I get a lot of raised eyebrows when I mention we stopped in Worcester on a recent trip up north to New Hampshire and Maine. But I had a plan. It involved stopping about halfway – somewhere in Massachusetts – and advance requesting the perfect lunch recommendation from Leeanne Griffin, journalist at the Hartford Courant A La Carte and food blogger/founder of Fun with Carbs.

Enter Volturno, where you’ll find a wood burning oven turning out Pizza Napoletana inside a former car dealership.

Keep in mind I live under 10 miles from New Haven area, so Volturno’s crust was a little on the thick side for my personal taste, but that didn’t stop me from loving the gourmet combinations they’re serving up on their pies. Above is the Pistachio pie, with pistachio pesto, sausage, mozzarella and pecorino.  Pizzas come in one size, like generously-sized individual pizzas – more than I could eat myself. The menu also includes share-able starers, salads, sandwiches and pastas.

Lunch is a great time to go to Volturno, the sunlight pours in the soaring floor-to-ceiling windows and you can see a few reminders that this indeed was a former Buick showroom. It has been beautifully renovated into a restaurant, with a nod to the city’s industrial past visible in the stools, table and lighting.

Right off 290, and right next to ample parking lot – even if you don’t live in the area, Volturno makes for an easy spot to grab a sit-down meal if you’re traveling north or south through the eastern half of Massachusetts. We felt so at home here, we stopped again on our way back from Maine and ordered food to go, for later in the day.

I realize not everyone is looking to spend this much for pizza, but I consider it fairly priced given the airy, light filled dining room, well trained staff, the locally sourced ingredients and unique pizza combinations on the menu. Below is a white potato and sausage pie. Quite different from the either of the potato pies I’ve tried at BAR or Sally’s in New Haven. I’d love to return with a larger group so we can work through all of the pies on the menu! This is definitely our new rest stop of choice when heading to points north.