First Look at Donatella Arpaia’s Neapolitan Pizzeria, Opening Friday
Melissa Hom

Ever since the Times ran a fawning profile of Donatella Arpaia back in April and it was announced that she was planning to open an eponymous Neopolitan pizza joint in Chelsea, there’s been much ado about Donatella. Slice ran photos of the master, Stefano Ferrara, building what reps are calling “New York’s most serious pizza oven” out of salt, sand, and rock from Mount Vesuvius (it’s the first he has built in the United States from the ground up). Then came the photos of Mia Dona graduate chef Jarett Appell curing the oven according to the specifications of Stefano Ferrara, the guru of the pizzaialos at Kesté and Motorino. And now finally, the restaurant opens on Friday.

Unlike the rollout of, say, Pulino’s, the hype surrounding Donatella hasn’t been led by voyeuristic bloggers. Rather it has been carefully orchestrated by publicists who’ve been touting the project practically since it was first conceived. (Who do you think sent us this preopening shot?) But lest you accuse Arpaia of riding a bandwagon, she says in a press release, “This is a very personal project, one that’s been in the making in my mind for years.” After all, she spent part of her childhood in Naples. And pizza isn’t the only thing on offer — check out the full menu of Neapolitan dishes below, and click through the slideshow to see a few of the pies. Also take note: The adjoining lounge, DBar, is now serving.

Donatella Menu [PDF]

Donatella, 184 Eighth Ave., nr. 19th St.; 212-493-5150

First Look at Donatella Arpaia’s Neapolitan Pizzeria, Opening Friday