Finding Magic Pizza in Mystic, Connecticut
Just around the corner from Mystic Pizza is a slice of vegan magic
In 1988, America was introduced to two iconic things that changed the trajectory of the world at the same time: Julia Roberts and the enchanting pizza available in Mystic, CT.
Now a true Roberts expert will point out that Julia Roberts first came on the scene with the rom-com “Satisfaction,” which came out in February of 1988, while the iconic “Mystic Pizza” wasn’t released until October. And a passionate pizza aficionado might also feel compelled to point out that the mysterious Portuguese pizza featured in the movie was also its own marvelous anomaly before it was on the big screen being served by three adorable brunettes with messy curls and love lives.
But if we get hung up on these details, we’re going to miss a vastly more important point, which is that there is a little pizza parlor nestled in the basement of a big yellow house on the waterfront of Mystic, Connecticut, that serves some of the best vegan pizza you’re ever going to stuff into your face.
As you drive into the picturesque downtown of Mystic, you’ll pass the iconic sign for Mystic Pizza. You might even feel a need to stop and take a picture or buy a shirt. You can get a great Impossible Burger there now, but they don’t have vegan cheese for their pizzas* and besides, you’re going to need to save room for what’s hiding just around the corner. When you turn down Water Street off W. Main Street (the popular tourist-y strip), you’ll see a large butter-colored Victorian house with a little unassuming sign hanging off the patio that says Pizzetta. You’ve found it.
We’ve been visiting Pizzetta for almost five years now, and we’ve seen their vegan options expand from just a plain Follow Your Heart cheese* pizza to a full vegan menu that offers animal-free versions of almost everything on their regular menu. Vegan Pollo Pancetta Panini? Yes. Vegan Caprese salad? Yes. White pizza? Yes. Bruschetta with vegan mozzarella? More Yes. They even have a special “smooth” sauce you can order that’s subtly milder for kids or anyone who prefers a sweeter tomato sauce.
Pizzetta’s vegan Meatless Lovers Pizza is made with Fakin’ Bacon, Smart Pepperoni, and Beyond Burger. We almost always order a pizza with the vegan pepperoni because their pizza ovens are so hot and dry the vegan pepperoni curls perfectly, creating a pizza just like the ones you remember from your pre-vegan days. It’s a trick that’s hard, if not impossible, to copy at home.
They have a full bar with a cocktail menu, wine list, and twelve (mostly New England sourced) beers on tap. Local artists play music on their large dog-friendly patio on weekends. The staff is friendly, knowledgeable about what’s in their vegan options, and informative about the area. Bonus: The bakery next door, Sift Bake Shop, has monster-sized vegan and gluten-free chocolate chip cookies.
Truth: I’ve never spotted Julia Roberts dramatically yelling at anyone about dating drama at Pizzetta. In fact I’ve eaten there several times and still know virtually nothing about the dating lives of the wait staff and I’m OK with that. But Pizzetta is an inviting locally-owned pizza parlor that offers everything you need to enjoy a vegan meal with everyone you love (including your dog) in the heart of one of the most charming little towns in the state of Connecticut, and that’s pretty magical.
*You can order a cheeseless pizza at Mystic Pizza because their crust is vegan but that mysterious Portuguese sauce they rave about in the movie does have a dairy ingredient, so you’d have to substitute for a marinara sauce. The staff there is also very friendly and honest about what is vegan-friendly on their menu.
**Their menus currently say they use Daiya vegan cheeses but we were informed by the wait staff that they’ve recently moved to Follow Your Heart vegan products.