“There were a lot of late nights getting this place open, but it was all worth it,” Borger said. He even rented a small studio apartment above the shop to use as a crash pad while he worked to get the location open.
The new Il Lazzarone shares décor elements with its big sister in St. Joseph, Missouri, with exposed brick walls, handsome reclaimed wood tables and chairs, and shiny red stools around the pizza kitchen and in the bar area.
But the Kansas City location boasts a 6,000-pound Acunto Mario Forni wood-fired pizza oven, twice as large as the one in St. Joe. The oven can cook 10 pizzas in 90 seconds flat.
Opening night, you could hear the din of the dining room from the parking lot, as Borger’s restaurant filled with hungry well-wishers and pizza lovers. Inside, young families gathered around massive communal tables to catch up over Borger’s traditional Neapolitan-style pizza and a glass of beer, wine or a bottle of Coca-Cola.
To stave off our hunger, we ordered the Fritto Insalata, a pretty platter with lightly fried pizza dough, arugula, cherry tomatoes, balsamic glaze, lemon juice, sea salt, extra virgin olive oil and fresh mozzarella for $9.
We ordered the classic Margherita pizza, which Il Lazzarone has been famously certified by the Italian authorities to make, and, at $12, found it to be just as satisfying as the first time we tried it. The crust was chewy with charred bits giving it that wood-fired flavor. A thin layer of sweet San Marzano tomatoes covered the pie, which was then topped with slices of fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh shredded basil.
While the patio furniture has yet to arrive, that didn’t stop some guests from simply picking up their tables and moving them outside to soak up the last few rays of what proved to be one of the prettiest days of the year to date. The patio, which could easily seat 50 or more people once properly set, will be the place to see and been seen this summer in the City Market.
Oh, and did we mention the bar? The layout of the restaurant is a bit unusual, and the bar is located all the way in the back of the space. Once there, you’ll see bar manager Dominic Petrucci, hard at work behind a beautifully appointed bar with shiny red stools all in a row.
Taking your pie to-go? Pop in the back door, directly into the bar area. There you can place your order with the bar staff, plus a glass of wine, beer or a cocktail as you wait for your pizza. In and out, plus a cocktail. Genius.
412 Delaware St.
Kansas City, MO