NEWPORT — George Marrazzo said when he and his wife, Arry, moved to Newport three years ago, it was his plan to open a pizza restaurant. And on June 20, A Slice of Heaven opened its doors on the Newport Bayfront, at 134 SW Bay Blvd.
“We bought our house here in 2017; I actually moved to Newport with the intent of making crab pizza,” he said. “I love crab, it’s my favorite, and we came here and we were like, ‘There’s no good pizza in this town.’ This is the place.”
Marrazzo said he has been making pizza for more than 20 years.
“I worked for a festival pizza company called Pie for the People,” he said. That company was owned by Ryon Weber. “When I met him, he had a pizza oven on a trailer and an E-Z-UP (instant shelter), and he was just going to music festivals and selling pizza.”
Marrazzo said he joined Pie for the People and managed Weber’s kitchens. “We did large musical festivals. Literally he went from one oven on a trailer to where we had 10 stacks of ovens in a 20 by 20 tent. And we were working at some of the biggest music festivals in the country, basically catering to 100,000 people for a weekend. We would go in with a semi-truck full of equipment and dough and sell like 10,000 pizzas in a weekend. It was high volume.”
For most of his life, Marrazzo has dreamed of opening his own restaurant, and A Slice of Heaven is something he has been planning for about the past 10 years. “My wife is a nurse, so we were already looking at Newport because they’ve got a brand new hospital and a place where she could work. And it being the Dungeness crab capital of the world (and his love of crab pizza), it just made sense.”
A Slice of Heaven offers pizza on an organic sourdough crust made with high protein organic flour. “My sourdough strain is 12-plus years old, from San Francisco,” Marrazzo said. “I feed my sourdough culture twice a day. It’s active, it eats a lot.
“So it’s a thin and crispy sourdough crust with the freshest, most high-quality toppings we can get our hands on,” he added. “I buy all my produce from Oceana (Natural Food Cooperative in Newport).”
He makes pizzas with six different sauces. “We’ve got the red sauce, I make an organic basil pesto, the white sauce is like ricotta and parmesan and garlic. And then we also do just a garlic oil crust — that’s what we use for the crab pizza.”
He also makes berry pies. “I like to do like a strawberry or blueberry pizza on the white sauce. It’s incredible. It’s sweet, but we also put some caramelized onions and a splash of pesto on there. It’s kind of a sweet, savory blend.”
Marrazzo said the response from customers has been great. “I have people who eat here four days a week. We’ve got so many regulars already,” he said. “A lot of people are really impressed with the flavor of the pizza here, and it’s not just the ingredients, it’s the love that goes into it. But what I think is really significant, too, is 99 percent of the pizza places out there use canola oil. We use only pure, virgin olive oil, usually organic if we can get our hands on it.”
He added, “The difference in flavor is amazing, but even beyond the flavor is it’s actually good for you. It’s nutritious comfort food.” People think of pizza as an unhealthy, cheap food, but the reality is, Marrazzo said, that’s not the case if it’s made with real ingredients.
A Slice of Heaven is open every day. The hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. except on Tuesday, when they are 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Currently, seating is limited to the outdoor deck, but many people also buy pizza to go, and the restaurant delivers. “We do three miles for free, and then beyond that it’s $2 a mile — that goes directly to the drivers to cover wear and tear on the car,” Marrazzo said.
People can learn more on Facebook at “A Slice of Heaven,” and by calling 541-574-8899.