Latin Roots Mixed With Italian Flair Form Unique Hillsborough Pizzeria

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HILLSBOROUGH, NJ — Fusing his homegrown Latin roots and his experience with Italian cuisine, Nestor Gonzalez offers a unique take to his Hillsborough pizzeria.

Patch is highlighting Gonzalez and his restaurant, Mariana’s Pizzeria & Latin Grill at 381 Triangle Road in Hillsborough, as part of National Hispanic Heritage Month which runs through Oct. 15.

Gonzalez was born and raised in Ecuador before coming to America in 1999. When he arrived he started working with two Italian families.

“They were old-school Italians. Everything they made was from scratch and always used fresh ingredients,” said Gonzalez.

“Over the 10 years, it was a good chance to learn a lot. I worked my way up then when I had the chance to open my own place I did,” said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez said he stuck with the “old-school” Italian ways of going to the market in the morning to get the freshest ingredients and produce.

However, he also infused some of his Latin heritage into the business with the Latin grill after much demand from customers.

“Most of my employees are Spanish and when we have lunch it was Latin food. Customers would come in to pick up pizza and see us eating our lunch and request some,” said Gonzalez.

So he added it to the menu. The Latin grill is a combination of his roots in Ecuador and also the roots of his employees from Mexico, Costa Rica, and Colombia.

Customers coming into the BYOB restaurant can choose from pizza, sandwiches, and Italian classics along with rice and beans, tacos, burritos, empanadas and more.

“We have a big menu and a lot of variety,” said Gonzalez.

Passionate about his restaurant, Gonzalez is looking for ways to fuse both his Italian and Latin dishes in the future and will also be remodeling soon.

He credits his success to the community.

“This town is good because they like to try things and don’t judge,” said Gonzalez.

Throughout the pandemic, Gonzalez says the support of the community is to thank for his survival.

“Thank God for the people in town who helped us to keep going,” said Gonzalez.

Mariana’s Pizzeria & Latin Grill offers dine-in, take-out, and delivery. For more information visit marianaspizzeria.com or call 908-359-0311 or facebook.com/marianaspizzeria.

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