By Kelly de la Rocha
The Lanzi family, owners of three restaurants on Sacandaga Lake and one in Johnstown, will open a fifth, Lorenzo’s Southside, in Amsterdam in late March or early April of this year.
The new eatery, which will specialize in Neapolitan pizza and homemade pasta, is located at 1 Port Jackson Square, about a block away from where Luigi Lanzi opened the first Lanzi’s restaurant
in 1920. That restaurant served patrons until 1985. The Lanzis ran a second Amsterdam-based restaurant, Lorenzo’s, from the early 1950s until 1998.
“That was the last time we were in Amsterdam, 1998, so we’re coming back,” said third generation restauranteur Joe Lanzi, owner of Lorenzo’s Southside.
Lorenzo’s Southside, which can seat 190 indoors and 120 outside on the patio, will also serve andwiches and dinners, including some not often featured on local menus. One example is cacio e pepe – homemade linguini tossed with Pecorino cheese and topped with freshly ground pepper.
Joe’s three sons, Giuseppe, Giacomo and Gaetano, went to New York City to learn Neapolitan pizza-making techniques from famed pizza maker Roberto Caporuscio. They also studied under award-winning Neapolitan pizza maker Michele D’ Amelio.
The focus on Neapolitan pizza will set Lorenzo’s Southside apart, said Gaetano Lanzi. Certified by the Associazione Pizzaioli Napoletani, the restaurant will make 12-inch personal pizzas crafted in a 300-year-old tradition that starts with dough that’s fermented for two days.
he explained. Topping the dough will be San Marzano tomatoes, imported buffalo mozzarella, fresh herbs, extra virgin olive oil and local, seasonal vegetables, when available.
The pizza will be baked in an imported Valoriani wood-fired pizza oven at 900-plus degrees for 60 to 90 seconds. The quick, hot cooking technique creates a crisp, puffy crust charred with “leopard spots.”
Homemade pasta is the restaurant’s other headliner. Varieties including cavatelli, angel hair, gnocchi, fettuccine and linguine will be made with a special machine that can produce between 60 and 70 pounds an hour. This egg-based pasta is nothing like the kind that comes in a box, said Giacomo Lanzi, who is in charge of pasta making.
“There’s really no comparison. It’s so light,” he explained. “The color is just totally different and the taste is just so fresh.”
Take-out will be available – for everything except pizza.
“Neapolitan pizza traditionally dies 15 minutes after you cook it, so it’s really not that good to-go. So, we want people to enjoy the pizza in-house and enjoy the experience,” Gaetano explained.
The restaurant will also feature Italian craft beer and Italian cocktails like Aperol Spritz. There will be a wine club, too, with special deals for members.
The Lanzi family looks forward to continuing their long tradition of Italian food and hospitality in Amsterdam.