Food & Drink

New to Manatee County, this restaurant serves pizza with a bit of Jersey attitude

Philip Solorzano hopes to help fill a need for eateries on the northern end of Longboat Key with his fourth Solorzano’s Pizzeria, at 5610 Gulf of Mexico Dr., serving Jersey-style pizza.

Solorzano’s other pizzerias are located in Sarasota County.

He launched the restaurant chain in 2007 at 215 Avenida Madera in Siesta Key, and subsequently added restaurants at 6574 Superior Ave. in Sarasota and 263 Tamiami Trail S. in Venice.

But his family ties to pizza go back much further.

In the 1960s, his grandparents, Filippo and Lina Centrella, moved to northern New Jersey from a small town near Naples, Italy. In 1968, they took over an existing pizzeria called Sole’s.

A few years later they sold Sole’s and opened Presto Pizza in New York. In the 1970s, the couple moved to Hoboken, N.J., and opened Filippo’s pizzeria.

A young pizza man named Carlos Solorzano helped make Filippo’s a success. Carlos began dating the Centrella’s oldest daughter, Franca, and they married in 1979.

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Philip Solorzano’s family has been making pizzas for decades. He now has four pizzerias of his own. The newest Solorzano’s Pizzeria opened recently on Longboat Key. James A. Jones Jr. jajones1@bradenton.com

In addition to producing two sons, Carlos Jr. and Philip, the Solorzanos also opened a pizzeria, Filippo’s II.

Eventually, they opened Filippo’s III and Filippo’s IV.

By 1995, the family had sold the three pizzerias and in 2003 moved to the Sarasota area.

So, it’s not an exaggeration when Philip Solorzano says: “We know what we’re doing. We’ve been doing it our whole lives. Nobody makes pizza like we do. We’re not experimenting. We know what we have.”

Solorzano’s sells pizza by the pie and by the slice. Also on the menu are salads and starters, such as house salads, Greek salads, prosciutto, mozzarella and tomato salad, and more.

Signature pizzas include the Sinatra (white pizza with fresh tomatoes, fresh garlic and fresh basil) and the Siesta Fiesta (topped with ham, pineapple, bacon and pepperoni). Others include the Centrella, the Hoboken Heart Attack, the Bada Bing and The Godfather.

Also offered are calzones, wings, pasta dishes, 12-inch subs, deserts and Italian ice.

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Philip Solorzano’s family has been making pizzas for decades. He now has four pizzerias of his own. The newest Solorzano’s Pizzeria opened recently on Longboat Key. James A. Jones Jr. jajones1@bradenton.com

Everything is made fresh, including the dough, sauce and the meatballs, said Michael Valera, manager of the Longboat Key restaurant.

The look of all Solorzano’s Pizzerias is old-school brick walls, decorated with lots of photos of notable — and maybe not-so-well-known — Italian-Americans. The Longboat Key restaurant has seating for about 16, but Solorzano is already considering adding the unit next door, which would more than double his capacity.

One more thing: It’s pizza served with a bit of Jersey attitude.

“At every Solorzano’s, we offer an experience familiar to those who understand the importance of family and dedication. Our recipes and techniques have been perfected through three long generations based on the traditional simplicity of the methods used by our Italian ancestors. We hope every evening, at either of our restaurants, takes you back to those Sunday dinners at your own house. This is our family. This is our home. Welcome. But watch your mouth, we have no problem going Jersey on you,” the company says on its website.

Solorzano’s is open from 10 a.m.-midnight seven days a week.

For more information, visit nobodymakespizzalikewedo.com or call 941-383-5551.

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