Mario’s Pizzeria & Ristorante

Mario’s Pizzeria & Ristorante celebrates 50 years of bringing Sicilian soul to Albuquerque with a festive menu that bridges Italian tradition and New Mexican flavors, all in a setting that feels like a joyful Italian family gathering.


Mark Stens Land

10/18/20224 min read

"Mario’s Pizzeria & Ristorante: A Half-Century of Sicilian Tradition in ABQ"

Imagine stepping into a little slice of Sicily, right in the heart of Albuquerque. This isn't just a culinary daydream; it's a daily reality at Mario’s Pizzeria & Ristorante. For 50 years, this family-run establishment has been a testament to tradition, an ode to the old country, and a cherished chapter in ABQ's dining story.

The late Mario Burgarello, along with his wife Anna and their sons, planted Sicilian roots in New Mexican soil, and what blossomed was a beloved local chain serving up slices of heritage. At Mario’s, pizza isn't just food; it's a fusion of history and innovation, where the Sicilian-style deep dish meets the zest of the Southwest.

The Italian nachos rebel against convention, swapping out ground beef for a heartier mix of Italian sausage and pepperoni. It's a nod to the local love affair with chiles, harmoniously married to Italian culinary sensibilities. And let's not forget the New Mexican style taco pizza—a dish that truly embodies the spirit of Mario’s.

Beyond the pizza, Mario’s offers a cornucopia of Italian delights, from calzones to pastas, sandwiches to soups, salads, and desserts that could make a nonna weep with joy. It's a menu so rich, it's practically a feast at every meal.

Stepping into Mario’s, you’re wrapped in an ambiance that whispers of Sicily with every checkered tablecloth and every photograph of Italian vistas. It's not just dining—it's an immersive cultural experience.

As they celebrate a remarkable 50-year milestone, the Burgarello family continues to dish out joy with their New York style and Sicilian deep-dish pizzas. But the fun doesn't stop there; with homemade gelato, vibrant Italian sodas (a secret delight that America is yet to fully embrace), seafood pizzas, and breaded eggplant, every visit to Mario’s is a new opportunity to revel in the richness of Italian cuisine.

So here's to Mario’s Pizzeria & Ristorante, a place where every meal is a jubilee, every pizza a story, and every diner a part of the family legacy. Here's to 50 years of infusing ABQ with a bit of Sicily—may the tradition continue for generations to come!

Transform Your Pizza Box into a Food Dehydrator (AKA: Pizza Flakes Maker)

Stop throwing away produce!

Every year, Americans waste about 30-40% of their food supply, which then contributes to the 8% of global greenhouse gases that cause climate change. Let's save the planet one slice at a time and turn that old pizza box into a DIY food dehydrator! This hilariously easy project will transform your leftovers into delicious dried snacks.


- 1 large pizza box (clean, without grease – yes, that means ordering another pizza)

- Aluminum foil (to make it shiny like your future)

- Plastic wrap (because who doesn't love plastic?)

- Black construction paper (very goth, very functional)

- A utility knife or scissors (sharp objects: handle with care!)

- Tape (the universal fixer of all things)

- A small fan (optional, if you want to go high-tech)

- Wooden dowels or skewers (also optional, but let’s get fancy)

- Mesh or cheesecloth (to keep it all in place)


1. Prepare the Pizza Box:

Open that pizza box and line the inside with aluminum foil, shiny side up. This will reflect heat and make your box look like a science experiment. Cover the bottom of the box with black construction paper. This will absorb heat and add to the mystery.

2. Create a Window:

On the top of the pizza box lid, cut out a rectangular window, leaving about a 1-inch border around the edges. Make it artsy. Cover the window with plastic wrap and secure it with tape. This will allow sunlight in and create a greenhouse effect. Now your pizza box is officially smarter than your last smartphone.

3. Create Air Vents:

Cut small air vents on the sides of the pizza box to allow for airflow. You can make these by cutting small flaps and folding them back slightly. These vents are like your dehydrator’s nostrils.

4. Optional: Add a Fan:

If you have a small fan, place it near the air vents to enhance airflow. This will help to speed up the drying process and make you feel like an engineering genius.

5. Create Racks:

If you have wooden dowels or skewers, create racks to hold your food. Simply poke holes in the sides of the box and insert the dowels through the holes, creating a grid. Now it’s looking like a mini barbecue. Alternatively, use a piece of mesh or cheesecloth to lay your food on inside the box. It’s like a hammock for your snacks.

6. Place Your Food:

Arrange your food items on the racks or mesh, ensuring they are spread out evenly and not touching each other. Give them space to breathe – it’s yoga for your veggies.

7. Position Your Dehydrator:

Place the pizza box dehydrator in a sunny spot outside. The plastic wrap window should be facing the sun to maximize heat absorption. Your neighbors will be jealous of your eco-friendly contraption.

8. Monitor and Rotate:

Check on your food periodically and rotate the box if necessary to ensure even drying. You’re basically a helicopter parent for dehydrated snacks. Depending on the weather and the type of food, drying times can vary from several hours to a couple of days. Patience, grasshopper.

Dehydrating Specific Foods:

Red and Green Chiles:

Preparation: Wash and dry the chiles. Slice them into rings or halves, removing seeds if desired. Fun fact: Spicy foods can increase your metabolism by up to 8%! Drying Time: Chiles typically take 1-2 days to dry completely. They should be brittle and break easily when fully dehydrated.


Preparation: Wash and dry the tomatoes. Slice them into ¼ inch thick slices or cut cherry tomatoes in half. Did you know tomatoes are technically a fruit? Mind blown. Drying Time: Tomatoes can take 1-3 days to dry. They should be leathery and pliable when done.

Popular Herbs (e.g., Basil, Oregano, Thyme):

Preparation: Rinse herbs and pat dry. Remove leaves from stems if they are large. Herbs can improve memory by up to 75%. Okay, I made that up, but it sounds good! Drying Time: Herbs generally dry within 1 day. They should crumble easily when touched.

9. Enjoy Your Dehydrated Food:

Once your food is sufficiently dried, remove it from the dehydrator and store it in an airtight container. Congrats! You’ve just saved the planet one dehydrated snack at a time.

This DIY food dehydrator is an easy and cost-effective way to preserve your favorite foods using just a few household items. Happy drying, and remember, every little bit helps in the fight against climate change!