As my friend John and I drive to Pastrami Dan’s, we see a rather large advert about a pizza slice & a drink, which hooks him and me. So, after shoveling a couple of pastrami sandwiches, we head over to Valento’s Pizza (21 9th St S, Naples).
I’m just hoping they have a half-decent slice—the night before, we had ordered from another pizza joint, which was a supreme disappointment. The worst thing that happened was that I looked at Valento’s menu instead of grabbing a couple of slices.
Next thing I know, I’ve ordered crinkle-cut cheese fries with housemade ranch sauce, meatball sub, and chicken parmesan.
The fries come out first; all I remember is how great that housemade ranch sauce is. I would drive here just for that ranch; you get my drift?
The cheese slice arrives and doesn’t look like a regular pizza. The crust is more like a mix of cracker and NY-style, fascinating and different. The sauce and cheese are great; no complaints here, but I need to do some toppings next time.
The menu mentions the meatball hoagie being Grandma’s Secret Recipe Homemade Meatballs with fresh red sauce, garlic butter & mozzarella cheese. So Grandma, please adopt me.
You MUST order the Chicken Parm
Now, here’s the real star of the show, the chicken parm. It’s pretty bold of Valento’s Pizza & Hoagies to proclaim “The #1 Chicken Parm in the state of Florida” on their menu. I’m unsure if that’s true since I haven’t tried every chicken parm in Florida, BUT…it is the real mother f’in deal.
Everything about this sandwich is perfect, from the breading on the chicken to the bread. It’s mind-blowingly good, and you can quote me on that.
What a freakin’ find this place is, but I’m sure the Naples natives know about it since it’s been around for more than ten years. Next time, I’ll be back with the Burger Beast army, and we’re trying everything on the menu if it kills me.
Valento’s Pizza & Hoagies CLOSED in August 2022.