Marco’s Pizza: inside the Italian kitchen

Fresh dough proofs in the kitchen at Marco’s Pizza in Shelburne.

Fresh dough proofs in the kitchen at Marco’s Pizza in Shelburne.

“Are you excited for the snow?” Co-owner Ryan McGowan teased as I slid into my seat. Even with the impending storm, spring had sprung in Shelburne, and Marco’s Pizza owners have been reinventing the menu to suit the season. McGowan even hopes to include some gluten-free options and expects to offer the new menu before summer.

Amid brightly-painted walls, pies spin, dough proofs, and fountain soda pours. It’s the charming pizzeria one expects when entering. Although I stepped in a little after the lunch rush, loyal guests still trickled in to buy their favorite slice. “We make all the soup, bread, and dough,” McGowan confirmed. And the crew doesn’t stop there.

The basket of homemade zeppole, topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon, is perfect for sharing.

The basket of homemade zeppole, topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon, is perfect for sharing.

McGowan and his fellow helper, Tim, made use of some down time by prepping for the next shift. Fresh dough expanded near the stove while I decided on a slice. It came down to a lunchtime favorite recommended by Tim, the barbeque chicken pizza.  When asked for a recommendation, he admitted, “All of the specialty pizzas are popular.” It’s that simple – Marco’s builds it and they come.

There’s no question as to why. McGowan and his business partner have been throwing pies in Shelburne for six years now. The restaurant is comfortable and inviting, from the open kitchen to family-style seating. Additionally, two TVs deck the walls appeasing cranky children and game-day husbands.

The large slice that arrived hot from the oven took more than a few hungry bites to disappear. Still, in its last moments, I was thinking sweet. When asked what sort of desserts they make themselves, McGowan offered a new treat. One of the board’s daily specials read “zepoli,” or zeppole. Described as being like an Italian doughnut, I found that zeppole is a traditional Italian pastry usually enjoyed on St. Joseph’s Day, March 19. In years past, revelers inhaled them as fast as street vendors could churn them out. Nowadays, they bring the pastry to the home kitchen.

At Marco’s, they keep in with tradition. McGowan plopped the dough into the fryer, and caked the treats with powdered sugar and cinnamon. He added with pride, “We always try to keep it as fresh as possible.” In going with the crew’s knack for building on already tasty recipes, the team was toying with revamping the basket of fritters. “We’re hoping to get some local maple syrup to drizzle over top,” McGowan said. Does it get any sweeter? I hope we won’t have to imagine for very long.

Marco’s Pizza is open Sunday-Thursday from 11 am-10 pm and Friday-Saturday 11 am-11 pm at 4066 Shelburne Road in Shelburne. The eatery offers catering, take-out, and free delivery with a $10 minimum. For more information, call (802) 985-9895 or visit the website at www.marcospizzavt.com.

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