Milana’s opens new location at Traffic Circle focusing on Sicilian-style square pizza

Milana’s is Downtown’s New York-style pizza staple—actually, they’re Long Beach‘s New York-style pizza staple. And one thing that has always stuck with me is something its owner, Adriel Fasci, told me years ago when they first opened: “Y’know, if a plain cheese slice can’t hold up on its own, then it isn’t good pizza. Period.”

Forthright with a thick East Coast, Italian accent and an affable personality, Fasci has built a reputation by making pizza in Long Beach for nearly a decade and making his relatives proud ever since his parents immigrated from Palermo, Sicily to the Big Apple, specifically Brooklyn.

But it’s here that their newest concept, Milana’s Brooklyn Squares near the Traffic Circle, melds the family’s two histories: honoring their Sicilian roots, Brooklyn Squares focuses on square pizza, which has its origins in Sicily and is not to be confused with Detroit’s deep-dish, cheese-to-the-edges square pizza. However, unlike the sfincione in Palermo, which has a focaccia-like quality to it, Fasci’s square pizza honors Brooklyn with heavy doses of cheese on a medium-crust that sits somewhere between the thinness of their New York pizza and the thickness of sfincione.

In fact, Brooklyn Squares mostly resembles New York’s famed Prince Street Pizza, a compliment unlike any other.

Sold as individual pieces or a whole “four-square,” Milana’s not only offers vegan options but definitively different choices than their Downtown location. For example, their beautiful pepperoni square: pepperoni is perfectly arranged atop the square and cooked until its round edges curl up into a not-quite-burnt crisp, holding a little pool of pepperoni essence that is perfectly absorbed with a heavy dose of parmesan. You could stop here but Brooklyn Squares wants to balance the tiny bit of heat thanks to crushed red pepper and heavy load of salt with sweetness: They drizzle a bit of honey post-oven and, voila, you have the Pepperoni and Honey square.

This and other options, unlike Milana’s Downtown location, are more focused at Brooklyn Square. Eschewing the expansive menu, Brooklyn Square sticks to five, four-square options. (You can build your own if you choose and, yes, they also offer their pink vodka sauce as an option in lieu of the traditional marinara.)

Like their Downtown location, the space is adorned with subway tiles, family portraits, odes to New York, and an assortment of Italian-American tchotchkes.

Milana’s Brooklyn Squares is located at 2000 Ximeno Ave.

Brian Addison is a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] on social media at FacebookTwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn.

Editor’s note: This article originally contained a picture of Prince Street pizza and misnomered it as pizza from Milana’s.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 16 nominations and two additional wins for Best Political Commentary for his work at KCET and Best Blog for Longbeachize, a section of the Long Beach Post. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.