Pizza by the slice — and more! — is, at long last, available in Disney Springs thanks to the arrival of Pizza Ponte!
As one third of a trio of eateries in Disney Springs, Pizza Ponte provides a fast-casual option for guests hoping to try out the Italian cuisine offered by this new group of restaurants headed by the Patina Restaurant Group. Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante (a table service restaurant) and Enzo’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar will make up the other components of the group when they open in coming weeks.
By the name, you obviously know that the headliner item is PIZZA — more specifically, Sicilian pizza served by the slice. But sandwiches, pastries, and espresso also make up the menu.
But I’ve said the word “pizza” enough by now that I’m sure everyone’s more than ready to dig into a slice, so let’s start our tour now!
Pizza Ponte is the starting point of the greater story of the business ventures of Maria and Enzo. You’ll find the new locations in The Landing, with nearest landmarks being STK Orlando and Paradiso 37 (and, of course, the VERY soon-to-be-open Edison).
In fact, you’ll enter Pizza Ponte under the sign for Maria and Enzo’s Ristorante, under the simple label of “Pizzeria.”
You see, Pizza Ponte — like Maria & Enzo’s and Enzo’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar — is located in what was formerly the Air Terminal for Disney Springs in the 1930s, according to story.
Maria and Enzo — an immigrant couple from Italy — ran a bakery in the terminal’s lobby.
After the Air Terminal closed, they opened Pizza Ponte. The pizza-by-the-slice shop was so successful in the town of Disney Springs that Maria and Enzo were able to purchase the closed terminal, allowing them to open Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante and a formerly hidden network of tunnels from the Prohibition-era that is now known as Enzo’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar.
Elements of the story can be seen in the simple, clean design where the curved walls and windows echo the Art Deco style of the terminal.
You even get a feel for the era by looking at the cool Cast Member costumes, complete with fedora-style hats. I love these!
This also gives me a chance to say that the Cast Members themselves provided such a terrific part of the atmosphere, too. They were friendly, enthusiastic, and more than willing to answer questions. It was also impressive how well organized they were on this, the very first weekend of service. Let’s face it: any sign saying “Pizzeria” always brings in a line, even for a brand new spot. And they handled everything with promptness and courtesy.
You can see the cast at work behind the pizza counter, and also next to the pizza ovens busily churning out pie after pie.
And you can check out the sandwich station with ingredients on display next to the carving machine getting ready to cut fresh slices of meat for the shop’s hand-crafted sandwiches.
The cafeteria-style line ends with a huge bakery case displaying those sandwiches along with a pretty large selection of desserts.
You can carry any of those goodies to one of the indoor seats we saw earlier, or to the smaller areas of seating just outside.
But we’ve gotta pick up those goodies first, so let’s head right back in!
Pizza Ponte specializes in Sicilian Pizza by the slice, but you’ll also find Italian sandwiches, pastries and desserts, and espresso on the menu. In its first week, the spot is opening at 11AM for lunch, but within the next week they plan to start opening at 8AM daily to serve Italian breakfasts of pastries and specialty coffee. But let’s check out the headliner first: PIZZA!
Currently you’ll find five square pizza options on the menu, starting with Tomato with mozzarella and basil.
The Four Cheese Pizza — prepared without sauce — is for serious cheese lovers.
Forest Mushrooms is next on the list, above Spicy Salame.
And here is a sneak peek at my slice of Porchetta (topped with pancetta, hot peppers, and onion) before we dig into it later in the post.
But even though you’ll receive a paper menu upon walking into Pizza Ponte, you’ll still want to peruse the counter before making your choice, because there are more options than what is listed on the menu. On our visit, these included the Cauliflower Pizza, and Zucchini Pizza.
There was also Pepperoni available, which was going fast. (I’m sure it’s a popular option for the kiddos… and us adults, too!)
I have a feeling that they have some fun in the kitchen creating new options, so be sure to check out everything when you visit! That includes The Big Roman — the only triangle-slice pizza, which was Cheese on my visit (listed as the Chef’s Daily Special Pizza on the menu).
I don’t think this picture quite captures just how HUGE the slices are of The Big Roman Pizza. It well earns its name, and it’s on the top of my list for my next visit, no matter what’s on it that day.
But we’re not done yet! Not even close… let’s check out the Sandwich menu.
