Ciao a tutti,
The time has come…
After nearly five years of offering true pizza Napoletana in Montclair, Bivio will be closing our doors as of September 27, 2022.
Bivio has been a wonderful journey for Jackie and me. Our vision of opening a small authentic pizzeria in June 2011 has exceeded all of our hopes and dreams.
It has been our pleasure to serve our guests/friends with the best quality ingredients available to offer a true pizza Napoletana. We thank all of you for your support and you will always remain special to us. A huge shout out of thanks to our wonderful staff who made the dream possible and were always there for us, you are truly family. Finally, we’d like to thank all the food writers for the articles and awards acknowledging Bivio as one of the best pizze Napoletana in the area.
Jackie and I have now reached a crossroad (un bivio) and look forward to the next chapter, another journey perhaps. This has been a bittersweet decision, much like a Napoletana espresso, bitter until tasting the sweetness of the unstirred sugar at the bottom of the demi tasse, like life - And so it goes…
Grazie mille e tante auguri !!
Tommaso , Jackie and la bambina (our natural yeast culture).
We heard time and time again, “It’s all about the dough!”
True to Neapolitan tradition, and the passion of the pizzaioli, we construct our pizza using “00” flour from Naples, San Marzano tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, fior di latte or bufala mozzarella, and sea salt.
Our dough is gently mixed in a spiral mixer using a 27 year old “lieveto madre” (natural yeast culture) with a slow fermentation, then with intense heat is baked in our custom made wood burning il forno for about 90 seconds.
We hope you enjoy our selection of “il pizze.”
Tommaso & Jackie
Bivio is open Thursday-Saturday, 5:30pm-8:30pm.
Reservations only, no walk-ins.
Due to the small size of our dining room, we unfortunately cannot accommodate parties larger than five and cannot split parties.
Bivio does not provide takeout, takeaway, or delivery services.
We are BYOB.
"Don't let the simplicity fool you. Each ingredient — from the homemade candied walnuts to the wine-macerated cranberries to the prized Amalfi Coast lemons and Italian olive oil that make up its dressing — is stellar; the flavors, divine."
Montclair’s Tomasso Colao closed his wildly popular pizzeria in Little Falls, Bivio Pizza Napoletana, three years ago but, he has said, "the fire called him back." Pizza aficionados are thrilled that he heeded the call. Colao's teeny (24 seats) three-month-old Bivio Panificio in Montclair is already a huge hit; it takes no reservations, so expect to wait for what some say is the best Neapolitan pie in the region. "He's amazing," said Bryan Gregg, executive chef of Orama restaurant in Edgewater. Colao offers five traditional pies plus two specials the four nights Bivio is opened, Wednesdays through Saturdays only. So get there early — the doors open at 5 p.m. — and bring along a bottle of wine.
They serve a variety of Neopolitan-style brick oven pizzas that make your mouth water as you’re watching them go into the oven for 90 seconds then come out, such as appetizer plates that consist of mixed greens, sweet dried sausage, imported smoked prosciutto, parmigiano reggiano and olives. Their brick oven pies vary from red marinara pies, margherita pies, white bianca pies to porcini mushroom pies.
If they don’t already sound delicious enough already, every ingredient used to make these fine works of art is either imported fresh, or made in house! The fresh mozzarella is made fresh every single day! These pizzas are also not made with any ordinary dough. It is used from an Italian tradition of aged dough that is reused and “fed” with flour (imported from Naples) and watered every day. At Bivio, they call their dough, “the baby.” They tend to their baby and feed it every day to keep it happy and healthy, thus producing happy customers due to the unique flavor that it adds to their pizzas and fresh baked breads.
“It’s a yeast culture that we acquired from a bakery that has been making bread on the island of Ischia, which is in the bay of Naples,” said owner Tomasso Colao. “It has been in our hands for 14 years.”
Tomasso Colao plays three instruments: flute, alto sax and pizza oven. A veteran of bands and restaurants, the Paterson native set out in 2006 to master the pizza of his family’s roots. “Neapolitan pizza should be airy and chewy,” he says, “with a beautiful lightness, easy to digest.” His is. It took four years practicing at home, until “my wife finally said, ‘I think you’re there.’” So in 2011 he and Jackie opened the original Bivio, with a full menu, in Little Falls. It was a sensation. But, exhausted, they closed in 2015. In December, locals rejoiced when the Colaos reopened in Montclair, just making pizza and salads. “Cooking with wood is related to music,” says the 64-year-old. “There’s a rhythm to feeding the fire, and moving the pies around in the heat is like shaping a phrase.” A pie is composed like music: “You need harmony, contrast and balance, but don’t overdo it.” That’s why Bivio’s menu offers five composed pizzas and two specials. (“We take time developing these combinations,” he says. “But if garlic doesn’t agree with you, I’ll take it off. I may modify the pie to compensate for what I’m taking away.”) With just 24 seats and no reservations, you may stand in line, but once you’re in, you feel like family.
