Nearly everything at Pizzeria DiMeo's strives to transmit a Neapolitan dining experience to the new Andorra restaurant.
Father and son Pino and Antimo DiMeo crafted an authentic, Italian wood fired pizza place at the Andorra Shopping Center down to the tiniest detail. Every ingredient in DiMeo's self-proclaimed "perfect Neapolitan pizza" is imported from Italy—that includes buffalo mozzarella, basil and even the water.
"Everything has to be from Italy. It's twice as much for us, but we have to include it. And we don't pass that onto the customer," business partner Scott Stein said.
With a DiMeo's $7 margherita pizza lunch special, it's apparent the artisan quality doesn't impact the price.
Like Father, Like Son
Pino DiMeo emigrated from Italy in the 1980s, when he began working for a family pizza chain. He opened his own pizzeria on City Avenue and served up news anchors. Though successful, his son always pushed for a more authentic pie.
"Ever since Antimo was 10-years-old he's said, 'Pop, I want to make the real stuff—all the way true, Napoletana," Pino said.
Pino continued his more New York pizza, but had the idea in place. He kept his eye on a perfect place, with Andorra noted in particular.
"I've watched this for a long time. It's a good area, mixed with businesses and residents. And I could get the oven in," Pino said.
The brick oven immediately catches the diner's eye, as does the rack of wood in the foreground. With the DiMeos installing the oven and continuously importing ingredients from Italy, the restaurant holds a master plan.
"I'm looking for a long-term business. I don't want to make a quick buck. Good quality speaks for itself," Pino said.
With Pino scouting locations, Antimo, 20, hit the lab to formulate that perfect recipe.
"We tried for two years to get it right. We used six different tomatoes—different cheeses," he said, adding the buffalo mozzarella (that's cheese from buffalo milk—not to be confused with Buffalo-style) and extra virgin olive oil from Tuscany put the pizza over the top.
There's a science behind DiMeo's artistry. In the kitchen, chefs regularly employ a thermometer gun to clock the brick oven and ensure it hovers around 900 degrees.
"The 900 degrees blisters the crust and chars it across, to give that chewy touch," Antimo said.
Pizzeria DiMeo's doesn't sell slices either, so each pizza is handcrafted to get that recipe just right.
"We're not spinning it. The sauce is on there light, no puddles—just even," Stein said.
DiMeo's held its grand opening April 16. In addition to its pizza special, Pino said there's a 40 percent off deal for pasta at lunch—from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. He said the zucca (sausage, butternut squash, parmigiano reggiano, al dente paccheri) is the hit so far. The restaurant is BYOB.