Italian pizzaiolo Giulio Adriani quietly opened his first U.S. pizzeria yesterday, just a few blocks from Keste. As far as he’s concerned, it’s his only competition in the realm of Neapolitan pizza. “All the rest is nothing,” he says. “Motorino is not a Neapolitan pizza. It’s very close, but for example he puts garlic in the pizza with mozzarella. For our style, this is really absurd.” Other no-nos: loading the sauce with superfluous ingredients (Adriani uses only San Marzano tomatoes and salt — no herbs), doing the same with the dough (no sugar or milk here — just salt, water, yeast, and flour), and overcooking the pie (Adriani’s Acunto brick oven, imported from Napoli, has a low ceiling so it can cook pies in about a minute, at temperatures of about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit). “There is nothing special,” Adriani says of his pizza. “But it’s so authentic that it’s special.”
Where did the Naples native get this sort of confidence? Well, he began slinging pies when he was 13 (he’s now 39) and eventually opened Alla Corte dei Borboni in Rome. He counts as his mentors Gaetano Fazio (head instructor of Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana) and Antonio Starita (owner of Pizzeria Starita in Naples), and has won various pizza competitions. But does that mean he can make an impression in New York’s ever crowded market? He isn’t worried about that: “I once won a competition and a journalist asked me, ‘What was the most difficult thing about this competition?’ I said, ‘Getting the broccoli rabe and the salchicha through customs.’”
One thing’s for sure: 58 outdoor seats and a cocktail list from Dusan Zaric of Employees Only is only going to help. Drinks include the Vesuvio (muddled red grapes, pisco, and Chardonnay) and the Levate Tutti (tequila, aperol, strawberry purée, and prosecco). Check out the dinner menu below. Hours are from 8 a.m. till 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and till 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Delivery starts in about a month.
OliO, 3 Greenwich Ave., nr. Sixth Ave.; 212-243-6546