A new Neapolitan pizzeria opened at 2016 Shattuck Ave. Wednesday — the only in Downtown Berkeley, according to co-owner Steve Dumain.
Dumain stressed the authenticity of Lucia’s Pizzeria, located between Addison Street and University Avenue. The pizza oven is a Stefano Ferrara oven from Naples, Italy, and the pizza will be made by chefs from Palermo, the regional capital of Sicily.
“To make this sort of pizza, you have to have the right oven and the way of making it,” Dumain said.
Dumain and his business partner Alessandro Uccelli have been planning to open Lucia’s for more than a year. Dumain lived in New York before coming to the Bay Area to open a restaurant. Uccelli is from Venice, Italy. Combined, they have worked in the restaurant business for more than 30 years, Dumain said.
The restaurant’s name was inspired by the name of an Italian friend, through whom Dumain and Uccelli originally met. Dumain said he originally wanted to open a restaurant in Oakland, but when he found the Shattuck Avenue location, he “jumped on it.”
“We’re all gonna be working there as a family,” Dumain said. “So we’re going to bring something, I think, to (Berkeley’s Italian food scene) that way as well.”
Uccelli’s wife is a trained sommelier and worked on the wine list for the restaurant, Dumain said.
Lucia’s will feature a mixture of traditional and new, playful cuisine, Dumain said. The menu will combine classic Neapolitan pizza, regional Italian sides and salads and local ingredients from organic, sustainable producers, according to Dumain.
One example of the menu’s playful character, Dumain said, is the “Cacio e Pepe Fritelli,” which combines “Fritelli” — a dough that is slightly fried — with the taste of a traditional pasta dish called “Cacio e Pepe.”
Dumain hopes families, college students and people of all different ages will eat in his restaurant. He said he chose an intimate but sizable space that he thinks will attract a wide range of people.
Lucia’s Pizzeria will join a number of Italian restaurants that are located on Shattuck Avenue — among them PIQ, Corso, Lo Coco’s and Agrodolce.
“The more good food you can put in an area, the better it is for the area. So I just hope they’re good,” said Francesco Lo Coco, co-owner of Lo Coco’s Restaurant. “It gives me another place to eat besides my own place.”
Angelo Dalo – who owns the Trattoria La Siciliana and Agrodolce, which opened about three months ago – said he welcomes the competition and the presence of new Italian restaurants in the area.
“Italian food is the most popular cuisine in the world. So the more, the merrier. … It’s like a renaissance of authentic Italian cuisine.”