By Gary Nager

While most of us who aren’t from the Windy City only think of deep dish pizza as being “Chicago-style,” long-time Chicago resident Ron Chase, the owner of the all-new Full Circle Pizza & Grill in the Pebble Creek Collection on Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. in New Tampa has something special he would love for you to try.

Ron has been around our area long enough to remember the old Mama Mae’s Pizza, the original tenant in this location in the Collection, and he admits he loved (as I did) Circles New Tampa Bistro, the tenant that replaced Mama Mae’s. I told him that although Circles was my favorite restaurant in New Tampa literally every year since it opened, I also enjoyed the true New York-style pizza served at Bella Vita, which replaced Circles.

In other words, there’s been a lot of great pizza and Italian food served in the space now occupied by Full Circle Pizza (a name Ron came up with in tribute to Circles and because he hopes this location has now come “full circle”), but as a first-time restaurateur, he hopes that everyone in our area who loves great food at excellent prices will come check out his unique new menu.

And, after several visits to Full Circle Pizza, I can assure you that Ron’s food is not only different than anything else in the area, it’s also delicious.

On my most recent visit, I took our entire office to a sampling of Ron’s wonderful cuisine.

We sampled three different crispy, thin-crust, brick-oven pizzas (the “traditional” South Chicago Italian sausage and cheese pie, a tasty BBQ pizza with BBQ brisket on one half and BBQ chicken on the other, and an awesome chicken and pesto pie), several different sandwiches (see below), a savory Full Circle salad (try the Jalapeno ranch, creamy Caesar and wasabi dressings), perfect garlic knots served with a chunky and thick marinara dipping sauce and more.

Ron’s been refining his tomato sauces — both his pizza sauce and his marinara — and I think they’re all outstanding. The meatballs in his meatball sub (I will definitely order it as a meatball parmigiana next time) are very flavorful and the meatballs are the right size — and the oven-toasted Italian bread is to die for.

Although I can’t eat shrimp, everyone who sampled the shrimp wrap sandwich (which is now on Full Circle’s lunch menu, where everything costs just $5-$7 and is served quickly; Ron promises that more items will be added to the lunch menu soon) raved about it. Ron also served us a thick-slice BBQ beef brisket sandwich slathered in a zesty BBQ sauce and most everyone at the table’s favorite — the authentic Chicago-style Italian beef sandwich, heated in its own gravy/natural juices on a Chicago turano roll with sauteed mild green peppers and hot gardinera peppers. You can even order the same Chicago beef and gardinera peppers on a pizza at Full Circle. YUM!

Another favorite at the table was Ron’s Full Circle fettuccine, which isn’t in an overpowering cream sauce. Instead, it is tossed with lemon, olive oil, spinach, mushrooms and a light Alfredo sauce topped with fresh cherry tomatoes. Add grilled chicken or plump, tender shrimp and you have an awesome meal for at least two!

Ron also serves spaghetti with those homemade meatballs, burgers, fries, potato salad, cole slaw, a tasty fried ravioli, fried mozzarella sticks, jumbo wings (which I definitely will sample on my next visit), chicken parm and Italian subs, New York-style cheesecake, plus Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi wines and ice cold draught and bottled beers, all at truly outstanding prices.

The place has been completely remodeled and there are nice flat-screen TVs everywhere, so there’s really no reason not to give Full Circle a try — and please tell Ron we sent you!

Full Circle Pizza & Grill (19651 BBD Blvd.) is open every day except Monday, as follows: Tues.-Fri., 11 a.m.-9 p.m., noon-10 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m.-8 p.m. on Sunday. Reservations are not required and take out and dine-in are always available. Call 994-3700 to place an order or for more info and please be sure to tell Ron that the Wesley Chapel Neighborhood News sent you.

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