One of Italy’s most famous and beloved pizza chefs is finally opening the outpost of his flagship restaurant here in New York City. Gino Sorbillo — a pizzaiolo whose Naples restaurants draws traffic-obstructing crowds — unleashes the Noho location of Gino Sorbillo Pizzeria on Tuesday, November 28 at noon, serving his signature Neapolitan pies.
The restaurant at 334 Bowery, between Great Jones and Bond Streets, has been in the works for a while now, a longtime dream for Sorbillo. Here, the more-than-70-seat restaurant offers a similar menu of soft-crusted pies that he serves in Italy.
The pizzaiolo is fairly unknown in the states, but in Naples, where the chef owns three restaurants, he’s a legend. People debate whether or not his pizza is worth the hours-long lines. He’s won awards for his pizza making, and beyond that, he has a reputation for fighting the mafia in his home neighborhood. He was also one of the first Italian pizzaiolos to hop on social media, a moniker that’s helped fuel his celebrity in Italy.
For all that, Sorbillo is considered the real deal in Naples, churning out a slightly larger version of Neapolitan pies that remain incredibly light. Neapolitan pies are already wildly popular in New York, but originated in Sorbillo’s hometown of Naples — and in Italy, Sorbillo is widely viewed as one of the best at the style.
Anybody who’s eaten at a place like Motorino has tried a version of it: The small, simple pies are fired up in wood ovens and use limited ingredients, including 00 flour and San Marzano tomatoes. They typically come unsliced, with the middle arriving slightly wet from sauce. More commonplace in New York is restaurants serving Neapolitan-inspired pies — available at longtime places like Patsy’s as well as newer restaurants like Ops in Bushwick.
Despite the proliferation of pizza in New York, Sorbillo’s entrance is already being closely watched. Even before the official opening, more locally-known celebrities like chef Mario Batali and Jimmy Fallon have previewed the new restaurant. Over the weekend, Batali posted a video of Fallon cutting into a large calzone, and on Monday, mayor Bill de Blasio, who’s also visited in Italy, stopped by, too.
At the restaurant’s New York location, several of the options at Sorbillo are loaded up with toppings. Prices range from $12 for a marinara to $35 for an alba, a pie with black truffle mozzarella, quail eggs, and olive oil. Additional dishes like a meat ragu-laden pasta, a fried meatball, and lentil soup are also on the menu, which can be seen in full below.
The chef is part of the continuing obsession with Italian fare in NYC, where new restaurants boasting thin-crusted pies and simple ingredients have opened like wild in the last two years. Imports directly from Italy, like Trapizzino, and other places inspired particularly by Rome, like Caffe Marchio, have been making their way to NYC, too. Sorbillo has also already opened a more casual restaurant here in New York, a tiny fried calzone spot in Little Italy called Zia Esterina.
Sorbillo Pizzeria, though, is the bigger deal opening of the two. It’s the first sit-down overseas location for the chef, and it’s the one where Sorbillo wants to give people a true taste of Naples.
Gino Sorbillo Pizzeria opens on Tuesday, November 27. Take a look around the space and more food below.