Food Fight: Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina

Bigalora feeds and treats everyone like their own family.

Bigalora
Chef Luciano Del Signore. Image courtesy Bigalora

Renowned area-chef Luciano Del Signore offers his unique dishes of old-world Italia and Italian-American influences at Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina. Located at the Arbor Hills plaza on Washtenaw Avenue between Huron Parkway and Platt Road, customers can come through and enjoy delicious pizza and other Italia dishes. 

With Del Signore’s impeccable culinary reputation and experience, it is important for him to make Ann Arbor’s Bigalora — and all his restaurants — accessible to all ages.

“Families and kids are a huge part of our business,” stated Del Signore. “Kids love pizza and pasta mostly, but we have other items as well.”

Del Signore is the founding partner and chef of Bigalora. Del Signore also has many additional restaurants in the Detroit-Metro area, the first of which opened in August 2010. The type of pizza served at Bigalora was what prompted Del Signore to start the Bigalora Concept. 

“I started Bigalora out of a need to bring true Neapolitan pizza to the Detroit market,” Del Signore explained.

The Neapolitan Pizza at Bigalora

Neapolitan pizza is thought of by many to be the original form of pizza from Naples, Italy. One of the most favorites is the “Margherita,” in honor of King Umberto and Queen Margherita of Savoy whose colors mirrored those of the Italian flag: red (tomatoes), white (mozzarella), and green (basil leaves). There are many other styles of pizza in America, such as Italian-American styles in Detroit, New York, and Chicago. However, Bigalora concentrates on the Neapolitan style cooked in a brick, wood-fired oven and with a special dough.

Bigalora
The Salumeria. Image courtesy Bigalora.

The term “Bigalora” has an interesting allusion as well according to Del Signore.

“It’s a made-up name utilizing the word ‘biga,” which is a bread-making term that is a dough starter. He adds that all of his food is made with care and in an artful manner.

“The 100% scratch-made food and pizza is naturally fermented for 72 hours and made without the use of commercial yeast,” Del Signore divulged.

There are many healthy options for kids and adults alike, and Bigalora will accommodate special requests as well.

“We feed you like our family!” Del Signore exclaimed. “We are very conscious about the ingredients we use.” 

Bigalora’s menu offers a huge variety and all authentic choices.

The “Prosciutto E Grana” is an authentic Italian appetizer with fresh prosciutto di parma, grana  padano cheese, arugula, and focaccia to accompany it all. “Focaccia” is also known as a kind of pizza to some, going back to the Romans as “panis focacius, without any sauce on top, but instead olive oil and sometimes spiced.” 

Other “Small Plates” include the popular “Crispy Brussels Sprouts,” which are served with grana padano and red vinegar. Another healthy item for kids and adults alike is the “Wood Roasted Heirloom Carrots” with a balsamic glaze and goat cheese, but be sure to ask to hold the peanuts if there is an allergy. Many people associate Italian food with heavy carbohydrates, but Italians actually eat a lot of vegetables and salads. Bigalora’s menu reflects those healthy choices and is done in a gourmet manner.

Bigalora’s Delicious Pizza

All the pizzas we tried were delicious, particularly with the wood-fired flavor and the unique “biga” flair. One of the most creative pizzas is the “Pistachio” which also includes pesto, burrata cheese, Italian sausage, and lemon confit. Bigalora offers two categories of pizzas, the “Red” and the “White.” Their “Margherita Buffala” is a little special with the imported buffalo mozzarella and extra virgin olive oil along with the traditional fresh basil.

Bigalora
The Pistachio. Image courtesy Bigalora.

Pasta and their accompaniments do not disappoint either. All of the pasta tastes extremely fresh, with a just-made semolina flavor, color, and texture. The “Sunday Meatballs” are reminiscent of the special marinara-drenched meatballs “Nonna,” the affectionate term and Italian word for grandmother, would make when the entire family would get together in Italian-American households. The “Sunday Meatballs” have grass-fed beef. Also, gluten-free and vegan options are available upon request.

We recently also tried another notable “small plate,” which was the “Trumpet Mushroom Salad.” This came with arugula, grape tomatoes, grana padano, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil. This was our first time experiencing “trumpet mushrooms” more formally known as “Pleurotus eryngii.” They were cooked perfectly with a meaty texture, having a thick white stem and flat brown cap. 

We have been to Bigalora many times and are always happy with absolutely everything we have ever ordered as well as experienced top-notch service, surroundings, and aromas.

The Short Course

Kid-friendly: They are very friendly to kids.
Kids’ menu: There is a good kids’ menu available.
Anything healthy for kids: Their marinara sauce is healthy, with lots of cooked tomatoes. Also, many “small plates” with various veggies, like brussel sprouts, carrots, mushrooms, and beets.  Great salads are also available.
Food allergy concerns: Will accommodate allergies, ask the waiter.
Noise Level:  Low
Bathroom Amenities: Clean
Highchairs: Available
To Avoid the Wait: Weekdays are better than weekends for less of a wait. They do not take reservations.

3050 Washtenaw Ave, #112, Ann Arbor. 734-971-2442. bigalora.com.