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New Epcot pizzeria opening in early August

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A new authentic Italian pizzeria will hold their grand opening on Aug. 5, 2010 in the Italy pavilion at Epcot. The Patina Restaurant Group will open the casual pizzeria called Via Napoli, adjacent to their Tutto Italia Ristorante.

Restaurateur and longtime Patina Restaurant Group CEO Nick Valenti created the Via Napoli concept, based upon his travels in Southern Italy and his time developing and overseeing the Naples 45 Ristorante e Pizzeria in New York. While in Naples, Valenti spent time studying the art of dough, crust, sauce and oven temperatures at the famous pizzerias Da Michele and Trianon. At Da Ettore, he discovered the art of pagnotiello, a folded round of pizza dough filled with mozzarella, ham and mushrooms.

“I have always loved the beauty of a simple Neapolitan pizza,” Valenti said. “It’s a perfect food, something beloved by both Italians and Americans. At Via Napoli we will make pizza the traditional Neapolitan way: with a textured, soft and charred crust. I look forward to bringing it to Walt Disney World, where it should be a welcome addition to guests visiting Epcot.”

Via Napoli will feature a selection of classical Neapolitan pizzas, ranging from pizza bianca, quattro stagioni, piccante, ortolano and a traditional margherita. Famed Pizzaiolo Charlie Restivo will serve as executive chef at Via Napoli, where he will craft the pies using simple and delicious Italian ingredients such as San Marzano tomatoes, Caputo flour, handmade fresh mozzarella, Parma Cotto, crumbled sausage and water calibrated specifically to the pH found in Naples.

There is one menu for both lunch and dinner. The wood-fired pizza comes in three sizes: individual; large with eight slices; and a 1/2 meter with 12 slices. For an example of the prices, pepperoni pizza is $16 for individual, $27 for large, and $35 for 1/2 meter. There are several vegetarian options, including the pizza Margherita, fusilli pasta in a Southern Italian-style pesto, salads, minestrone and more.

“We’re excited to be working with the Patina Restaurant Group once again on this significant expansion project,” said Dan Cockerell, vice president of Epcot. “Via Napoli will certainly enhance the guest experience and the architectural landscape of World Showcase just in time for our 15th annual Epcot Food & Wine Festival.”

A unique feature at Via Napoli will be the wood-burning ovens, which are named after the three active volcanoes in Italy – Mount Etna, Mount Vesuvius and Stromboli. Each oven will be sculpted with the “face of the volcano” – reflecting the gods whose mythology surrounds each volcano’s history.

The architecture and design of the new pizzeria will be based on a mix of traditional Italian styles, with the Florentine architect Stefano Nardini (of Magris & Partners) working in conjunction with Rick Swisher Architect to build it.

The restaurant is table service only. Disney Dining Plan is accepted (one point per person per meal). Discounts include Tables in Wonderland – 20%; DVC Members – 10%; Annual Pass holders, Monday – Friday for lunch only – 10%.

Between Aug. 2 and Sept. 9, guests will be accommodated on a walk-in basis only. Beginning Aug. 6, reservations will be accepted for dates Sept. 10 and later. For reservations at Via Napoli, call 407-WDW-DINE.

Photo courtesy of Robert Ashburn from Florida Thrills Network.

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