HUNTERSVILLE – “Huntersville is almost perfect,” thought Bradley Battaglia, of Buffalo, N.Y.
His son, Tim, had moved down in 1998, and Bradley and his wife, Donna Battaglia, loved to visit. During one 12-hour road trip down, Bradley Battaglia called his son to ensure a pizza would be waiting for them upon their arrival.
“I won’t tell you the name of this pizza place,” said Bradley Battaglia with uncharacteristic seriousness. “But it was the worst pizza ever! And we realized there was just no Western New York-style pizza available in the area.”
Later as Bradley and Tim Battaglia cooled off in the pool, they hatched a plan to open a Buffalo-style restaurant and pizzeria. Bradley and Donna moved down and in September 2003, Taste of Buffalo opened and Huntersville became absolutely perfect.
The restaurant looks like the typical pizzeria nestled in a strip mall. However, the walls are covered with all things Buffalo: the Buffalo Bills, Genesee Beer, a mural of the skyline. Patrons have given the restaurant most of the paraphernalia.
The menu also looks like the average pizzeria until you delve deeper. There are Sahlen’s hot dogs, which are charcoal-broiled in Buffalo; an authentic Roast Beef on Weck, which is a traditional Buffalo sandwich. And customers must not forget about that Western New York-style pizza.
Just as the city of Buffalo is in-between New York City and Chicago, so is its pizza. It is halfway between the thin crust of New York City and the deep dish of Chicago with a chewy, crispy bite.
At Taste of Buffalo, the dough and sauce are homemade. All the vegetables topping the pizza are fresh. The result is a perfect pie with a crust that is a crowdpleaser: perfectly crisp while still being fresh and chewy.
While the pizza may need an explanation, the Buffalo-style chicken wings need no introduction. However, the Battaglias add fresh twists to the Buffalo classic.
“We buy the biggest chicken wings available,” Donna Battaglia said. “It’s a local poultry farm, so we literally get them two to three days after they are killed.”
The chicken is never frozen, which makes all the difference in the taste. The wings are deep fried and then char-grilled with your choice of sauce (there are 18 different ones).
The wings are a true monument to Buffalo: meaty, crispy and full of infused flavor.
The menu is constantly evolving with new menu items from the imagination of the Battaglia family.
Take the Greek Topped Salad Pizza. The romaine is freshly chopped with plenty of feta, black olives, red onion, cucumbers and tomatoes. This salad is then served on top of homemade garlic bread sticks. The culmination is a delicious, crisp, hearty salad that could easily be an appetizer for four people or several meals for one person.
Joshua Pettit, of Charlotte, moved from Buffalo and could not find his favorite fare from his hometown. Someone recommended Taste of Buffalo, and he has been ecstatic with the food.
“I’ve been eating here every couple of weeks for 10 years,” Pettit said. “That Roast Beef on Weck is amazing. Plus the pizza and wings.”
Bradley Battaglia smiles as he hears the compliment.
“We operate on the fact that the fresher the product, the better the food.”