GOOD EATS: APRIL’S PIZZERIA, WV MEETS ITALY

April’s Pizzeria. A little gem that I found in White Sulphur Springs, WV. The owners are Dave and Lisa Long. The restaurant’s namesake and dedication is to their daughter, April.  April passed away several years ago at the age of 21 from a tragic car accident  . . . and as I talked to them and got to know them, I learned just how deep their love for her really is.

I was planning to do a feature article, ‘In search of the best pizza’ in the area, but no need. I’ve already found it. The pizza is incredible. The secret is in the crust. It was truly amazing, but I discovered something much more. I could see the hard work and dedication to customers, family and employees. I thought to myself, there is a lot more to the secret behind the dough that makes the magic crust and I’m gonna find out what it is.

Lisa and Dave are pillars in the community. Whenever there is a need, they are always willing to step up and help in any way they can. Dining at April’s Pizzeria you are not only supporting the Long family but you are supporting the community. – Mariann Hefner, WSS

Initially, I was just driving by the restaurant. I was starving and I thought, ‘’That looks like a nice place’’ . . .  and I love pizza. I went to April’s, thinking that I was just gonna eat dinner, but what I got was so much more. I ordered the ‘Hang Ten’. (Pizza seasoned red sauce, mozzarella cheese, bacon, ham, pineapple, and onion.) It was outta this world. I’ve eaten a lot of pizza in my lifetime, but this was one of the best crusts that I’ve ever had . . . and their prices were ridiculously reasonable; not that it mattered at that point.

After my first dinner experience, I returned to April’s many more times. I have since tried a variety of different things on the menu. One word: ‘’Belissimo’’!!!  The coolest thing that I found on the menu was the infusion of West Virginia home cookin’ meets Italian food. To me, it’s like a match made in Heaven. I’m Italian and I’m a hillbilly . . I guess kinda like, ‘’Fuhghettaboutit over yonder.’’ The memories of my Nana’s sauce permeates the restaurant. Beautiful memories from a little boy.

The wonderful food and the happy family atmosphere makes it really feel like home. The West Virginia/ Italian influence was on the menu, as well. Fried green tomatoes at April’s is like fried zucchini or a fried green tomato (Eggplant) Parmesan.  As well as being a pizza place, it really is a Mom & Pop family restaurant. You can always get a burger and fries or onion rings. Everything they make is homemade and made fresh daily. There really are too many things to list in just one article and they’re all sooooo good, but I’m still dying to know how they make the ‘magic crust’, which I now call it. . . and I plan to find out.

Once we agreed to do a feature article on April’s, I got to meet the staff and tour the kitchen. Right away, I’m thinking, ‘’Now, I’m gonna see where all the magic happens’’. Still weighing heavy on my mind was the secret recipe behind the ‘magic crust’. Well, come to find out, they use 100 lbs of flour everyday. When Lisa told me that, I was speechless . .  and it really takes a lot to render me speechless. As I continued my tour, I met the phenomenal staff at various work stations throughout the kitchen. Each of them working like a cog in a well-oiled machine.  All of them friendly and courteous.  Dave gave me the tour of the pizza oven. He showed me the big bricks at the bottom that were heated which gave the pizza it’s brick oven taste. He said, “Without the bricks, the pizza wouldn’t taste the same.’’  I thought to myself, “Maybe that’s the secret.’’ . . . and I continued on my quest, getting to know the staff and periodically peering out through the kitchen door window; watching a restaurant full of people.

Families, friends, laughing, eating and really enjoying themselves. It was at that point that I knew. I knew what the secret was. They don’t need my endorsement. The love and caring for family and friends is the recipe for the ‘magic crust’, but it’s no secret. All I can say is this, ‘’Stop by April’s and find out for yourself.’’ You’ll be glad you did. Maybe I’ll see you there. I just wanted to say thanks to Lisa, Dave and all of the wonderful staff members that I met . . . and to you, I say, ‘’Buon appetito . . .  and ya’ll come back now, ya here?’’

 – The Random Prophet, HashtagWV #95. November 2017

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