Your Guide to Authentic Regional Eats
Sign In | Register for Free!
Restaurants Recipes Forums Eating Tours Merchandise FAQ Maps Insider

Roseland Apizza

350 Hawthorne Ave., Derby, CT - (203) 735-0494
Posted By Michael Stern on 4/22/2015 2:24:00 PM
A meal at Roseland starts innocuously with some very good, baked-here bread. From there, things get grand. Choose from a broad menu of hand-cut ravioli, lasagna, various parmigianas, and the occasional pasatelli and cappeletti in broth -- a recipe from the proprietors’ homeland in Le Marche. Hot and cold antipasti are spectacular; and whatever else you eat, you must eat pizza when you come to Roseland, for this is one of the great pizzerias in Connecticut. The crust is what connoisseurs know as New Haven style: thin but not brittle, with enough brawn to support all but the weightiest combinations of ingredients and to allay the pizza-eater's primal fears: slice collapse and topping slippage.

Some of the pizzas that come from these ovens are spectacularly lavish, such as shrimp casino topped with bacon, mozzarella, fresh garlic, and too many jumbo shrimp to count. Roseland also is a good place to sample the relatively uncomplicated Connecticut classic, white clam pizza. Recommended configuration on that one: no mozzarella, no tomato sauce, just a crowd of freshly-shucked Rhode Island clams strewn across a crust frosted with olive oil and scattered with bits of basil, parsley, and oregano, thin-sliced garlic, a twist of cracked black pepper, and a scattering of grated Parmigiano Reggiano. The nectar of the clams insinuates itself into the surface of the crust, giving every crunch exhilarating marine zest.

Roseland is known for huge portions. No one leaves without a tower of Styrofoam containers holding leftovers. Proprietor Gary Lucarelli once told us that he likes to see diners carry home his food. "They take it to their grandmother or aunt who can't get out," he beamed, thinking of all the nice old ladies who have the opportunity to enjoy a Roseland meal at home. "Being in the [Naugatuck] Valley, we get people with good appetites,” he explained. “They come in and knock off a 'hot anti' then have their sauteed escarole and a sausage pie or a plate of ravioli." As he thought of these good neighbors enjoying their big meals, he raised a wine glass in a one-word toast to all of them: "'Eat!' I say." He inhaled the bouquet of the wine (which he makes himself), took a sip, and repeated the toast that is his family's way of life and the soul of Roseland: "Eat!"

29 out of 30 people found the review helpful. Was it helpful to you?

No Yes

Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Pizza
Arugula Salad
Hot Antipasto
Lasagna
Special Garlic Bread
Shrimp Fra Diavolo
Tuna Pizza
Calamari
Shrimp & Spinach White Pizza
Spaghetti & Meatballs
Arugula Pizza
Bread
Shrimp Oreganate Pizza
Lina's Dessert
Rate this place

Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

If I tell you that this pizza cost nearly $50 (market price, said the menu), you might think it cost too much. Wrong. For one thing, there must have been $30 worth of the plumpest, crunchy-sweet shrimp on earth piled atop it - so many that it was difficult to take a bite anywhere on any slice without getting some. This pizza easily fed two people with enormous appetites. For me, the chewy, crunchy, fire-flavored crust is priceless.
"If I tell you that this pizza cost nearly $50 (market price, said the menu), you might think it cost too much. Wrong. For one thing, there must have been $30 worth of the plumpest, crunchy-sweet shrimp on earth piled atop it - so many that it was difficult to take a bite anywhere on any slice without getting some. This pizza easily fed two people with enormous appetites. For me, the chewy, crunchy, fire-flavored crust is priceless."
Michael Stern





Even an ordinary sausage and mozzarella pizza is something special at Roseland. The crunchy/chewy crust is a wonder of the culinary world.
"Even an ordinary sausage and mozzarella pizza is something special at Roseland. The crunchy/chewy crust is a wonder of the culinary world."
Michael Stern


Fra Diavolo is not listed on the printed menu, but it is a frequent star on the blackboard. It was a challenge to eat all the shrimp, but I managed to do so. That fork at the right of the photo is a normal-size one. This plate is huge!
"Fra Diavolo is not listed on the printed menu, but it is a frequent star on the blackboard. It was a challenge to eat all the shrimp, but I managed to do so. That fork at the right of the photo is a normal-size one. This plate is huge!"
Michael Stern


While Roseland has all sorts of great exotica on the menu, from lobster ravioli to clams casino pizza, you can't go wrong ordering the old-fashioned Italian classics. This plate of spaghetti and meatballs is well-nigh perfect.
"While Roseland has all sorts of great exotica on the menu, from lobster ravioli to clams casino pizza, you can't go wrong ordering the old-fashioned Italian classics. This plate of spaghetti and meatballs is well-nigh perfect."
Michael Stern


