WESTFORD -- Opening a pizzeria was never the plan for the Helena Silva.

DiNapoli Pizzeria
DiNapoli Pizzeria (sun/jon hill)

Silva, of Littleton, had been working as a dishwasher in a breakfast eatery at Acorn Plaza when she asked her boss if she could start working in the front of the house at the eatery -- he said no. He said she didn't speak English well enough yet.

"He said, 'You're never going to learn this job,' " Silva said. "I told him, 'I'm going to be better at it than you.' "

She was promoted to the manager position the following month. Soon after, she became part owner of the restaurant and hired her husband, Antonio, who brought his decade of traditional Italian pizza-making expertise to the staff.

Silva saw her rise in the ranks as an opportunity to purchase the business. She opened Di Napoli Pizzeria there nine years ago this month.


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"We have the biggest pizza around here," Silva said, of Di Napoli's 18-inch large pizzas that could easily feed four people. Most pizzerias boast 16-inch pies as their biggest option.

The Stuffed Meat and Stuffed Vegetable pizzas at the shop are equally as gargantuan. They are made with an 18-inch pizza dough base topped with a massive amount of either meat (sausage, pepperoni, hamburger, cheese) or vegetables (peppers, mushrooms, onions, broccoli), and capped off with yet another 18-inches of dough. "It can feed eight people," Silva said, noting that one slice of the eight-pound pie is a meal in itself.

The signature pizza at Di Napoli shares its namesake with the shop -- Napoletana. The Napoletana pizza is topped with mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil, tomatoes and tomato sauce. The shop also offers a traditional 10-inch Sicilian pan pizza

"There has to be a good sauce for it to be a good pizza," Silva said. The Silvas prepare their own sauce for pasta and pizza; they shred their own cheese and make their own pizza dough. The homemade dough is also used to make bread for its paninis, and for the shop's calzones, which can be ordered in two sizes.

Rounding out the menu at Di Napoli is a wide variety of cold and hot subs, dinners (served with fries or rice, and a side salad), large salads, and pasta entrees.

"Sometimes you're working in the kitchen and you make a mistake with the food, and it tastes good," Silva said, adding that she is most proud of the shop's Chicken Broccoli Alfredo, tossed with in-house made Alfredo sauce. The Di Napoli Eggplant is another fresh option on the menu as the dish -- breaded eggplant layered like lasagna with sauce and cheese -- is always made to order.

Silva noted some of the shop's most popular subs as the Spinach, Chicken and Feta, Steak and Egg, and the Pizza Steak (a steak sub topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese). "It's like pizza in bread," she said.

Silva said she plans to expand and renovate the 14-seat pizzeria in the next year. She also noted that it's the customers that bring her the most joy at Di Napoli. "They're always happy," she noted. "Even if they complain, they're happy."

Di Napoli Pizzeria

439 Littleton Road, Westford, 978-486-8050, dinapolipizzeria.com

  • Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Parking: The pizzeria shares spaces with other businesses at Acorn Plaza
  • Reservations: Not accepted. The restaurant is busiest on Fridays. Don't feel like going out? Di Napoli offers free delivery to Littleton and Westford.
  • Atmosphere: Casual.
  • Menu: Pizza, hot and cold subs, salads, Italian-style entrees.
  • Price range: Large pizzas cost an average of $11.95-$18.25. Pizza can also be ordered by the slice.
  • Try this: Napoletana (mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil, tomatoes and tomato sauce), Quatro Staggione (a four-segmented pizza with chicken and bacon, pepperoni and hamburg, mushroom and black olive, and green pepper and onion), Chicken Broccoli Alfredo (served on ziti, topped with in-house made Alfredo sauce), and the Eggplant and Chicken Parmesan Sub.
  • Meal Deals: Order a Panini, bag of chips and a soda for $6.05.