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Venturi Neapolitan Pizza Pub - Goshen

Venturi Neapolitan Pizza Pub - Goshen

Postby Happy Mom » Sun Jan 16, 2011 2:54 pm

January 16, 2011
Neapolitan pizza eatery open in goshen



Four guys had an idea and now Goshen has a new night spot that serves pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven.

Venturi Neapolitan Pizza Pub has opened at 123 E. Lincoln Ave., between Main and Fifth streets
. The partners are Eric Kanagy, Adam Scharf, Troy Pippenger and Justin Venturi, whose name is on the awning on the front of the restaurant.

Venturi had operated a pizza restaurant in Shipshewana and is now crafting Neapolitan pizzas for Goshen customers. Venturi’s cooking skills are on display nightly for customers who can watch the work in the open kitchen.

"That is what we wanted to do," Kanagy said while standing in the restaurant’s dining room. "Have an open kitchen so people can watch the process."

The oven

The central piece of equipment in the pizzeria is the wood-fired oven. It’s not a traditional brick oven, but its stainless steel and fire-brick lining is just about as heavy. Kanagy said braces were added in the building’s basement to support the heavy oven.

The partners had rented the Il Forno restaurant on Monday nights last April to cook Neapolitan pizzas, but that venture was cut short because of code issues, Kanagy said.

The partners knew they wanted to continue to cook Neapolitan pizzas for the public, so they considered their options. Then the building on East Lincoln became available and the planning began and culminated with the restaurant’s opening earlier this month. And already the restaurant has a feather in its cap by winning the People’s Choice Award in the Fire & Ice Festival’s chili contest.

That chili is not listed on the current menu. Right now the focus is on pizza.

Venturi has to be a multi-tasker when he’s creating in the kitchen. He makes the dough a day ahead as it has to season overnight to reach the proper texture and taste. The flour for the dough is imported from Italy.

Once the dough is ready, Venturi works it into a 12-inch crust, adds sauces, and selects from a host of toppings to create a personal pizza for each customer. In between tossing on toppings and working the dough, Venturi bounces over to the stove, throws in a piece or two of hardwood, or maybe spoons in some wood chips for a quick heat buildup. Once the customer’s pizza is ready to cook, Venturi slips it into the oven with a pizza paddle. The dough is cooked quickly and the cheesy coating blends with the sauce and selected toppings to become liquid flavor. Cooking a pizza takes only 60 to 90 seconds in the 800 degree oven.

The Neapolitan style

To be considered a true Neapolitan-style pizza, the pizzeria must follow traditions from Naples, Italy. Those include specific natural ingredients and cooking the pizza in a wood-fired oven.

The cook

Where did Venturi learn to bake such a delight? New York City.

"I started cooking at a restaurant in New York and the baker ran out. They asked if I could bake and I said ‘yes,’" he laughed, adding that he didn’t know how to bake then but quickly learned through some fast reading.

"I just like to do things that are seemingly simple, but are actually quite complicated," Venturi said about the challenge of the pizza kitchen.

The restaurant serves up a variety of pizzas, all 12 inches and topped with fresh ingredients as in the true Neapolitan style. And the pub portion of the name includes a selection of beers, wines and even a hard cider. There are also soft drinks and starters available.

The restaurant seats 40 people. As one couple learned when they stuck their heads in the door last week to ask about reservations, yes, they are taken. But if a crowd is waiting, service will be first-come, first-served, according to Kanagy.

Carry-outs of pizza and beer are available. And lunch service is being planned for the future.

Kanagy envisions the restaurant becoming a destination for diners.

"It is the kind of thing that is going to be a regional attraction. It is the kind of pizza that is kind of specific," he said.

And what is the feedback so far from customers?

Kanagy said he has talked to a lot of them, especially the children who come in, and they are big fans of the Neapolitan taste and the personalization of their pizza.

"If kids like it, you are accomplishing something," he said with a laugh.

Address: 123 E. Lincoln Ave., Goshen

Phone: (574) 485-2985

Hours: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.;

Fridays and Saturdays, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Carry-out: yes

Social media: Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter

Internet: ... -in-goshen
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