Commercial Real Estate & Advisory

Bona Fide Pizza Expert Sets Up Shop

By Ian Thomas | August 9, 2011

Owner of oldest pie shop in Naples, Italy, teams up with his West Village peer and together try their hands in Hell’s Kitchen.

Two players, including one who is literally an authority on Neapolitan pie in particular, are teaming up to open a new high-end place in Hell’s Kitchen.

The duo has inked a 10-year lease for 2,500 square feet at 309 W. 50th St., between Eighth and Ninth avenues, for Don Antonio, a wood-fired pizzeria. Asking rent for the space, which includes 1,800 square feet on the ground floor and a 700-square-foot lower level, was $130 per square foot.

The new restaurant is being cooked up by Roberto Caporuscio, co-owner of Kesté Pizza & Vino in the West Village, whose Margherita pie was called the best pizza in New York by in the Food Network Magazine, and Antonio Starita, who owns one of the oldest pizzerias in Naples, Italy. He is the vice president of the association of Neapolitan Pizzaiuoli, an Italian group that certifies the authenticity of Neapolitan pizza makers.

“To open a kitchen, with my mentor, in the best country in the world, it’s been my dream to do that,” said Mr. Caporuscio, who is also known for his $4,000, intensive, 10-day pizza-making course.
As both men see it, they are leasing the perfect spot.

“I think the midtown area doesn’t have a good Neapolitan pizza, and I’m excited to bring my style of cooking to the area,” said Mr. Caporuscio, who expects to open the restaurant in October, and to feature a new creation he’s been working on, pizza fritta, which uses fried dough.

“This location is a great choice for a flagship spot,” said STEVE RAPPAPORT, senior managing director at Sinvin Real Estate, who represented the tenant. He points to the high volume of pedestrian traffic in the area.
The landlord of the property, Ivanhoe Realty, was represented in the deal by Bert Sohayegh and Seth Kessler of Cornerstone Group.