Danny's, in the Scitico section of Enfield, close to the Somers line, probably doesn't get a lot of mall traffic like the ubiquitous chains farther west on Route 190. But if you've finished shopping and find your stomach rumbling, it's worth heading a little farther into town for great pizza — or almost anything else your taste buds desire.
The vibe: Come as you are. This neighborhood joint is as casual as it gets, with vinyl booths and paper placemats. Service is friendly and welcoming. Large groups share pizza, wings, pitchers of beer and loud laughter.
There are a few nice surprises on the beer and wine menu. Besides the standard Budweiser, Danny's also has Long Trail and regional microbrew Berkshire Brewing Co.'s Steel Rail Ale on tap. Wine lovers looking for something beyond cabernet and white zinfandel can choose Lambrusco and Chianti (by the half-bottle). . For the big spenders, Danny's offers Dom Perignon champagne for $160 with two slices of pizza.
The food: The huge menu offers pub-grub appetizers, salads, quesadillas, grinders and wraps, pasta dinners, burgers and specialty chicken sandwiches. And then there's the pizza, with nearly every topping imaginable. Even the pickiest eater will find something to munch.
Danny's creative "designer" pizza lineup includes a BLT pie (lettuce, tomato and mayo are added after baking); a Rajun Cajun with andouille sausage, hot sauce and a spice-dusted crust; chicken Parmesan; chicken cordon bleu; and primavera. Pizza lovers looking to build their own gourmet pie can choose from specialty toppings like sun-dried tomatoes, feta, caramelized onions and artichoke hearts.
We started with an order of fried cheese ravioli ($5.99), delicious guilty pleasures. The crunchy breading and warmed herbed ricotta filling were irresistible, though we thought the accompanying marinara dipping sauce needed a little more spice.
I decided to build my own pizza, choosing Danny's "regular" crust and a white sauce (diners can also choose multigrain or New York-style thin, with red, white or pesto sauce) topped with caramelized onion and feta cheese. The crust, bready and on the thicker side, was just the way I like it, and the salty feta was a perfect foil for the sweet sautéed onions. Each bite exploded with rich flavor.
From the "designer" pizza menu, we chose a small clams casino pie with whole baby clams, fresh garlic, olive oil, Parmesan and oregano, topped with bacon. The pizza had good flavor, but the clams were rubbery. Then again, if you've ever eaten white clam pizza at Frank Pepe's, you're spoiled for life.
Specials offered that day included grilled pastrami on Jewish rye; a flatbread sandwich with turkey, cheddar and bacon; and a turkey Reuben on Danny's housemade bread.
The bill: Healthy portions, reasonably priced. You can eat well for under $10. Small mozzarella pizzas start at $7.50, and each topping raises the price by $.50. Designer pizzas start at $9 for a small. Pasta dinners with garlic bread and salad top out at $13.25. Six-ounce gourmet-topped burgers and chicken sandwiches are $6.50, well below what you'd pay at an upscale burger pub.
The particulars: Open Sunday, noon to 10 p.m.; Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Free delivery with a $12 minimum. Daily in-house specials.
The verdict: A likable local spot with plenty of imagination.
•Leeanne Griffin writes about food and local dining on her blog, http://funwithcarbs.com
Danny's Pizza, 535 Hazard Ave. (Route 190) Enfield; 860-763-5511, www.dannys-pizza.comCopyright © 2015, CT Now