Castle Theater Now Federal Hill Pizza
Hooray! Another endangered property has been brought back to life. The old Castle Theater on Chalkstone Avenue is now Federal Hill Pizza. Seven years ago Billy and Christine Manzo opened the first Federal Hill Pizza down in Warren (the very first incarnation was in Federal Hill, hence the name). Two years ago the Manzos bought the Castle Theater and have been working on it ever since. They opened for business about four weeks ago, but a grand opening party is in the works for later this month.
The enormous ground floor has been divided up into connected areas. On the corner is a coffee shop which sells baked goods, espresso drinks, etc., and you can pick up a personal pan pizza at the counter for later . . . in the car.
Further in is the bar area — over a dozen craft beers on tap — from here one can watch the pizza being made in front of the two ginormous ovens the Manzos imported from Naples. Getting the ovens into the building required removing the wall on the Canton Street side of the coffee shop.
Then there is a large, casual area with picnic tables (see below). Lots of room here for all your friends, and there’s a stage, and a screen. This room can also be rented for functions. Great place for a party.
And, there is a small movie theater on the second floor. According to the Providence Preservation Society, the theater was remodeled for three screens back in the 70’s. The second floor theater is not yet up and running.
Built in 1925, the Castle Theatre made the Providence Preservation Society’s Most Endangered Properties List in 1999, 2008, 2009, and 2011. Happily, the “handsome Art Deco terra cotta façade” has survived. The building had not been idle and empty that entire time, but no one had been able to make the commitment that the Manzos now have. This is a great addition to the neighborhood.
The menu includes salads and burgers, but the big draw is, of course, the Neapolitan brick oven pizza. Owner William Manzo, known as Chef Billy, has an extensive C.V. including the Food Network. Most importantly he is “only 1 of 2 certified Master pizzaioli in the United States.”
Federal Hill Pizza, 1039 Chalkstone Avenue, 401.331.3310, (directions)
[Chef Billy top below.]