Il Lazzarone pizzeria plans a March 14 grand opening

Erik Borger, the chef-owner of the Il Lazzarone pizzeria in St. Joseph, is still waiting.

The former competitive bodybuilder had hoped that his new Kansas City restaurant at 412 Delaware might open this week, even though his stretch of Delaware is still virtually impassable because of the streetcar construction in front of his venue (there is an easily accessible  parking lot in back of the building and a back door that leads directly into the bar).

Borger’s final hurdle is having his health code permit approved. After that, Borger needs to wait only three days to open his larger restaurant; the River Market location will seat 120 in the dining room, 60 in the bar and, this spring, 100 more seats on the patio.

“I’d like to be open this weekend,” Borger says, “but it’s looking more like Saturday, March 14 will be our grand opening.”

Borger is ready for local patrons to discover his new Il Lazzarone and a menu that’s somewhat expanded from the St. Joseph location, which is the only pizzeria in Missouri and Kansas to have been certified authentically Neapolitan by the American Delegation of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana.

The 30-year-old Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana was created by a panel of Neapolitan pizzaiolos “seeking to cultivate the culinary art of making Neapolitan pizza,” according to the organization’s website. Among the final-stage requirements: A representative of the group had to fly to the United States (on Borger’s dime) and make a random visit to Il Lazzarone.

Borger is planning to apply for the same designation for the River Market pizzeria, which also has a Naples-manufactured Acunto Mario Forni oven, this one twice as large as the oven in St. Joseph.

Categories: Dining, Food & Drink