My mother and I ate at Villa Privata on my birthday one year ago, so it was time for us to go back again. Last year, my mother had a chicken sandwich and liked it. I had a bowl of garlic pesto pasta and I thought it was good, but I didn’t get as much food as I expected. This time around, my mother and I decided to order a pizza on November 19 because Villa Privata is open Thursdays through Mondays.

Villa Privata is on Jackson Gate Road in the building that was Buscaglia’s Italian Restaurant once upon a time. Buscaglia’s owners decided to build a new building behind the original. The effort was ultimately unsuccessful, and you can see the ruins of the old building alongside  Jackson Gate Road. Villa Privata serves not just pizza but also burgers, sandwiches, seafood, soups, and pasta.

The menu offers six 12-inch pizzas for $18 each, as well as a cheese pizza for $16. We ordered the vegetarian pizza called The Garden. I parked in the large parking lot at about 6:15 in the evening, which was a few minutes before I was told the pizza would be ready. I walked to the rear of the building where the main entrance to the dining room is and found 15 people eating in the dining room that looked to me like it would seat 40 people.

A nice lady, perhaps one of the owners, came out and asked me if I was eating alone. I told her I had ordered pizza and she promptly asked me for the amount. She took the $20 bill and I saw her go back and forth as I waited in the small (and empty) bar area adjacent to the dining room for the pizza.

About seven minutes later, another server came out with my pizza in a standard pizza box with an illustration that looks a lot like the Villa Privata back patio. I had to wait a few more minutes before the first server came out with her young daughter to ask me if I needed change. I said I did, and she went behind the bar to take out the change and give it to me. I was out of the restaurant just before 6:30.

The Villa Privata pizza box

Our Pizza

Villa Privata says their pizzas are wood-fired with fresh mozzarella cheese and vegetables, as well as homemade red sauce and dough made daily. The Garden contains red sauce, extra virgin olive oil, cheese, mushrooms, olives, red peppers, and artichoke hearts.

The pizza crust and ingredients certainly tasted fresh with the first bite. We also discovered that it was hard for us to cut through the crust with a fork, even though the crust had a thin layer of dough with a firm bottom edge to support all the ingredients.

Despite that the crust was thin, we found it to be chewy—so much so that we finally gave up using forks and picked up the pizza to eat. Even so, the effort to bite off and chew pieces distracted from the rest of the pizza.

We also learned that a Villa Privata pizza is meant to showcase the olive oil, not the red sauce. I had to look hard to find the small areas of red sauce in a few places tucked between the layer of cheese and the crust.

The mushrooms and olives were the most plentiful vegetables on the pizza, with only a large slice of red pepper on every slice and slices of artichoke hearts mostly near the center of the pizza. As I got to the outer edge of the pizza, there were very few if any vegetables, and I was left to labor through eating the thick, doughy outer crust.

Villa Privata slices of The Garden pizza

The Verdict

I wonder if I should have dunked the outer crust in dipping sauce like ranch dressing to make it easier to eat. I decided I wanted to try the dough, and unlike the other pizzas we’ve reviewed, the dough was fresh. And the crust was easier to eat the next day when I ate two cold slices, though the outer crust was still doughy and harder to chew through.

My mother found the crust so hard that my mother couldn’t eat the outer crust at all. Otherwise, my mother said the pizza was good and singled out the vegetables for praise. She added that she thought this pizza didn’t match up to the other pizza places we’ve reviewed so far.

So, we give you a green light, especially if you like a freshly-made pizza that emphasizes olive oil. If you like pizzas with a thinner crust, or you want a pizza that’s larger, then you may want to try other items on the Villa Privata menu or another pizza place.

Want to Try Them?

Villa Privata is open Thursdays through Mondays, with lunch hours from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. They offer limited dine-in service as well as takeout, and you can view their latest menu on their Facebook page. When you’re ready to order, call them at 209-256-8084.

Amador Business Ticker food reviews are adventures in local dining with Editor Eric Butow and his mom.