The Bivio pizzeria announces its closure

Tomasso Colao, the chef-owner of Montclair’s Bivio restaurant, where he’s been serving sought-after Neapolitan wood-fired pies since 2018, announced on Instagram last week that he was closing the restaurant for good.

The statement came after a temporary shutdown from October last year to January 2022, which Colao said was then recovering from minor surgery.

Its recent announcement did not give a reason for the closure, which was September 17.

The casual and cozy BYOB restaurant on Pine Street was known for its long list of limitations — no takeout; no delivery and no slices – as well as its authentic Neapolitan pies made with high quality ingredients such as San Marzano tomatoes, homemade mozzarella and olive oil from Salerno.

But the real magic was in the thin, tender crust of his personal little pies, which had puffy edges with big golden bubbles in the Neapolitan tradition. Colao, who previously ran a pizzeria named Bivio in Little Falls with his wife Jackie, used a sourdough starter he calls “Baby” that he’s been feeding daily for 20 years.

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During Bivio’s early years on Pine Street, the restaurant was accessible only and open only for dinner Wednesday through Saturday. More recently, Colao instituted a reservations policy with a 90-minute limited dining time and was also closed on Wednesdays. Still, people lined up outside to sit in the small restaurant, where they could watch the chef immersed in his craft as jazz music played.

Colao, who had been a professional jazz musician, occasionally played his alto sax in the halls of Montclair.

Last year, Colao noted on Instagram that he had a “beautiful new oven in Naples – one of the best in the world” – which he planned to turn back on in 2022.

Last week he said on Instagram:

“It was a bittersweet decision, much like an espresso Napoletana, bitter until it tasted sweet from the unbrewed sugar at the bottom of the half cup, like life – And so on…”

Helen J. Jimenez