Time to Worship at the Pizza Altar

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Only two days left til the most anticipated event of Baltimore’s summer:  yes, of course, we’re referring to the opening of actor Chazz Palminteri‘s Italian restaurant Chazz:  A Bronx Original. It’s a dining establishment so momentous that it needs a subtitle. Need we say more?

Well, yeah, there’s plenty more to say. The restaurant’s decor sounds like it’s aiming for a mix between upscale-casual and totally ridiculous:  there are multiple dining rooms “each with its own Bronx personality,” “an unprecedented bar program” (whatever that means), and — maybe you should sit down for this one — a pizza altar.

But the pizza might turn out to be worthy of your worship:  it features house-made mozzerella, and gets baked in a coal-fired oven. One pizza expert pronounced coal-fired ovens 2008’s biggest fad in his annual “Year in Pizza” presentation, so Chazz is moderately on-trend in that way.

And of course with a name like Chazz:  A Bronx Original, the appeal isn’t only the food. As Chazz himself told the Baltimore Sun earlier this spring, “Diners will be sitting in Chazz’s dining room. Boom! One of my movies will come on. They’ll be dining at Chazz, and then they’ll see me on the screen. And then they’ll look around, and Chazz Palminteri will be right there.” No, he’s serious:  “Don’t be surprised to see me working the pizza oven; I plan on being there and being active.”

Palminteri had apparently spent years searching for the perfect place to launch the Italian restaurant of his dreams. Then he stopped by Aldo’s in Little Italy while he was in town performing his one-man show based on “A Bronx Tale” — and ended up eating there ten nights in a row. The man does his research:  after settling on a Harbor East location, Palminteri went on an “exhaustive pizza discovery tour of the New York area” with a couple of Baldwin brothers.

Sounds like it’ll fit right in with the expensive kitsch-that-doesn’t-know-it’s-kitsch of the rest of Little Italy. Let us know if you stop by!



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