Tasting Buffalo at Casa-Di-Pizza Restaurant in Sarasota, Florida
“Casa-DAHpizzah!” is how Bea of the Buffalo, N.Y., restaurant Casa-di-Pizza answered the phone each time radio personalities Taylor & Moore of station 103 WPHD called. Bea was a familiar and loveable voice on Buffalo morning radio while I was growing up in the ’80s.
Everyone was called “Sweetie” and she had an interesting perspective on life, as you can hear in these radio clips. For instance, in radio clip one under “Bea,” with confidence she recounted the history of trick-or-treat beginning when Christopher Columbus landed in America. Ah, I feel very nostalgic listening to those clips. Life was so simple as a teenager.
Tasting Buffalo in the Sunshine State
Every now and then I have a hankering for Buffalo cuisine only true Western New Yorkers can appreciate. A burrito from Mighty Taco. A charbroiled hot dog from Ted’s. Beef on weck (a kummelweck roll with kosher salt and caraway seeds) topped with horseradish. Or sometimes, it’s simple as pizza or wings. Yeah, we Buffalonians love our food and I’ve listed eight favorites in this article, “Quick Travel Guide to Buffalo Food.”
Despite a healthy population of Western New Yorkers, it’s challenging finding authentic Buffalo food on Florida’s Gulf Coast. There was a Niagara Falls-based restaurant called Honey’s in Tampa serving up great Buffalo cuisine but unfortunately it closed down.
Casa-Di-Pizza in Sarasota
College pals who relocated to Tampa Bay also enjoy embracing their inner Buffalo foodie and recently introduced me to Casa-Di-Pizza in Sarasota. The original restaurant – where Bea from the radio show worked – is on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo and it’s only been relatively recently that this Buffalo restaurant opened two eateries in Florida: in Bradenton and Sarasota.
Pizza is Buffalo-style ($13.50) which means lots of cheese and small, thick slices of pepperoni. Wings ($13.35 for 20) were bathed in finger-licking sauce with the right amount of bite and plenty of celery and blue cheese dressing. The beef on weck ($7.95) was just like home with tender beef and generous amounts of salt and caraway seeds atop the roll.
True Buffalonians will appreciate the Sahlen’s charcoal broiled hot dogs ($2.50). Or, pick up a pound of Sahlen’s to prepare at home and wow your friends. ($4.95)
Of course, if you’d rather not dine on Western New York cuisine, there are other entrees to nosh on such as Italian dishes and American specialties such as fried fish and chicken fingers.
Embrace the Buffalo Spirit
Yup, this is a Buffalo eatery, I though after entering. Labatt’s Blue decor accented the walls alongside photos and posters supporting the Buffalo Sabres (hockey) and Bills (football). Yeah, this definitely looks like a great place to cheer on the favorite Buffalo sports teams.
Casa-Di-Pizza is located in a shopping center near Lakewood Ranch and easily accessible off University and I-75. It isn’t fancy but a great substitute for connecting me to my hometown roots.
8193 Tourist Center Drive
Sarasota (Bradenton), Fla. 34201
Tel: 941-359 2300
Note: If you’re plugging this address into your GPS, use Bradenton as the city.
Disclosure: This post contains a link to support my traveling habit.