“Oh no, not another pizza place!” “More Italian food?” “Waaaah!”
Those were the uninformed moans on Metuchen’s social media pages when owner Calogero (Carlo)
Badalamenti and his partners announced their plans for the former TD Bank property in town two years
ago. Residents were fooled by the name “Wood Stack Pizza Kitchen.” Oh sure, there’s pizza. It is wood
fired in an open kitchen with both traditional and elevated toppings (like kale, bacon marmalade, honey,
farm eggs and handmade gourmet cheeses to name a few) but wait…. there’s more!
Taking a few menu pages from WSPK’s former persona in town as the now defunct Novita’s Bistro and
Wood Stack’s flagship Pine Brook location, there is also some of the finest cocktails around (made with
house squeezed juices and craft sodas,) delicately prepared seasonal specials and nouveau Italian and
American dishes like Tuscan Ribs and Black Sea Bass. Did I mention they make their own bread, ice
cream and pasta too? Or that they have the best and largest outdoor seating space in town, as designed
from inception and not simply due to COVID? I could go on and on, but instead I encourage you to check
their menu and website out for yourself here.
Meanwhile, I was all set to offer you a recap of my Valentine’s Day meal as a supplement and then we
went again for brunch today now my whole world has changed. The brunch is new (ish) and has given
me a lot more to unpack for you!
We were a foursome on Valentine’s Day and two of us were on “keto” so of course they were prepared
to choose proteins and veggies and confirm WSPK’s reputation for the best brussel sprouts in Jersey and
then BOOM! One whiff of that wood fired stove had them both declaring a keto-free holiday and
ordering pizza. For her, the Burrata with roasted tomato, basil, burrata, pecorino Romano, tomato
sauce and arugula pesto. For him, the Tartfufo with roasted mushrooms, fior di latte, fontina, and truffle
They came pretty darn close to finishing those generous pies, too. It was more than the carb
deprivation, they loved them. Each was a well composed meal thoughtfully layered on a crust that is
crisp on the outside yet tender and airy outside. The latter traits are even more visible in the country
My companion and I however are well acquainted with the pizza already so we spread our orders over
some of those other categories I mentioned. First, a fancy cocktail for me please! The cucumber vodka
gimlet with lemon and lime juice and agave is refreshing without being too sweet or citrusy. Do I even
need to say it was delicious?
For him, the seared scallop special. I almost hate to tell you how fantastic it was because it isn’t always
on the menu. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of consistency in my dish.
For my entrée I chose an old favorite of mine from Novita that hasn’t changed, the pappardelle
Bolognese. It’s a creamy tomato, beef, veal and pork ragu over fresh wide ribbon-shaped egg pasta and
I’ll sum it up by simply telling you that I will never get tired of it as long as I live. My relationship with
this pasta has already outlasted several of my relationships and I suspect it will “lap” a few more. Note:
pastas are offered in full or half portions which is very convenient to “save room for dessert.”
I went for the half order because dessert was a topic before we even ordered dinner. We’d decided to
get the Nutella pizza and as many more of the five remaining dessert choices as we could manage:
flourless chocolate cake, cannoli ice cream and creamy butterscotch budino. The Nutella purists among
us declared the pizza heaven on a sweet crust with “just enough” berries for balance and vow to try the
Nutella ice cream next time because somehow they didn’t notice it till after we ordered.
If you know me, you would guess the chocolate cake was my pick but Wood Stack’s predecessor Novita
has broadened my horizons so much over the years that I prefer the butterscotch budino. Far from the
“bottom of my grandma’s purse hard candy” tasting butterscotch it’s fresh and rich with chocolate
ganache and a dollop of cream on top. Each of our choices deliver that sought after “I must have done
something good in past life to deserve this treat now” taste and we end the night feeling loved on this
One of best thing about WSPK is the atmosphere that is warm, despite its massive two-story size, and
casual yet refined enough to feel like a special occasion. Our cliché hallmark holiday meal has been given
new depth as a result. It’s quite possible one could experience some added width as well if they weren’t
careful but it’d be totally worth it.
Speaking of family and special occasions here is a gratuitous photo of a cute baby on her birthday!
Tabitha was gifted this custom Wood Stack made loaf of bread from her Mom for her first birthday. In
addition to accommodating most any dietary restrictions Wood Stack is happy to do whatever they can
to make it party. Funny, when her Mom told me about it I expected it just to be the number “1.” Tabitha
is almost two now and she still has a few slices left.
Right about here was the end of this article until an unseasonably nice day mandated an outdoor brunch
outing this morning. Much like the pizzas, some of the savory brunch choices were carefully planned
meal experiences. I decided to let the menu tell me was best for me and got the breakfast skillet with
two over easy farm eggs, prosciutto di parma, mixed mushrooms, spinach, rosemary potatoes and their
spectacular country bread. Proper roasted potatoes trump hash browns or home fries any day and the
prosciutto delivered all that bacon does without taking over the taste buds. It was a tasty and satisfying
combo that wasn’t too salty and also didn’t need salt as it was seasoned perfectly.
My sweet tooth and liver don’t wake up til after 1PM, but he went for a Nutella croissant and aperol
spritz. He enjoyed them so much I think it took all he had not to ask me to leave the table so he could be
alone with them. There’s no photo because he would not let go of the croissant long enough and I
didn’t want to get stabbed with a fork for getting too close.
The rest of the brunch (Saturday and Sunday only til 3PM) menu is rounded out with pizzas, paninis,
pastas and plenty of other stuff for whatever side of the BR or the UNCH you happen to be on. Any time
of the day you choose to visit Wood Stack Pizza Kitchen, there will be something you are in the mood
for, and it will be some of the best whatever it is that you have ever had.
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