WALDWICK, N.J. — After 37 years in business, you can bet Natale’s Pizzeria in Waldwick has definite ingredients for success.
One is high-quality Wisconsin mozzarella.
Another: yummy California tomatoes.
“Our marinara sauce is homemade,” said Owner Gary Sernak of Westwood.
For the past eight years, Natale’s (named after Sernak’s former partner) is known in the gluten-free world for its delicious pies.
The gluten-free crusts are a blend of rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, sea salt, red palm oil and more.
“I got into gluten free through a customer of mine whose daughter had Celiac Disease,” Sernak said.
“They were going down to a place in Glen Rock that had gluten-free doughs.”
So Sernak thought, Why not here? Those specialized pies immediately took off.
Between regular and gluten-free pies, 1,000 a week fly out the door of Natale’s Pizzeria on Prospect Street.
But there’s another ingredient that Natale’s tends to well: community. The pizzeria believes in giving back.
“We’re very involved with Waldwick schools and churches and the kids’ sports programs,” Sernak said.
Early on, when people came in and asked for pizza for the baseball or soccer teams, Natale’s gave steep discounts.
Nowadays, Natale’s donates pizzas to the snack stand at all the local home high school games.
A modest man, Sernak will not say his pizza is the best. Not in this area.
“There’s so much great pizza around,” he said.
He’s just happy people like his.
Sernak likes giving back to individual customers, too.
Pies go for $9.95 Mondays through Thursdays if customers pick them up.
Seniors get a 10 percent discount Mondays through Thursdays, again if they pick up their own pies.
Every year in late May or early June, Natale’s runs an anniversary sale and sells pies for what they cost in 1980: $4.67 plus tax.
Today that pie sells for $12.95 – if you’re gluten free, $13.95.
The tradition won’t end any time soon. Sernak is in the process of turning the reins over to his son, AJ, of Park Ridge.
AJ Sernak is a U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq.