There’s a brand new pizza restaurant in a part of Madison that you may not be used to venturing to but will be frequenting more often after you try some of what Joe Carlucci has to offer.
Head west on Huntsville-Brownsferry Road towards Athens and a Chevron gas station will be on your right. Immediately past the Chevron is a small building with a new sign – Valentina’s Pizzeria and Wine Bar – and this is where you’ll find the good stuff!
Valentina’s Pizza in Madison, Alabama
Valentina’s opened quietly earlier this month, and owner Joe Carlucci says that business has been incredible.
I was able to witness the high interest in his new restaurant during our mid-day interview before it opened (he’s currently open for dinner only). Five or six different cars pulled up in the first 10 minutes, filled with people who were looking to scope out the place and get their hands on his infamous pies.
Valentina’s was named after Carlucci’s pride and joy, his 8-year-old daughter.
“I’m a girl dad,” he says with a smile. “She was thrilled that I named this place after her.”
About Valentina’s Pizzeria and Wine Bar
Valentina’s menu features salads, calzones, meatballs, pizza, and more. They also serve a lengthy list of beer and wine.
“What we do here is very unique,” explained Carlucci. “This isn’t your average delivery pizza. Our dough takes 4-5 days to make because we follow a slow-fermentation process.”
He continued to share that the quality of everything in his restaurant is extremely high, from his meats to the sauce, the cheese, and much more. His beautiful new custom oven bakes pizzas up to 800 degrees.
His menu currently includes New York-style pizzas as well as pizzas that can be served on a cauliflower crust. When his second oven comes in this winter, he’ll be adding Detroit-style pizzas as well as Sicilian pizzas. Gluten-free options will also soon be available.
Joe impressively makes all of the pizzas himself.
I was fortunate to sample two menu items that Carlucci claims are customer must-haves: the meatballs and “The Valentina” pizza.
Carlucci isn’t paying me a dime to say that the meatballs were the best I’d ever had (I hope my Italian grandmother isn’t reading this!) Made of veal, pork, and ground beef mixture, they’re cooked in his impressive oven and smothered in fresh sauce. They’re absolutely divine. I agree with Carlucci when he says that first-timers need to order the meatballs as their meal or on the side. You won’t be sorry.
“The Valentina” pizza (which was named “Best Pizza” in 2010 by the North Alabama Pizza Show in Ohio) was so flavorful and unique, and my husband and I devoured it. Topped with chorizo, bacon, carmelized onion, cherry tomato, a special sauce, and more, we give it an A+. It’s a safe choice to try if you enjoy flavorful pizzas.
Carlucci’s restaurant features seating for only about 40 people in-house, so he encourages eager customers to please be patient and to consider either coming on the early side of dinner or even placing an order for carry-out.
Carlucci has been in the pizza-making industry for a long time. After running a successful brick and mortar restaurant years ago but then transitioning to the food truck side of the house, he’s now more motivated and excited than ever to be back in a brick and mortar store. The best part: being able to spend more time with his daughter.
“We’re closed on Sundays and Mondays because those are the days that I get to spend the most time with her,” shared Carlucci.
He says that he not only wants his daughter to be as involved in the restaurant as she wants, but that he also invites others with children to come in and enjoy not just eating the pizza, but making it too.
“We’re very kid-friendly here. If your kids want to come in and help stretch the dough, spread the sauce, and sprinkle the cheese, they’re more than welcome.”
Carlucci describes his restaurant as having a relaxed feel.
“I don’t care if you’re in a tuxedo or in sweats. Everybody is welcomed here.”
When asked what keeps Carlucci fired up about working in the pizza industry, he shared that “it’s just in my blood. I love learning, cooking, and being Italian.”
He shared that he also loves teaching others and showing them the craft of making pizzas.
“I love getting into the science of making pizzas. This is more than just water and flour.”
He says that he wants his daughter to see how hard he’s worked and hopes that she feels inspired by him one day. He also says that it’s important that she see that he tries to be nice to everyone.
Carlucci says that he’s just getting started with everything Valentina’s will offer. In 2021 he hopes to launch pizza-making classes for kids, catering options, private rentals of his facility, adult cooking classes, and much more.
Valentina’s Pizza is hiring!
Carlucci is also hiring for immediate help, so please reach out on Facebook or come into the restaurant between 2-4 p.m. to inquire about available positions.
Valentina’s Pizzeria and Wine Bar opens at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and opens at 3 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
25951 Huntsville Brownsferry Road, Suite B
Madison, AL 35756
Call to order: 256-325-2240
Online ordering will be available soon.