V Pizza is the idea, creation, and funding of 3 Jacksonville natives. Our vision was to bring true Napoletana pizza to our home town. We knew that if we were going to reach our goal and serve something authentic, that we were going to have to use tools and ingredients that can only be obtained a world away. Prior to opening, the owners all agreed that authenticity was our number one priority. Even if there was initial resistance, we would hold true to that commitment until our community knew the taste and benefits that come from something that has been perfected by Italians for hundreds of years.
Our beginning: People love Chinese food, but have you ever tasted it in China? Very different! While we thought that it was an amazing idea to bring truly authentic, very high quality pizza to Jacksonville… we were also concerned that many people’s opinion of what pizza was would be very different from what we were serving. Imported dry aged Italian meats, San Marzano tomatoes, and 00 flour? Cheese from a buffalo? Pizzas that aren’t perfectly round? Burn marks on the crust? These are all characteristics of authentic Napoletana pizza. We were certainly taking a risk doing something different but we felt confident that if any community was ready, it was San Marco near the heart of Jacksonville. So with that said…the search for a building began…
Our buildings/locations: We looked at many many properties. Some were parts of strip malls or newer properties that could be made to “look industrial or old.” When we visited the building that is currently the first V, it was an old paint store. It was an older building and it was industrial…there was no need to try and manufacture the look. When we first choose that eclectic little building that stood alone and practically screamed industrial “little italy,” V Pizza/SideCar was born! While the back looks like the front and the front looks like the back….our main goal was to have the focus on the ovens, ingredients, people, and nothing else. The group decided that we liked and wanted to continue with locations that are as unique as our food. We’ve used this same thought process for all our locations since.
After amazing community support, we moved onward, keeping our vision in tact with the Jacksonville Beach (V Pizza/Flask & Cannon) & Mandarin (V Pizza – Tap Garden) locations… and then in August 2016 we opened our very first Gainesville location (which also has a Sidecar)! Fleming Island location is in the works (late 2017/early 2018 opening! Each location has its own lovable qualities: from the building, to the people, to the cocktail bar, to the tap garden. We are proud to say they all have their own endearing qualities! Do you have a favorite location yet? We want you to feel welcome! We want you to love the ovens, ingredients, and people…as much as we do! We believe that our quirky buildings lend itself to just that!
Our ovens: Since the ovens that you see are the ONLY cooking devices we have in each restaurant, you can guess how important they are to us. After months of research, we found that the first piece of the puzzle to delivering a TRULY authentic pizza is the ovens. As much as we would have loved to save thousands of dollars by building our ovens on site or getting from a distributor “specializing” in wood fired ovens, the best of the best lives in Naples, Italy and his family has been making these ovens for hundreds of years. Our relationship with Stefano Ferrara was born as we commissioned him to build three ovens in the exact same way his family has been making them for generations…and we named them Felice, Amore and San Marco! Within 3 months they were on a ship bound for Jacksonville. These amazing ovens finish your pizza in about 90 seconds! We’ve stuck with it and now, out of tradition, we continue ordering the best ovens on the planet…naming them appropriately as they arrive!
Our dough: Our dough is made every morning in our dough room exclusively from 00 flour imported directly from Italy. It is not bleached or enriched, and naturally has a lower gluten content than any other flour you’ll find in America. In addition to it having the very best flour, there is no sugar (which is in almost every other pizza dough in the US), and there are absolutely no preservatives. The ingredients are simple: flour, sea salt, olive oil, distilled water, yeast, and nothing else! Combine all of this with being finished in a 950 degree oven and you have a pizza dough that does not bloat you in any way.
Our Mozzarella: The history of Mozzarella is linked to that of the water buffalo back to 596 AD. Mozzarella Di Bufala is an oft-copied but never duplicated gem of fresh, drawn-curd cheese made exclusively from whole buffalo’s milk. Most people don’t know what water buffalo milk tastes like, but upon the first bite it is unmistakable. It is porcelain-white in color, spherical in shape, and has a very thin, glossy, edible rind. Mozzarella di Bufala has a springy texture and a pleasant taste with a faint mossy smell, reminiscent of the humid grazing fields of Campania in southern Italy. If you’ve never had the real Mozzarella before, it’s definitely time you tasted this sublime delicacy. Cheeses made from buffalo milk are higher in calcium, protein and lower in cholesterol than cows milk. It is highly nutritional. Mozzarella di Bufala Campana is a fresh product with a 19 day life, so it arrives weekly at V Pizza for your pleasure. It is always on certain pizzas, such as the Margherita pizza or Pizza Paolo but can be added to any other pizza by request.
Our tomatoes: Our sauce is made from San Marzano tomatoes, widely considered the best and most flavorful tomatoes in the world. They are shipped directly from Italy and as with all of the other ingredients we use at V, there is absolutely no artificial preservatives which means that we are constantly shipping in tomatoes!
Our prosciutto: By definition, Prosciutto di Parma is the gold standard of Italian prosciutto and it has been for centuries. It is produced in the province of Parma, Italy, using only four ingredients: specially-bred and fed Italian pigs, sea salt, air and the most important ingredient…time. The famous logo (the Ducal crown) is the final branding in the identification process that guarantees the highest quality and authenticity. We are proud to exclusively offer Prosciutto di Parma at V pizza!
Our bacon: All we had to do was mention the word “bacon” and we grabbed your attention! Fortunately, what we serve is even better (gasp) then what you are used to. What V serves is called Pancetta, and is often called Italian bacon. That’s a true enough description, but unlike American bacon, which is most often smoked, pancetta is unsmoked pork belly that is cured in salt and spices and then dried for several months. Pancetta adds a distinctive pork flavor without infusing bacon’s smokiness and guess what else…no nitrates!
Our peppers: The best peperoncino in Italy can be found in Calabria. Even if the peperoncino flavor is spicy, it is unmistakable and is referred to by different regional names throughout Italy. The Peperoncino pepper is used in the rustic cooking of southern Italy, where it gives a kick to simple preparations. It can also be eaten fresh, sprinkled over food, or preserved in oil, dried or ground into a powder. At V Pizza, we have chosen the Calabria Peperoncino pepper to spice up your pizzas (and sauce when requested).
Our meatballs: Our meatballs are 100% all natural and gluten free. When ordering an appetizer of meatballs you may, at first glance, think that they look a bit small…but don’t be fooled because the taste is larger than life! The reason why they appear smaller is because there are no bread crumbs which at most restaurants equates to about 40% of the meatballs size. So enjoy one of our most celebrated appetizers without any guilt from the gut!
This is just a glimpse into some of the offerings that V pizza has….whether they are listed here or not, all of our ingredients have the same thing in common: NO artificial preservatives, all natural ingredients and no GMOs. We hope that you enjoy your experience at V Pizza and appreciate the efforts that we have gone through to bring old world Italy to Jacksonville and Gainesville!