These hand-crafted sandwiches are all served on Roman pizza bread, including the Tonno (Sicilian tuna), the Pomodoro, and the Prosciutto di Parma.
Also on the shelf are the Ponte Sandwich (with parma ham cotto, stracchino cheese, and pickled vegetables), the Finocchiona (salami, diced carrots, and artichokes), and the Muffuletta.
In the same case (not listed on the menu) is a selection of salads like Chicken Caesar, Antipasti, Mistacanza, and Frutti di Mare.
These sit next to the opposite of salad… DESSERTS !
Cruffin, and Tiramisu, and Cannoli… Oh, My!
You may think your choice is easy… think again. The Parfait choices include Limoncello, Pistachio and Mascarpone, and Nutella.
The Baba are orange liqueur-soaked cakes.
Smaller treats include Biscotti, Thumbprint Jelly Cookies, and Chocolate Truffles.
And once more you’ll spy items not listed on the menu like Croissants.
Of course, you can pair any of those with a specialty espresso drink.
Other beverages available include beer (Crooked Can and Goose Island, currently), wine (a pinot grigio or chianti), Coca-cola drinks and a selection of bottled Italian sips.
Some Italian packaged goods are available, like Amaretti Del Chiostro cookies.
Even Panettone was at the ready for the holidays.
Seriously, there is a TON packed into this small shop! I knew going in I wanted some serious pizza, but which slice to choose? It’s tough to decide once you’re in there, but fortunately I got some advice from the Chef, who is from Italy.
You know what else here is from Italy? The flour used to make the pizza crust — it’s imported, just like the pizza in Epcot’s Via Napoli. The water is imported, too. The philosophy being that great pizza starts with a truly great crust… and regular flour and Florida’s water just isn’t gonna cut it. Anyway, the Chef told me his favorite is the Prochetta, topped with B&G Hot Peppers, onion, and pancetta (like the Four Cheese Pizza, it’s without sauce).
He gave me fair warning that it is spicy with those peppers… which is something I always love to hear. But let’s start with that crust.
It’s perfectly golden and bubbly, with a lovely crunch surrounding the soft bread. It’s a terrific base for those toppings, which include a paper thin slice of pancetta, lending to the savory flavors without being too salty of an addition on top of the cheese.
But my favorite part was the heat from the peppers, which continued to build the more I ate. No two ways about it: this was just a great slice of pizza. It’s also quite substantial, thanks to that thick crust and plentiful cheese. Once slice should do the trick… until you’re ready to walk back up to the desserts .
Nosh or Not?
You may want to visit Pizza Ponte if:
- You LOVE the idea of pizza by the slice when you’re traveling with a group (thereby avoiding arguments over what toppings you can all agree on for a whole pizza).
- You want to check out a slice of the cuisine that this new trio of Italian restaurants has to offer, but prefer to do so in a fast-casual setting (as opposed to the bar and table service options).
- You like a good slice of pizza… PERIOD.
You may want to skip Pizza Ponte if:
- You’re already planning to check out Enzo’s Tunnel Bar or Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante once they open to try out something from the new trio that way.
- You prefer thin crust over thick for your pizza (in which case, Via Napoli is your best bet).
- Umm… I can’t think of another reason. You can walk out of here having enjoyed some really yummy pizza for seven bucks. Done.
Some details! Pizza Ponte is not currently accepting the Disney Dining Plan; however, that is not unusual in non Disney-owned locations in Disney Springs during their opening phase, and a Cast Member confirmed they should be able to accept Counter Service credits in the coming weeks. Current operating hours are 11AM to Midnight, but within the next week or so they will start offering breakfast daily (pastries and coffee) beginning at 8AM daily.
My, how the pizza landscape in Disney World has changed! It really wasn’t all that long ago when Disney guests were mostly limited to Counter Service pizza in the parks and resorts. (I’ll spare you my thoughts on that now, but if you really want the whole truth, you can read all about it here.) Now we have Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, Via Napoli, and you can add Pizza Ponte to the list of spots where you can get truly good — and even great — pizza in Disney World. The more, the merrier, I say!
Of course, this isn’t the last time you’ll be seeing us in this neck of the Disney Springs woods. After all, we have a few more spots to check out…
… REAL SOON. So, stay tuned .
Would you like to grab a slice of pizza at Pizza Ponte? Please let us know with a comment!