Jenna Lawrence | Opinion Editor
Trigo Wood Fired Pizza is a relatively new restaurant in Willimantic, located on Main Street and only about a five-minute drive from campus. As they opened in January of 2023, they are still in their first year of business. This week a friend and I were invited by the owner, Patrick Griffin, to come try a few menu items.
When we arrived at the restaurant right before opening, which is at 4 p.m., there were already customers waiting outside, giving us high expectations of the quality of the establishment. Upon entering, I was pleased with the décor, design, and atmosphere. The interior design was a mix of modern, industrial, and retro-chic. The ambiance was inviting and pleasant due to the warmth and comfort of the wood-fired ovens and lighting, perfect for a casual lunch or dinner date. Additionally, the layout of the restaurant was very functional, as can be seen by the photo above – with enough room for the waiters to get their job done and organized enough so that even when it’s busy, it isn’t too crowded. At the pizza bar, which is where we sat, above the workstation, there was a beautiful skylight that let in nice natural light, contributing to the ambiance of the restaurant. There you can also watch the process of the pizzas being made and put in the ovens, which was cool and interesting to observe.
When the time came to order our food, the service we received was amazing. The host and server’s service were very accommodating and kind, which is something you always want to experience in food service. They started us off with water before we ordered drinks. We ordered the Italian soda and Spritz (non-alcoholic of course). The spiced pear syrup in the Italian soda was sweet and silky, making a delicious drink. The Spritz consisted of non-alcoholic Italian aperitivo, lemon, soda, and an orange slice. It was citrusy, sweet, and tart all at the same time.
For an appetizer, we ordered the house focaccia and table green salad. The house focaccia was served with oil, infused with multiple herbs. The focaccia was served right out of the brick oven and was salty, herby, and well-baked. We also ordered a small table green salad, which was a surprisingly large portion size. The salad was peppery and citrusy, topped with some fresh dill, and herb crumb, which added a nice crunch to the salad; a good alternative to nuts in a salad that lots of other restaurants incorporate. Additionally, as someone who doesn’t usually enjoy onions unless cooked in a dish, the onions on this salad were delicious, sweet, and incorporated well into it.
For our entrée, we ordered the meatball pizza. It included scamorza, ricotta, caramelized onion, and basil. Scamorza is a type of mozzarella, however, it contains less moisture, Patrick taught us. It has a more pronounced flavor than mozzarella and melts better in the wood-fired ovens. The crust of this pizza was phenomenal. It was thin, fluffy, and crispy all at the same time. The meatballs were savory, tender, and herby, and the ricotta was fluffy and creamy. All these flavors worked and mixed well with each other.
I had the chance to ask Patrick a few questions while he worked the ovens. When asked why he started the business, Patrick revealed that he had been working in the restaurant industry for a long time. He has always been really interested in food and entertainment and wanted to give owning his own establishment a shot. I asked him why Italian food. Why pizza? Patrick’s best friend growing up was into building ovens. They experienced cooking on them, and pizza was the main thing they focused on and most enjoyed cooking. Lastly, I asked Patrick what about his restaurant he thinks Eastern students would most value. “Good pizza,” he said. But also, that the building is large enough to bring a bunch of friends and have a nice gathering there. Additionally, the menu is approachable from a financial standpoint. “You can come in here and have pizza and a soda for around $20, which you don’t always find at a pretty nice restaurant,” said Patrick. He thinks Trigo’s has an atmosphere that all demographics can enjoy and something for everyone.
Trigo Wood Fired Pizza is a restaurant everyone should go to at least once. The prices were affordable, especially for the food’s portion sizes and its quality. Trigo’s was an amazing dining experience and I hope you all have the chance to enjoy their great customer service and wonderful menu options. For more information about the restaurant, visit their website at this link: https://www.trigokitchen.com/.