Apizza di Napoli will open in June at 740 Silver Bluff Road in Aiken, owner Cliff Garzzillo said.
The restaurant will serve traditional wood-fired Neapolitan pizza with ingredients such as flour and tomatoes imported from Naples, Italy, Garzzillo said. The pizzeria will seat about 50 and will also offer sandwiches, salad and wine.
Garzzillo is converting a former business into a 2,400-square-foot restaurant. He will hire counter help and dishwashers in May and plans to start with a staff of six employees. Applicants should apply at www.apizzadinapoli.it.
Garzzillo said he will make all of the pizzas.
“I don’t want it to be huge,” he said “I want to get to know everybody that comes into the store.”
A few years ago, Garzzillo started making wood-fired pizzas in his backyard with a brick oven that he built. He said he had been trying to recreate the Italian food he grew up with since moving to Aiken 30 years ago.
Garzzillo, whose grandparents and wife are from towns near Naples, said he cooked for guests on weekends in his backyard and eventually decided to turn his passion for pizza into a business.
“I always kept striving for better and better pizza,” he said. “It did so well out of my yard that we decided to go commercial with it.”
Garzzillo traveled to Italy to train with the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana and became a certified Pizzaiolo.
The association requires certain ingredients to come directly from Naples. The oven in his restaurant is also from Naples, he said.
“We are going to be a truly authentic Italian pizzeria. We’re even looking for certification from the Italian government,” Garzzillo said.
The Italian government will send out a delegation to sample the food and analyze his techniques, he said.