The blackboard menu advises that the arugula pizza is available only for customers eating at the restaurant: no take-out. The reason for that is evident when the pizza arrives. The base, a magnificently thin-crisp crust that doesn't begin to droop even at the point of a slice, is mounded with salad. The hot-and-cool, bread-and-veg, sweet-cheese-and-bitter-greens balances are a dazzling dining experience, but would not survive for long inside a take-out box.
"The blackboard menu advises that the arugula pizza is available only for customers eating at the restaurant: no take-out. The reason for that is evident when the pizza arrives. The base, a magnificently thin-crisp crust that doesn't begin to droop even at the point of a slice, is mounded with salad. The hot-and-cool, bread-and-veg, sweet-cheese-and-bitter-greens balances are a dazzling dining experience, but would not survive for long inside a take-out box."
Michael Stern


The blackboard menu noted that the tuna is Italian tuna, meaning that it's rich with olive oil and has real seafood character. Perked up with capers and laced with pieces of garden-fresh tomatoes and built upon a thin, crisp Neapolitan crust, it is yet another Roseland masterpiece. Oh, and that aromatic basil at the top of the photo is, of course, from the family garden.
"The blackboard menu noted that the tuna is Italian tuna, meaning that it's rich with olive oil and has real seafood character. Perked up with capers and laced with pieces of garden-fresh tomatoes and built upon a thin, crisp Neapolitan crust, it is yet another Roseland masterpiece. Oh, and that aromatic basil at the top of the photo is, of course, from the family garden."
Michael Stern


Fried calamari is a robust appetizer. Each nugget is sheathed in shattering-crisp crust.
"Fried calamari is a robust appetizer. Each nugget is sheathed in shattering-crisp crust."
Michael Stern


I forgot to count the number of shrimp strewn across this generous shrimp and spinach pizza, but it isn't so much the number that is amazing; it is their quality. They are big and muscular and radiant with luxurious flavor. There is no swankier pizza than this one.
"I forgot to count the number of shrimp strewn across this generous shrimp and spinach pizza, but it isn't so much the number that is amazing; it is their quality. They are big and muscular and radiant with luxurious flavor. There is no swankier pizza than this one."
Michael Stern


Super-duper garlic bread: topped with roasted peppers, prosciutto, and melted mozzarella.
"Super-duper garlic bread: topped with roasted peppers, prosciutto, and melted mozzarella."
Michael Stern


Typical of everything served at Roseland, this salad was gigantic, big enough to be an appetizer for two in the restaurant, then another couple of side-salads for two the next day. When dining at Roseland, eating leftovers the next day is an essential part of the experience.
"Typical of everything served at Roseland, this salad was gigantic, big enough to be an appetizer for two in the restaurant, then another couple of side-salads for two the next day. When dining at Roseland, eating leftovers the next day is an essential part of the experience."
Michael Stern


This lovely dessert is a tile of Roseland's bread dough, fried crisp and flaky, topped with fresh fruit, cinnamon sugar, and just-whipped cream. That mint-leaf garnish comes from the backyard garden.
"This lovely dessert is a tile of Roseland's bread dough, fried crisp and flaky, topped with fresh fruit, cinnamon sugar, and just-whipped cream. That mint-leaf garnish comes from the backyard garden."
Michael Stern


Every meal at Roseland starts with a basket of baked-that-day bread. It is dangerously delicious ... dangerous in the sense that it is all too easy to fill up on it even before your meal arrives. Many people get their leftover bread packed to take home along with everything else they didn't have enough appetite to eat. 'It makes wonderful toast in the morning!' advised Carolyn, our waitress.
"Every meal at Roseland starts with a basket of baked-that-day bread. It is dangerously delicious ... dangerous in the sense that it is all too easy to fill up on it even before your meal arrives. Many people get their leftover bread packed to take home along with everything else they didn't have enough appetite to eat. 'It makes wonderful toast in the morning!' advised Carolyn, our waitress."
Michael Stern


An abundance of freshly shucked clams and snapping fresh shrimp make this seafood pizza unspeakably plush.
"An abundance of freshly shucked clams and snapping fresh shrimp make this seafood pizza unspeakably plush."
Michael Stern


A few take-home cartons of leftovers is typical of a Roseland meal. We were four healthy eaters, and all went home with more than enough for tomorrow's supper.
"A few take-home cartons of leftovers is typical of a Roseland meal. We were four healthy eaters, and all went home with more than enough for tomorrow's supper."
Michael Stern


Wow, what a menu! (This is in addition to the regular printed one.) On the left are specialty pizzas. In the center are the day's appetizers; at the right are entrees.
"Wow, what a menu! (This is in addition to the regular printed one.) On the left are specialty pizzas. In the center are the day's appetizers; at the right are entrees."
Michael Stern


Roseland was the first place in the Naugatuck Valley to serve pizza, in 1935. It's a hidden-away sort of restaurant you'd never accidentally stumble upon. But once you've found it, life is good!
"Roseland was the first place in the Naugatuck Valley to serve pizza, in 1935. It's a hidden-away sort of restaurant you'd never accidentally stumble upon. But once you've found it, life is good!"
Michael Stern



What is Roadfood?  |   Submit Content  |   Privacy Policy  |   Contact Roadfood.com   Copyright - Roadfood.com