For three years, pizza lovers in Northeast Ohio got to know Adam DiLauro and his pies thanks to the Pizzeria DiLauro food truck, a mobile trailer with a built-in wood-fired oven. Last winter, DiLauro parked the rig to refocus his attentions on a brick-and-mortar pizzeria of the same name. When it opens in early to mid-February in Chagrin Falls, Pizzeria DiLauro
(17800 Chillicothe Rd., 440-384-3947) will bring a little taste of the East Coast to the far East Side.
“I tend to try and not call myself New York-style,” DiLauro explains. “We came up with the term East Coast-inspired because, from our trips to New York City and Philadelphia and New Jersey where there’s a pizzeria like this on every corner, you don’t have it in Cleveland. And there are a lot of East Coast transplants that really need that pizza. We couldn’t find it, so we decided to open it.”
DiLauro is just weeks away from opening the doors. For approximately 10 years, the space was home to the diner Cafe Michael. When it does open, Pizzeria DiLauro will abandon its roots as a Neapolitan-style pizzeria to instead focus on traditional 18-inch New York-style pies baked in stone-deck ovens.
“We've always liked New York-style pizza, but also Neapolitan pizza doesn’t travel very well,” says DiLauro. “I wanted to create a pizza that makes it to people’s houses in a lot better condition. That was my ultimate goal.”
Pizza purists will appreciate DiLauro’s technique, which results in a well-done, crispy-bottomed pie finished with a flurry of parmesan cheese. Toppings are limited to just four per pizza to prevent overload. Those whole pies are joined on the menu by thicker 12x16-inch Sicilian-style pan pizzas, a few salads and appetizers and a trio of hoagies: Italian, meatball and sausage and peppers.
Like all those corner shops on the East Coast, Pizzeria DiLauro will be counter service only. There will be about 30 seats for folks who want to sit and eat. At lunchtime, the place will act as a classic slice shop, where orders are popped back in the oven to quickly reheat and served, unceremoniously, on a white paper plate.
“The reheat is the best,” says DiLauro. “I love the twice-cooked pizza. That’s my thing.”