There has been a buzz going around for a while regarding a different type of pizzeria opening in the city. Just this past weekend I had a friend visit from NYC who told me how much he loved Buffalo style pizza, and we all know that there are plenty of places to get that around the city. But whenever a conversation arises on BRO about pizza, there is a contingent of people who lose their minds… ranting and raving about a mystical pizza that continues to elude those ravenous for a classic brick oven style version that can only be found in NYC. Has that day finally come? Is the Elmwood Village about to land a pizzeria the likes of what many have been dreaming about?
Not only will Vera Pizzeria be upping the ante for pizza in Buffalo, it will also incorporate a tasteful makeover of an already tantalizing space – high ceilings, brick walls, original wood floors, beautiful transom windows, etc. I spoke to Vera Pizzeria owner Cameron Rector who, along with his wife and business partner Jessica, plans on creating an Italian sensation at 220 Lexington Avenue (former Shakti Yoga):
Where does the name ‘Vera Pizzeria’ come from?
-Vera is the feminine form of ‘true’ in Italian, which really says what we’re trying to do, create true, authentic Neapolitan pizza.
What was the inspiration?
-We were inspired by the Neapolitan code for pizza making, and saw what real pizza is supposed to be – we knew Buffalo was lacking that, especially the Elmwood Village area.
-Neapolitan/urban Italian.. specifically, 00 flour, san marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, cooked in a brick oven.
How many pizzas will be on the menu?
-Seven, with the addition of nightly specials.
Give us an example or two of pizza choices?
-Your traditional Margherita (san marzano tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, basil), and Salsiccia, which has house-made sausage with spring onions, grated grana cheese and fresh mozzarella.
Will there be any other items on the menu other than pizza?
-Yes, we plan to have about 5 appetizers and 3 entrees.
I understand there will be a full bar. What sort of drinks will be served?
-An all-Italian wine list, including some not so well known varietals, imported bottled beers, and an innovative cocktail/martini list – we really want to make drinks the other bars in this city aren’t making, with recipes from pre-prohibition era to 2112.
-Italo disco, space age lounge – we’ll probably be all over the place. Maybe you’ll hear ‘The Damned’ one night.
When did you and Jessica first decide that you wanted to open a pizzeria?
-We’ve always wanted to open our own place, and we thought to ourselves, “What kind of food do we love? What’s missing in Buffalo?” Now is the perfect time for us to finally do it.
What do you want the vibe to be? Calm and relaxed? Vibrant and bustling?
-Vibrant/Calm?? 🙂 We want it to have a neighborhood feel – welcoming, quaint bistro, but we want it fun and energetic, too.
Are there TVs? If so, what will be showing?
-We will have one TV over the bar, we’ll probably play old Italian films from the 40s through the 70s, and Sabres games of course.
Can people order pizzas to go?
-Yes, for now
What’s your favorite pizza combination? Jessica’s?
-I like toppings like prosciutto, gorgonzola, truffle oil. Jessica likes a clean, classic Margherita.
Will there be a patio?
-During spring/summer, we plan to have a couple of sidewalk tables.
When do you plan on opening?
-This summer, probably June/July
-Our goal is to provide something new to Buffalo. Yeah, there are TONS of pizza places here, but our focus is on classic Italian-Italian food, not American-Italian, but with some modern twists along the way, molecular gastronomy will definitely be incorporated in some of our apps and entrees, as well as in our cocktail menu. We want to use fresh, local ingredients, with seasonal menu changes – lighter fare, seafood in the spring/summer, more heavier stews and ragus in the colder months. The decor will be pretty modern, for the most part, but comfortable, with vintage Italian details throughout. We’re going to make everything fresh – sausages, sauces, dough, etc…