Make Woodhaven Your Next Stop For Pizza

Mount Pleasant Pizzeria Serving Up NYC Inspired Pizza & Italian Favorites Inside Subway Themed Eatery

Jeff Walker, Food & Beverage Writer

Communities in New York, New Jersey, and southern Connecticut especially during the 20th century all thrived on Jewish owned delis, German bakeries, and Italian pizzerias. The diverse ethnic groups excelled in making bagels, deli sandwiches, pastries, and desserts, as well as serving up great pizza and pasta. These neighborhoods eateries and their staff often became extended family members, welcoming guests in once or twice a week, whether to dine in to grab takeout.

Established in 1933, Barcelona's Pizzeria in Garfield, NJ is the authentic Italian beginnings for the all new Woodhaven Pizza in Mount Pleasant, with the overall theme adopted from a subway stop alongside Woodhaven Blvd in Queens, NY. Three families covering 90 years of experience combine to bring real NYC inspired pizza east of the Cooper, with hundreds of northerners visiting on a regular basis to enjoy familiar Italian favorites and the pizza they grew up eating in the tri-state area (NY, NJ, & Conn). aaaaaaaawoodhaven4

Owned and operated by New Jersey natives Craig and Sonia Sodano, noted chef Vincent Barcelona, as well as husband and wife team Ty and Karen Raju, the group have a love affair with pizza, and together they are committed to delivering high quality thin crust pies, as well as pastas, salads, and Italian heroes (deli sandwiches). Located inside Suite 620 at 1701 Shoremeade Rd. (Indigo Market) in Mount Pleasant, Woodhaven Pizza is a welcome addition to the ever growing food & beverage community in greater Charleston, and a much needed NYC style pizzeria east of the Cooper.

I often rave about pizza. Having been raised in the Garden State, pizza was a mainstay of my diet growing up. I've come to realize there are pocketed areas catering to specific pizza in the country. You have the deep dish Chicago style, gourmet west coast pizzas, and then there's the New York City thin crust pizza that folks in the northeast recognize as true pizza.

Craig and I agree, authentic NYC pizza is born out of three set in stone principles. There's the dough, the tomato based sauce, and the cheese. If you use inferior products you get a pizza that resembles most of the what gets delivered from the nationwide chains. If they're offering up a $6 pizza, do you really think they spend money on quality ingredients. Absolutely not!

On the flipside of the pizza equation, Woodhaven Pizza make every pizza from scratch starting with the dough that is a tried and true hand-crafted nine decade old recipe providing the right consistency, allowing for taste and crispiness, with a tad bit of chew.

As their website declares, exceptional dough requires nothing less than exceptional sauce. As expected, Woodhaven make their own sauce starting with the best tomatoes from La Valle San Marzano Italian, a 60 year old family owned company in southern Italy known for producing plum tomatoes that are used in upscale Italian eateries the world over. Top that with the finest mozzarella and grated parmesan cheese and you end up with hellacious pizza. Mangia! aaaaaaaawoodhaven8

In the heyday of NYC thin crust pizza, the menu boards were different than today. Years ago pizzerias offered cheese, pepperoni, and Italian sausage pies, alongside a few basic toppings like onion, mushrooms, and green peppers. True diehards like myself would venture as far as adding anchovies on the pizza. While cheese and pepperoni pizzas remain the frontrunners, Craig admits the Margherita pizza topped with fresh mozzarella, basil, and extra virgin olive oil comes in a close third.

Woodhaven Pizza currently have 17 signature pies including Eggplant Marinara and an Italian Meat Pie amply layered with pepperoni, salami, capicola, soppressata (cured Italian dry salami), tomato sauce, and mozzarella. It's a carnivore lovers delight. You can craft your own pizza from 18 different toppings, or dine on a classic Sicilian, a 14" deep dish square pizza. aaaaaaaawoodhaven3

A large cheese pizza can easily feed a family of four with two small kids, or a couple with hearty appetites for just $19. I guarantee if you have slices left over they will be just as awesome the next day preferably warmed in the oven for crispier crust, but still tasty via the microwave.

Not in a pizza mood. It's not a crime yet. Woodhaven Pizza is not just another NY/NJ pizzeria. They are also a sandwich shop and Italian ristorante.

Craving that New York Italian Sub found only in delis in the Big Apple, than order up the aptly named hero overflowing with salami, mortadella, capicola, sopressata, prosciutto, provolone cheese, tomato, shredded lettuce, oregano, oil and vinegar, all on a 10”seeded semolina bun from Melone Brothers Bakery out of Linden, NJ.

Melone Brothers partially bake the bread about 95% of the total bake time, blast freeze their products, then store at temperatures from 0-10°C. The bread is then distributed to customers via frozen trailers and baked off as needed, directly on their premises, allowing for the appetizing aroma of fresh hot baked bread. Totally awesome! aaaaaaaawoodhaven19 1

This is nothing new to northerners, but most pizzerias offer their signature meatballs as an appetizer or as part of the anti-pasta (not pasta) menu. Woodhaven Pizza serve up three golf ball sized meatballs derived from Craig's grandmother's hand-crafted recipe using a blend of beef, veal, and pork with a handful of grated white bread and seasonings to provide taste and cohesiveness. Served at your table under a bed of marinara and parmesan cheese. Also great as a Meatball Parmesan hero.

Like I've said all along, Woodhaven doesn't skimp on quality or tradition! That touches on their pizza, a couple of signature heroes, and anti-pasta which includes some killer garlic knots and fried mozzarella. Now let's look at their baked pasta menu.

Four signature entrees that are easily Italian staples. I'm already a fan of their Stuffed Rigatoni, which is their version of ravioli. A hearty serving of rigatoni pasta stuffed with ricotta cheese under a blanket of marinara and fresh mozzarella. Woodhaven Pizza offer two Baked Ziti dishes, one with marinara and another with classic vodka sauce with ground prosciutto. Both can be further enhanced by adding meatballs. aaaaaaaawoodhavenpasta1

Have I whet your appetite yet? I would be remiss if I didn't mention a few of their sweet treats aka dolce. How about an Woodhaven Original S'mores Dessert pizza made fresh with Nutella (hazelnut cocoa spread), toasted marshmallows, and crushed graham crackers. No campfire needed, just a ravenous sweet tooth. Woodhaven further offer up gelato, Italian ice, and an Old Fashioned Root Beer Float. That takes me back to my childhood.

While any of confections would satisfy your sugar fix, if you really want to indulge yourself on Woodhaven's dulce than I recommend the New York Cheesecake. Craig admits they don't make it themselves, because it's hard to compete with New York's famous Carnegie Deli which is where he gets his cheesecake from. Known for their CPM–Corned Beef & Pastrami Maven, as well as a Reuben Sandwich, and cured meats, cheesecake from Carnegie Deli is as iconic as Sabrett's Hotdogs on the street or pizza from Barcelona's Pizzeria in Garfield, NJ. aaaaaaaawoodhaven6

Are you sensing a pattern here at Woodhaven Pizza? Craig, Sonia, and Vincent are hell bent on bringing the same quality of food and hospitality they experienced growing up in and around New York and New Jersey to greater Charleston. While NYC style pizza may not be for everyone, the team realize there are enough northerners living in the low country, and even more locals who have come to appreciate authentic NYC inspired pizza, that adding a pizzeria smack dab in the middle of Mount Pleasant was an ideal and tasteful decision.

But wait, there's more! Although several pizzerias serve up beer and wine alongside choice soft drinks, Woodhaven Pizza have secured a full liquor license, which means they can mix up several of your favorite adult beverages. They currently offer up a half dozen signature cocktails carrying distinct NYC names like Penn Station (Bulleit bourbon, fig syrup, orange & chocolate bitters on the rocks) and the refreshing Area Code 212 (Tito’s vodka, elderflower liqueur, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, & a splash of prosecco).

Of course they have beer on draft including a couple from Holy City Brewing, another in a can from Rusty Bull, and a pilsner from Brooklyn to keep with the overall NYC theme. Just a few of the more than a dozen beers available at Woodhaven Pizza. The wine list includes fruit of the vine that would make a sommelier blush (pun intended). Rounding out the beverage list is your favorite Coca Cola products, because nothing goes better with pizza than either a cold beer or a refreshing glass of Coke.

You can enjoy all of these potent potables at their very friendly bar, where you can dine on pizza slices during lunch and catch up on the latest sporting news on two flat screen TVs. What's left to mention. How about the dining room itself.

As noted above, the overall ambiance at Woodhaven Pizza reflects the NYC subway system, with the wall decor and seating resembling a subway station or an actual car (seating). Thankfully it doesn't carry the same odor as do most of the NYC subways, rather the smell of authentic fresh made pizza wafts through the air at Woodhaven. aaaaaaaawoodhaven2

Bringing the Big Apple and Mt. Pleasant together Woodhaven provide an aerial view of Manhattan overhead, alongside a subway map and signage that details their east Cooper surroundings. Very clever indeed! There's even a larger big screen TV along the dining room wall that further provides a feel of a rail car station.

I don't usually rave about restrooms, but at Woodhaven Pizza the two are plastered in vintage rock n' roll album covers. Not mind-blowing, but a nice touch especially for baby boomers. Enough already about their potty rooms.

Let's take a quick refresher course. Woodhaven Pizza do their best to provide IFCF (Italian Favorite Comfort Foods). While they don't offer up an extensive pasta and hero menu, they serve the most preferred items from that list. Where Woodhaven excel is on the pizza menu delivering traditional pies alongside a host of create your own, all with three authentic core ingredients, i.e, the dough, the sauce, and the cheese. Yes gluten free options are available. aaaaaaaawoodhaven22

Furthermore they serve up all these Italian staples in a clean and family friendly environment including a sunlit or moonlit patio. Coming in by yourself or with a friend, maybe sit at the bar and enjoy food & drink while keeping up on the game. Select wines, cold beer, local brews, and Coke products. Did I mention they also serve wings and insalata (that's Italian for salad), including a couple that are vegan friendly. aaaaaaaawoodhavenpizza111 1

For those who haven't fully come to appreciate NYC style thin crust pizza I offer up, maybe start with Woodhaven Pizza. While a subway car (priceless) doesn't let off at their location, nor does a CARTA bus, they can still be found at 1701 Shoremeade Rd. in Indigo Square midway between I-526 and the IOP Expressway in Mount Pleasant. Maybe use your GPS, or just follow the authentic aroma to station MP aka for Mount Pleasant or in this case Magnificent Pizza! 

Open 11am - 10pm Tues thru Thurs, 11am - 11am Fri & Sat, and 11am - 9pm on Sunday. Closed Monday to rest up to make killer pizzas the other six days of the week. Happy hours are on tap soon. For more visit