Click HERE to listen to the podcast.
We dropped by for a pie the other night and Colao’s pizza Napoletana is still incredible. The old-world vibe of the restaurant compliments the historic Pine Street area; dining at Bivio feels like being transported to a simpler time.
There’s no shortage of Neapolitan-style pizzas to eat in New York and New Jersey, but few are made with the same care as Tomasso Colao’s.
In Montclair, New Jersey, he prepares pies the old-fashioned way with a 950-degree brick oven, with natural yeast, genuine San Marzano tomatoes, and oregano all imported from Italy.
Colao says that he only moonlights as pizzaiolo—he’s a jazz musician by trade; you can catch him at area clubs like Trumpets and The Falcon— but Bivio is his second smash restaurant.
The pizza options are limited to the best, most perfect topping options there are. We’ve enjoyed the margherita and wild mushroom pizzas but what the must-order pie is, if available on the specials menu, is the lemon and Soppressata pizza. Lemon on a pizza? Yes, yes, yes. The sweet lemons are sliced paper thin and layered on the pizza with slightly funky Soppressata. The combination is brilliant and causes me to pause, close my eyes and emit the smallest of whimper each time I have it. The thing that’s even more exceptional than the toppings is the best pizza crust I’ve ever had. It’s charred is certain places, chewy and tangy/salty – pure perfection. Tomasso creates the incredible dough from a natural yeast starter. If, god forbid, the lemon Sopressata pizza isn’t available, the sausage and peppers is a close runner up.
Bivio is a BYOB so grab that bottle of Italian wine and make your way to Montclair. Note that I reluctantly wrote this recap as I’d prefer to keep Bivio a bit under the radar for now.
Bivio (973-256-0050) is the total opposite of Kinchley’s. Walk into the small, warmly decorated storefront and you will find yourself transported to Naples. With a wood-fired oven built in place by a master builder from Naples, the pizzas are cooked to perfection in 90 seconds. Favorites include the Porcini Mushroom, and the Potato and Sausage. There are always two specials rounding out the regular menu. And now, Tom (owner and baker) has started to offer artisan breads—check out the Ancient Baguette, it’s heavenly. Bivio is BYO.
I recognize the oven because there’s only one kind that looks like this: It’s a traditional Neapolitan pizza oven. Using mixed hardwoods such as cherry, peach, oak and other seasonal choices, the interior bricks heat to 1,000 degrees and cook an individual-size pie in 90 seconds to two minutes. Naples is known for a specific way of making pizza, and the ovens — and the method — haven’t changed in centuries. There’s no gas, no electricity, just an age-old art.
Bivio means “fork in the road,” and the Colaos took theirs after he had cheffed in several fine dining restaurants and she had been a social worker, both for more than 20 years. It was time for a change. When their friends loved the pizza they were making after their trip to Italy, they knew this was it. As they experimented, they honed in on ingredients. All the tomatoes are San Marzano, the garlic, mushrooms and herbs are fresh, the olive oil is extra-virgin, and the mozzarella is made in-house. They’ll be baking bread in the oven in the coming weeks, so you can buy yours fresh daily ($3 to $5) from the same dough as the pizza. Great idea.
That’s what Montclair’s Tomasso Colao discovered not long after after he and his wife Jackie sold their hugely popular pizza business, Bivio Pizzeria Napoletana in Little Falls (we wrote about Bivio back in 2014 and then raved about them in Where to Eat Pizza).
“The fire was calling me. I missed the oven, missed the dough,” says Colao of his decision to open a new venture. He looked at other locations, including one in Bloomfield, but nothing worked out. There was one location, at 107 Pine Street, that he always loved. It had been a butcher shop, a fish market, a bakery, and lastly, a cheese importing business. Colao, who has lived in Montclair for over 25 years, had always loved the building and the space, so when he saw it was available, he jumped.
Today, the Pine Street storefront buzzes with the sound of jazz music playing in the background (when he’s not baking, Colao is a musician, playing saxophone, flute and clarinet) and the heady scent of bread baking.
*Bivio does not allow substitutions or changes to our menu*
107 Pine Street, Montclair, New Jersey 07042, United States
Sunday - Wednesday: Closed
Thursday - Saturday: 5:30pm - 8:30pm