It was in the 1990s that Daniel Scordato fell in love with the idea of opening a pizzeria. He was running Vivace — a successful Italian fine-dining restaurant — when he visited Pizzeria Bianco.
“I had the idea of a pizzeria in the back of my mind,” he said. “When I saw [Pizzeria Bianco], I loved it and thought it would be fun to do.”
The result was Scordato’s Pizzeria, an artisan pizza restaurant that has found its home in the former Mr. K’s BBQ on Stone and River. The airy location seats 130 people, with private dining areas, and a shining bar.
Scordato explored different types of pizza, from Neopolitan to Chicago, but found he wanted to do something that didn’t fit neatly into a box.
He settled on a unique dough recipe that takes two days from start to finish. The dough begins with a yeast starter, similar to a sourdough, and rests overnight to develop. The dough is then baked in a 620 degree oven, which makes it rise quickly and gives it that craveable puffiness.
“Artisan dough is what I feel customers like,” Scordato said. “I run my restaurants for what the customers like best.”
The loyalty this belief inspires is special to see. Regulars have followed Scordato over his 45-year career as a chef, from Vivace to Scordato’s original location in St. Philips Plaza. Several times during the interview, Scordato would excuse himself to greet someone by name as they walked through the door.
While the menu has expanded over the years to include several entrées — the signature one being the Eggplant Parmesan, which is lightly battered instead of breaded — the heart and soul of the restaurant is pizza. And not just any pizza, but pizza done perfectly, with consistency and a dedication to good quality and ingredients.
“Pizza is very hard to make,” Scordato said. “It’s so much work to make pizza to order. It’s more about technique.”
The Prosciutto di Parma Rotondo, Arugula and Fresh Tomatoes pizza is Scordato’s favorite. The cold toppings contrast the springy, hot crust. His customers are particularly partial to the Classic Pepperoni and the Margherita. The wine list is impressive and has a pairing for whatever you’re craving.
Scordato continues to change the pizza game. He has plans to open a Roman-style shop downtown, where the pizza is cut from large slabs to order, just like in Italy.
Operating hours are Monday to Thursday, 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m., Friday - Saturday, 11:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m., and Sunday from 4 - 9 p.m.
Scordato’s Pizzeria is located on 4911 N. Stone Ave. For more information, visit scordatospizzeria.com.