One of Italy’s most famous pizza makers, Gino Sorbillo, is about to make his debut in the U.S.: First, with his pizza shop that looks closer to opening, with signage out at Sorbillo Pizzeria at 334 Bowery. But there’s more good news for New Yorkers: Sorbillo will open a second shop specializing in pizza fritta — fried calzones — called Zia Esterina that’s looking like it’ll open in Little Italy — address tbd— as soon as mid-April, according to Italian online food site, Scatti Di Gusto. Craigslist shows he’s looking for pizzaioli for both locations.
One of Italy’s most public food figures, Sorbillo has become famous for his oversized, soft-crust, incredibly light Neapolitan pizza topped with high-quality ingredients. The result is pizza that’s so stunningly good, it draws hours-long crowds in his hometown. He’s the guy mayor Bill de Blasio visited on his trip to Naples who taught him how to eat pizza the Italian way. He gained cult status in Italy for having opened the day after his Naples Tribunali pizzeria was torched, allegedly, by the Camorra.
Scatti DiGusto does a walk-through of the pizza fritta space, named after Sorbillo’s fried calzone place in Naples, which features a long counter with the stamp of that horseshoe — a symbol of good luck. The menu on the wall displays two versions of the fried calzone: one with provola, tomato, and pepper, and another with ricotta, salami, and ham. The renderings of the Bowery location, where he’ll serve classic Neapolitan pizza from a wood-fired oven posted over the summer.
Sorbillo has been suggesting he’s opening places in New York for a couple years now, . but more firm news of his arrival came earlier this year by way of the Lower East Side came through Community Board 2, when Sorbillo applied for a liquor license.
Sorbillo’s New York debut correlates with the opening of Trapizzino from Stefano Callegari of Rome, that opened last month at 144 Orchard St., along with news of Gabriele Bonci opening multiple locations across the U.S.
In the meantime, meet a cartoon-version of the man himself: