MidiCi at Stonefield is perfect for a pizza date

With a great atmosphere and a great selection of ‘za, MidiCi is the place to go for a fun day out

lf-MidiCi-Lindsay Smith

The Stonefield MidiCi is located at 2550 Bond St., sandwiched between the Regal movie theater  and Altar’d State.

Lindsay Smith | Cavalier Daily

For most University students, pizza is a staple food. Rain or shine, spring or fall, pizza is a good way to end the day. And with the addition of MidiCi to the Shops at Stonefield, Domino’s stores all around Charlottesville are quaking in their boots.

MidiCi is known for using only four ingredients in their doughy — yet still light — crust. Neapolitan flour, water, sea salt and yeast are mixed together and hand tossed into a circular shape. The sauce is made of crushed Italian peeled tomatoes, and their creations taste the way they are made — like a light and healthy treat.

When I walked in, I was greeted by an airy space full of booths, tables and chairs. I ordered a margherita pizza and a bottle of water, then went to wait for my food. It was brought to my table by the same person I ordered it from, and I later learned that my waiter was also the person who tossed, constructed and fired my pizza.

With a basic 12-inch margherita pizza costing only $8.50, there was plenty leftover in my budget for some of their appetizers or desserts. The signature Nutella calzone is their best-selling dessert, which is clear from a set of shelves by the front that house several massive tubs of Nutella. The Italian gelato is another option during warmer weather. Almost all the desserts on the menu are less than $6, so while they may be breaking your diet, they won’t be breaking the bank.

Most of the classic Italian dishes are represented on the menu. Appetizers include meatballs, meat and cheese boards and burrata dishes, and the entree list features 20 different pizzas. Salad is also available. The bases for most pizzas can be substituted with gluten-free crust — a $2 addition — or vegan cheese.

What makes the place particularly intriguing is its interior design. The glass counter blocks off part of what seems to be a preparation area, and the rest of the space is left for ample seating. There is a live olive tree growing in a pot in the center of the restaurant, and award-winning Italian films are played on loop against the back wall. Two shining, golden pizza ovens are also featured behind the counter.

The space was designed for college students, and its open, bright layout is suitable for large group meetings around steaming mounds of dough. However, it is not within walking distance of Grounds and is difficult to reach without a car or access to the Route 8 CAT bus. To the right of the entrance is a board displaying polaroids of many of the restaurant’s patrons — which include several University students already — and the doors are open every day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. There is also a happy hour every weekday from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m.

The atmosphere of the place was very calm, and the movie posters on the wall were a nice conversation starter. There were only a few other customers present, but at 3 p.m. Thursday, the place was quiet and perfect for a late afternoon lunch.

When the pizza was brought out, it was piping hot. The sauce was visible beneath the fresh rounds of mozzarella, and the thick outer edge of the crust acted as a border between the basil and the plate. There was a single circle of olive oil visible beneath the cheese.

The crust was crisp on the outside, but on the inside it was chewier than I expected. The tomato sauce was neither sweet nor salty, but tasted solely of tomato. It was not overpowering — in fact, the pizza wouldn’t have been hurt by a little more sauce in the sauce-to-crust ratio — and the dispersed pieces of mozzarella were melted and tasted very fresh. While there was almost too much outer crust, the dough on the bottom was just right. It was thin but not overcooked.

This was a refreshing break from the cardboard, fake-cheese flavor of the myriad chain pizza places around Charlottesville. The pizza was true to the Neapolitan style it was attempting to emulate and really tasted as good as it looked. It was the best I have had in a long time, and it didn’t leave me feeling heavy or unhealthy after I finished eating.

The 12-inch pizza was the standard size of most personal pizzas, although the six slices were enough to split with a friend. After trying my first slice, I was almost willing to order and eat a whole second pizza all by myself. Had I done so, I may have tried the chicken and pesto pizza — which caught my eye on the menu — or perhaps the double pepperoni pizza.

The Stonefield MidiCi is located at 2550 Bond St., sandwiched between the Regal movie theater  and Altar’d State — an upscale clothing boutique — making it the perfect spot to stop in for some grub after a fun day out with friends. Next time you have a hankering for wood-fired Neapolitan style pizza, be sure to check out MidiCi.

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