Rosemarie Morelli’s first exposure to Deland, Florida was in 2011. She traveled to the area to help her son and daughter-in-law open a new yogurt shop called Berryville on Woodland Boulevard.
During her stay, Morelli says she fell in love with the charming historic town and the people who lived and worked there. She thought it would be the perfect place to open up a restaurant one day.
That day finally came five years later. Morelli and her business partner opened Urban Brick at 112 North Woodland Boulevard during Bike Week in March 2016.
For Morelli, she was reviving a life-long passion. At the age of 13, her parents opened an Italian-American supper club in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She would spend 20 years in and out of the restaurant business as well as exploring her other passions of interior design and event planning.
Morelli utilized what she learned in all of her professional pursuits when she opened Urban Brick.
Her mission – to bring authentic freshly-made Italian food to DeLand in a comfortable, welcoming environment that resembled what she grew up with back in Wisconsin.
Morelli says her son, who works in the fitness industry, spent a great deal of time educating her on the importance of “clean eating.” Everything on the menu at Urban Brick is made from scratch, often using fresh locally-sourced or imported ingredients from places like Wisconsin, New York or Italy.
“Even though there are a lot of restaurants that claim they’re ‘scratch kitchens,’ you still have a lot of food coming out of cans that are full of preservatives,” Morelli says.
“We’re proud to serve things like our authentic Italian sausage, which is handcrafted in Orlando out of five simple ingredients. We know we’re serving good quality food here.”
What Morelli wants Urban Brick to be known for is artisanal pizzettas – personal sized pizzas that pack a big punch. Customers can order everything from the Salata Rucolo (fresh mozzarella, San Marzano cherry tomatoes, garlic, unfiltered olive oil, and imported prosciutto topped with a farm fresh egg) to the Sweet & Salty (Gorgonzola cheese, shredded mozzarella, red onion, candied fig, fresh parsley, Pecorino Romano, garlic, and unfiltered olive oil finished with prosciutto).
For the less adventurous, there are more traditional options like the Classic Sausage (all natural, local, handcrafted, Italian sausage, San Marzano tomatoes, and shredded mozzarella), Artisanal Pepperoni (Old World pepperoni, San Marzano tomatoes, and shredded mozzarella finished with fiery hot Calabrese peppers) and the Portobello (Grilled, marinated, Portobello mushrooms, ricotta cheese, shredded mozzarella, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, unfiltered olive oil finished with a drizzle of infused lemon oil).
But Morelli doesn’t want Urban Brick to be labeled as another “pizza place.”
“We also have a first-class espresso bar where we serve lattes and coffees from DeLand’s own Trilogy Roasting Company. Each of our coffee drinks is served with one of our Italian Rainbow Cookies, which comes from New York.”
Urban Brick also offers a new take on the traditional cannoli. “They’re actually apple cider donuts filled with cannoli cream. They’re absolutely amazing!”
Morelli says one of her items on the menu is the Chocolate Pizzetta. “It’s a pizzetta topped with hazelnut chocolate, drizzled with dark chocolate and topped with fresh sliced strawberries and shavings of white chocolate.”
In addition to providing her own unique take on fresh Italian, Morelli says she wanted the eatery to be inviting and casual with a hint of being upscale. The interior showcases exposed brick walls, a large colorful mural of Times Square in New York City and Edison light fixtures. Customers eat from real, breakable plates and drink from wine glasses.
“I want to convey that we’re a family here and everybody who walks in the door is a part of my family. We want you to be comfortable coming in shorts and sandals. Just be a part of our family.”
Spoken like a true Italian.
Go Inside Urban Brick and Meet Owner Rosemarie Morelli
112 N Woodland Blvd., DeLand, FL 32720