Il Lazzarone Pizza in St. Joseph to open River Market location

UPDATE: Erik Borger, owner and operator of the seven-month-old Il Lazzarone pizzeria at 1628 Frederick in St. Joseph, signed the lease today for 412 Delaware, in the River Market. He says he’ll start construction as early as tomorrow, turning the 3,100-square-foot space into the second location of his Neapolitan pizza restaurant. Borger is hoping to open the venue March 1, 2015.

Borger had initially looked at the River Market location three years ago, before he decided that he would open his restaurant in St. Joseph, where he lives.  And yes, he’s in negotiations to obtain the same kind of wood-burning Acunto Mario Forni oven that he uses in the first Il Lazzarone (an oven that cost the young entrepreneur more than $30,000 to ship from Naples).

“My importer may have one here for me to buy,” Borger says. “It might be easier this time.”

What won’t be any easier is the authentication process from the American Delegation of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, the organization that verifies and authenticates whether a pizzeria is truly Neapolitan. Borger’s St. Joseph restaurant is the only pizza restaurant in Kansas or Missouri to have that certification. Borger will not be able to apply for authentication until the new restaurant has been open at least 30 days. 

Last month, Borger told The Pitch about the authentification process: “It can take years. I started studying the guidebook, which is 46 pages long, five years ago. You have to have a wood-fired oven that has a minimum temperature of 800 degrees. The pizza has to cook in 90 seconds. You can only use a spiral or fork mixer — anything else raises the temperature of the pizza dough.”

The River Market outpost of Il Lazzarone will look similar to the St. Joseph restaurant and, just as he does in that location, he will not sell soda — fans of fizzy drinks must settle for a San Pellegrino — or ham-and-pineapple pizza. Unlike the St. Joseph location, which sells only beer and wine, the River Market restaurant will feature a full bar.

Categories: Dining, Food & Drink