Pizza item #1: Pizzeria Pulcinella opens in Rainier Beach neighborhood
If you live in South Seattle, chances are you’re familiar with Vince’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria, founded in 1957 by Vince and Ada Mottola. Since 1983, the business has been run by their son, Vince Mottola, Jr. and Fred Martichuski — who now own Vince’s restaurants in South Seattle, Burien, Federal Way and the Renton Highlands. Last week marked the debut of their latest venture, Pizzeria Pulcinella (10003 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle, 206-772-6861) and a new business partnership — with David Dorough, who runs the commissary kitchen for all four Vince’s restaurants.
“I wish my dad were here to see this,” says Vince Mottola, Jr., speaking of his late father from the Rainier Beach restaurant. “I’m proud of what we do at Vince’s — which is very family-oriented. But with this project, it was such a cool space, such an old space. He would have loved this!”
photo of Vince Mottola, Sr. courtesy of the Mottola family
“This” is a cozy 58-seat pizzeria created in the husk of a building that’s been around since 1911. “It was the old Lakeside Tavern for about 50 years, but has been vacant for the last nine,” explains Vince, who’s resurrected and restored the tavern’s back-bar, adding a decorative touch to one of two counter-seating areas. But the most coveted seats in the house are those fronting Pulcinella’s Valoriani wood-fired pizza oven and its pizzaioli, whose pizzas are in and out of that Italian import in 90 seconds.
Despite the recent spate of snow and icy weather, “we’ve had a waiting list basically every night,” says Vince, whose pizza-makers have been churning out “typical Neapolitan classics” like the thin-crusted pizza Margherita, pizza marinara and a mozz- and ricotta-filled calzone. As for Pulcinella’s best-sella? that would be the pizza Forcella, topped with pepperoni, ham and pepperoncini, “named after the neighborhood in Naples my parents grew up in.”
In addition to cannelloni, lasagne, spumoni, cannoli and other Southern Italian favorites, they’re offering Peroni on tap, a full Italian wine list and “il Segreto di Pulcinella” (translation: the secret of Pulcinella, a caramelized, oven-baked cross between tiramisu and a pizza). Pulcinella is open daily from 4:30 – 9 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays and till 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Pizza item #2: More pizza. More pasta. Yes, they’ll serve panini: Cafe Mia set to open in Normandy Park
Another trio of business partners are jumping into the Italian food scene: Troy Christian, Sean Quinn and Rich Troiani expect to open Cafe Mia in Normandy Park Towne Center in early January. The 2500 square-foot Italian-accented bakery, cafe and retail wine shop will seat 30, with an additional 40 seats on the patio in warmer weather, says the peripatetic Troiani, (whose name remains associated with a fancy-pants Italian restaurant and grill owned and operated by the Mackay Restaurant Group — though Troiani himself does not).
Troiani notes that Troy (with whom he’s been working at Maxwell’s in Tacoma) will manage the cafe while he heads down to Scottsdale, AZ (and in this weather, who can blame him?). There, the partners plan to open an Argentinean steakhouse. Interesting. Cafe Mia will be open daily from 7 a.m. till 7 p.m.
Pizza item #3: the freebie
To celebrate the grand opening of their third store, now open in Ballard, the two Gregs — otherwise known as the guys at ‘Zaw, who’ve been selling “artisan pizza in the raw” on Capitol Hill and in South Lake Union and replicating at a breakneck pace, are offering a free half-size pie and a Jones Pure Cane Soda to the first 100 visitors at their Ballard location. The giveaway began at 4:30 p.m. Monday and continues tonight. ‘Zaw is open daily and offers (bike!) delivery.
If you’re unfamiliar with the ‘Zaw product (which I haven’t yet tried), it’s is all about to-go food and includes their version of take-and-bake pie (though they suggest you consider grilling it on the barbecue — but maybe not today). Their pies are said to have a special ingredient: SOUL (their acronym for seasonal, organic, unique and local). Anybody been, besides my pen-packing, pizza-eating, restaurant-reviewing colleague Jonathan Kauffman, who also had plenty to say last week about two other new establishments, Pizza Fusion and Flying Squirrel Pizza Co.
Pizza item # 4: in which I give a plug to All Purpose Pizza, just because:
Kedra Reisinger, owner of All Purpose Pizza, is a hard-working gal who loves her job, her restaurant and the community in which she does business. She is not a fan of Neapolitan-style pizza, nor big corporate chains (soulless, says she) and she wants me to remind you that her Central District pizza-and-pint joint is just about one of the most kid-friendly places around, what with their little self-contained kid’s kitchen where young ‘uns can get jiggy with fresh pizza dough (who needs Play-Doh?), cavorting with their kiddie-cohort while you get down with a pizza and a beer. So go to All Purpose. Bring your kids. Eat pizza. Have a beer — or two. And before you leave, please find Kedra and tell her, “Nancy sent me!”