Page 18 - WCM 2023 Winter Flip
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   Chef Alex Cosentino-White getting ready to load a fresh sourdough pizza into the new state-of-the-art electric oven at Norway Pizza XChange.White has transformed the Main Street space occupied by Ari’s Pizza for 35 years with lots of new menu items while keeping some of the old favorites.
Paris. While not focused on the same fine dining experience of their flagship restaurant, the new owners, led by Chef Alex Cosentino-White, have focused on high quality ingredients and a healthy dose of nostalgia.
The new menu features a Duck Panini with house- made Sourdough, caramelized onions, gruyere and peaches, but also pays homage to its predecessor, with Ari’s Old-Fashioned Italian Sandwich, the classic with ham, American cheese, onions, peppers, tomatoes, pickles, lightly drizzled with nice olive oil, and a dash of salt and pepper. A taste that never gets old! Other Ari’s classics include slight twists on the Eggplant Parm Sandwich, and the Meatball Sub, featuring sauce from hand-crushed whole Italian tomatoes, Mozzarella and Parmesan, and the ever-popular
Steak Bomb. On the new side of menu, you’ll find a Chicken Caesar wrap, Chicken Panini with arugula, avocado, tomato and house-made Green Goddess dressing (only the Bleu Cheese dressing is not crafted in-house), and a Three-Cheese Panini with Gruyere, Fontina and Bleu cheeses, with caramelized onions.
The synthesis of old and new, also reflected in the vintage booths and dining room dubbed “Memory Lane,” is no coincidence. It turns out that Chef Alex has a long relationship with the place, having been close friends with the previous owner’s son, and holding fond memories of the pizzeria from childhood. It also turns out that Alex has worked with some of the
Norway Pizza XChange honors its predecessor at its Norway location with Ari’s Old Fashioned Italian Sandwich. This is the classic treatment with ham, American cheese, fresh onions, peppers, tomatoes, and pickles, olive oil, salt and pepper. Simple and delicious!
country’s finest chefs in some world-class restaurants, from Miami to Boston and New York! While he and his partner were looking for a new restaurant,
he stopped by Ari’s and heard from Chris Farrar, the owner for 35 years, that he was looking to sell the establishment. “I went in for a pizza and walked out with a pizzeria!” Alex told me. A few months later, Norway Pizza XChange was up and running.
And then, of course, there’s the pizza! While there was nothing wrong with Ari’s original pan-baked, crispy- crust style (I certainly ate enough of it over the years!), and no one style of pizza will appeal to everybody,
for this writer the new version is a big step up from the previous style. The hand-tossed sourdough crust
is satisfyingly chewy and robust, with a fresh, almost nutty flavor. House pizzas include classic Cheese and Pepperoni, along with a “Spicy Roni” with hot honey; Prosciutto with garlic cream sauce, arugula, and Parmesan; and my current favorite, the Margherita, with tomato, fresh mozzarella, and basil. Oh, and then there’s beer, another change from Ari’s beerless past! You’ll find a few taps for dining in, and an eclectic selection of local and global beers to go. Here’s to the next 35 years!
It’s clear that exciting and imaginative food is alive and well along Maine’s West Coast. Personally, I’m looking forward to a long winter, enjoying the snow, and digging deeper into the extensive menus of these three exceptional spots. Hope to see you there! Y
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