Less than a month ago, Europa underwent two important changes. The first: changing ownership after 22-year owner Janice Maas retired. Luckily, an eager couple, the restaurant’s veteran chef Jeff Engels and server Aja Engels, were more than willing to spearhead the new challenge. The second: changing their name from Europa Pizzaria & Bakery to Europa Restaurant & Bakery. The change may seem small, but general manager Dawn Rayburn says they don’t want people to assume they just serve pizza, when pizza is only about 20 percent of their menu.
Since Head Chef Jeff Engels came on board about a year ago, he has made his mark on the menu, improving all of the classic Italian dishes to accommodate hungry customers, as well as the growing number of events they host in their back room. Options are extensive at Europa, but in this instance, quantity does not compromise quality. Rayburn says the management never wants Europa to be one of those places with a microwave station. That’s why everything, from the time-intensive gnocchi (with spinach and lemon sage brown butter, $15) to their acclaimed desserts, is made fresh, in-house.