their local cuisine," says Masullo in describing the sort of culinary awareness he intends to cultivate at his restaurant. As to the pizzas specifically, he says he will be baking them in the Neapolitan style - "at a much higher temperature than the average American pie is baked at."

Full disclosure: Masullo is the son of Bob and Eileen Masullo of Sacramento; Bob Masullo is a retired colleague from The Bee.

Masullo, 2711 Riverside Blvd., serves dinner only, 5-9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; (916) 443-8929. The restaurant opened a week ago without its beer-and-wine license, which Masullo hopes to get sometime this week.

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