UPDATE: The opening has been moved to next week. Stay tuned for details
Italophiles and pizza nerds, get ready: Zia Esterina is opening on Thursday at 112 Mulberry Street, the pizza fritta and fried calzone spot from Naples very own Gino Sorbillo. He’s one of Italy’s most public food figures, an Italian TV regular whose reputation was enhanced when he defied the Camorra when it allegedly torched his restaurant. And he was recently was immortalized as a cartoon.
Zia Esterina, named for an aunt, is the first of two places Sorbillo is opening in New York, with his pizzeria at 334 Bowery debuting later this season. Sorbillo uses super high-quality ingredients and turns out an ethereal, seemingly weightless crust. The result is pizza that’s so stunningly good, it continues to draw hours-long lines in Naples.
Here, he’s focused on introducing Americans to pizza fritta first. "We want to dispel the myth that the pizza dough baked and fried is unusual," is the gist of the translation from the Italian website, Scatti di Gusto.
Sorbillo isn’t the first to introduce us to pizza fritta. Roberto Caporuscio of Keste and fried pizza spot, Don Antonio, might be the first. Caporuscio, who’s from outside Naples, also opens his newest pizzeria and pizza school on Thursday in FiDi.
Here’s the walk-through of Zia Esterina: