Last night The Wife, The Rooster and I headed over to the newest pizza shop to join the several others already located in Rosemount, Bella Pizza and Mediterranean Cuisine. Located in the center of downtown Rosemount and a stones throw from both Reno’s (which is moving) and Carbone’s while being less than a mile from both T.O.P.S. and Fireside, Rosemount has become the South Metro mecca for mom and pop pizza joints.
Opening on Tuesday, Bella Pizza in Rosemount is owned by Karimi Abdelmajid, previous owner of Dominick’s in Eagan, and Khalid Benlamlih who were looking to take the success that was Dominick’s and have it in a location with more dining space. They offer Mediterranean and Moroccan dishes as well as cheesesteaks and NY style pizza. With a very similar menu to that of Ramy’s in Apple Valley as well as T.O.P.S., Bella Pizza is attempting to set itself apart in a very crowded market for pizza, cheesesteaks and Mediterranean foods in the South Metro.
We arrived just after 5 PM on Wednesday, were handed some laminated menus, and told to sit where we’d like. The dining area, just like the rest of the restaurant and kitchen, is spotless but sparse. A single LCD TV hangs on the wall and seating for about 35 is spread throughout the space. Under the TV is a line of windows peering into a preschool across the hall and a single window which looks into the split kitchen in back adorns another wall while several windows offering a view of the cars on MN-3 is is the last. Unfortunately this setup does not permit those working in the main part of the kitchen or the counter to see when people are ready to order or need service and the lone woman working the counter seemed generally uninterested in providing any useful help on that evening. While it was only the second day they were open, many people seemed confused as to the setup and went up to the counter to order.
I came looking to get cheesesteaks and pizza. While they offered pizza by the slice even in the evenings, at $1.75 a piece it didn’t make much sense to get them when a large cheese pizza was only $11.50 ($1.75 for additional toppings). We eventually placed an order for two waters, a large (14″) with mushrooms, an original cheesesteak which comes with mayo, fried onions, green peppers and cheese ($7.50) and an order of fries ($2.50). After an inordinately long amount of time our waters arrived and as the server was walking by another table she was flagged down by another patron who asked where her meal was as it was supposed to be delivered with her children’s items. The server, without apologizing, simply said she knew that and it was in the oven. It wasn’t, it had been sitting on the counter from the time I placed our order more than 10 minutes prior but who am I to judge service on day two?
Eventually our pizza arrived and a few minutes later our cheesesteak and fries. Not being able to deliver ordered items simultaneously seems to be a problem at this point so please note that until they get their act together you may be eating at different times than the rest of your party.
The pizza didn’t look much like NY style to me aside from being cut into wedges. The crust was too thick and there wasn’t nearly enough grease (three and four drops on two different pieces from opposite ends of the pie). The edges were crispy and not nearly as doughy as I prefer. The sauce was completely tasteless and reminded me a lot of the complete lack of flavor/kick experienced on our fairly recent trip to Joey Nova’s in Tonka Bay. The cheese and mushrooms were plentiful and aside from my gripes about it not being NY style, it was an acceptable pizza and one I’d prefer to order over any Midwestern-style in the area.
The cheesesteak, however, was another story entirely. Soft and chewy bread, plentiful and tasty meat, and gooey and tasty cheese, Bella had this one nailed. While nothing like what you’re going to find in PA, it is world’s beyond what you’re going to find at T.O.P.S. down the street or anywhere else in Minnesota. While I haven’t tried every single cheesesteak offered in this state, mostly because I fear/know it will be terrible, this one is worth visiting if you’re in the mood for a fairly reasonable cheesesteak facsimile. While my half of the large cheesesteak was properly cheesed, the half that I left for The Wife was not. She also prefers a lot more mayo than they provided and asked for a side of mayo to load hers up some more–something which may be required if you get a half with little cheese.
While we did not try the majority of the options on the menu, many others do look interesting especially their Moroccan dishes and the various Mediterranean appetizers. One main concern I do have is that they were unloading breadsticks from a plastic bag in the back and loading them up with garlic out of a plastic container. While I could not be sure the garlic butter was purchased, the breadsticks certainly were–something which is a huge no-no when you have a giant floor dough mixer sitting three feet away. Any decent pizza parlor better be making their own dough and if they are, why not spend the extra couple of minutes and make the breadsticks too? But if they’re already cutting corners on day two with breadsticks, are they serving premade hummus and baba ghanouj too?
Overall I liked the cheesesteak, something I’d definitely order again, but the pizza–part of their namesake–was a “meh”. We paid just over $23 for the meal and left with two slices of pizza and full stomachs. Not cheap but certainly nothing that’s going to break the bank. If you’re into cheesesteaks I suggest checking them out but if you’re looking for the best NY style pizza in town, you’re not going to find it here.
Have you ever eaten at Bella Pizza in Rosemount (or Dominick’s) before? What did you think? What did you have when you went and what would you like to try in the future? Where have you gotten a decent cheesesteak in town? Whatever you have to say about Bella Pizza go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Bella Pizza and Mediterranean Cuisine
14485 S Robert Trl
Rosemount, MN 55068
651-322-1818 / 651-322-1820
Hours: Monday – Thursday 10 AM to 9 PM
Friday: 10 AM to 10 PM
Saturday and Sunday: 11 AM to 10 PM
(June, July and August add one hour to closing)
See all the pictures from Bella Pizza and Mediterranean Cuisine on Flickr here.