After the recent closing of Shelter Island’s Bella Vita Pizzeria, Kyle’s Restaurant has returned to its roots to help bring pizza to the masses.
And the staff is thinking outside the pizza box with imaginative inventions like the “Surfboard Pizza” and “Sicilian Turban.”
“We were making pizzas 12 years ago,” said the restaurant’s owner, who goes only by the name “Kyle.” “When Primo Pizza came, we stopped; then they became Bella Vita.”
Late last year, Bella Vita Pizzeria quietly closed its doors on North Ferry Road. As the only pizzeria on the island, that meant Shelter Islanders were pizzaless. But when those ovens went cold, restaurants like Kyle’s and Elli’s Country Store stepped in to fill the cheesy void.
“We had the pizza ovens, so all I had to do was buy boxes and we just started doing it,” Kyle said.
Kyle’s Restaurant makes pizzas with all the basic toppings, as well as Neopolitan-style pizza and gourmet pizzas with toppings like eggplant parmigiana and barbecue chicken.
But then there is the surfboard pizza, which is a long, oval-shaped pie.
“We ended up just making one long pizza and we didn’t have anything to put it on, so we got a long wooden shelf that I’d had for a while and we called it ‘Surfboard Pizza,'” she said.
The reaction was swift as someone came in and immediately bought the entire pizza for $26. Surfboard pizza, which ranges in size from 36 to 40 inches, is now a regular menu item.
” Inside we put sausage, peppers, onions and mushrooms,” Kyle said. “It was so pretty, everyone asked, ‘What is this?'”
“I’ve gotten so many responses to the surfboard pizza, it’s hysterial,” she continued. “We’ll make it and throw it in the case for someone who wants a quarter of it, half of it, or the whole thing.”
Last weekend, Kyle’s introduced a meatloaf and mashed potato pizza.
“We’re playing with it,” Kyle said. “We also made a yardstick pizza, which was 36 inches long. But you would have to put it in a baguette bag because it is so thin.”
The eatery, which also makes fresh pasta, is also having fun with their other dishes, offering mini-lasagnas and baby calzones.
“Right now it’s like an experimental kitchen. We made a Sicilian Turban,” she said referring to her latest creation. ” We did it in a 10-inch cake pan that’s six inches high. It looks like a cake, but the way we shaped the dough it looked like a turban.”
“We’re having fun; that’s the important thing,” she continued.
Kyle’s restaurant is located at 27 N. Ferry Road on Shelter Island. It is open Thursday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information called (631) 749-0579 or visit kylescooking.com.