Patina Restaurant Group has opened a new casual pizzeria, called Via Napoli, adjacent to Tutto Italia Ristorante, its restaurant in the Italy pavilion in Epcot World Showcase at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. This becomes the first authentic Italian pizzeria to ever open in the park.
Restaurateur and longtime Patina Restaurant Group CEO Nick Valenti created the Via Napoli concept, based upon his travels in Southern Italy and his time developing and overseeing the successful Naples 45 Ristorante e Pizzeria in New York which was awarded the coveted certification of “La Vera Pizza Napoletana.” While in Naples, Valenti spent time studying the art of dough, crust, sauce and oven temperatures at the famous pizzerias Da Michele and Trianon. At Da Ettore, he discovered the art of pagnotiello, a folded round of pizza dough filled with mozzarella, ham and mushrooms.
“I have always loved the beauty of a simple Neapolitan pizza,” Valenti says. “It’s a perfect food, something beloved by both Italians and Americans. At Via Napoli we will make pizza the traditional Neapolitan way: with a textured, soft and charred crust. I look forward to bringing it to Walt Disney World, where it should be a welcome addition to guests visiting Epcot.”
Via Napoli features a selection of classical Neapolitan pizzas, ranging from pizza bianca, quattro stagioni, piccante, ortolano and a traditional margherita. Famed Pizzaiolo Charlie Restivo serves as executive chef at Via Napoli, where he crafts the pies using simple and delicious Italian ingredients such as San Marzano tomatoes, Caputo flour, handmade fresh mozzarella, Parma Cotto, crumbled sausage and water calibrated specifically to the pH found in Naples.
“We’re excited to be working with the Patina Restaurant Group once again on this significant expansion project,” said Dan Cockerell, vice president of Epcot. “Via Napoli will certainly enhance the guest experience and the architectural landscape of World Showcase just in time for our 15th annual Epcot Food & Wine Festival.”
A unique feature at Via Napoli is the wood-burning ovens, which are named after the three active volcanoes in Italy – Mount Etna, Mount Vesuvius and Stromboli. Each oven is sculpted with the “face of the volcano” — reflecting the gods whose mythology surrounds each volcano’s history.
The architecture and design of the new pizzeria is based on a mix of traditional Italian styles, with the Florentine architect Stefano Nardini (of Magris & Partners) working in conjunction with Rick Swisher Architect to build it.
New Upcoming Disney Parks Entertainment Include Show Inspired by ‘TRON Legacy,’ All-Female Improv Troupe
Disney Parks has posted notices for auditions for a couple of new upcoming productions at the domestic Disney theme parks in the wake of the recent announcement of the Disney Channel Rocks! show.
At Disney California Adventure, the Disneyland Resort is preparing a new nighttime celebration in honor of TRON Legacy from Walt Disney Studios. For the show (reported working title of ElecTRONica), male and female contemporary and hip-hop dancers are being seeked out to perform on stages outside in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot and main entrance areas. Experience with martial arts is considered a plus.
Meanwhile, over at Epcot, Disney Parks is looking to form a new comedic all-female improv troupe complete with accordionist. The unnamed show is described as a ‘highly interactive, comedic, and mostly non verbal show’ and ‘demands high energy, great physical improvisation and a passion for guest involvement.’ As a plus, a ‘fun, good natured sense of all things Italian may be helpful!’
No clues provided on where the new show might take place (cough).
Building on its more than 25 years of success in bringing Mexican cuisine to Walt Disney World guests, San Angel Inn, LLC will open a new 400-seat waterside restaurant and quick-service food location specializing in the freshly baked culinary flavors of Mexico. The Cantina de San Angel Restaurant, located directly in front of the Mexico pavilion in the World Showcase, is currently closed until fall 2010 for a significant refurbishment and expansion.
The new indoor and outdoor restaurant will be nearly four times larger than the previous 3,500 sq. ft. Cantina. The Cantina will serve as the first flex- service restaurant at Walt Disney World Resort. Disney research has shown that guests prefer a quick lunch while spending a day at the parks and enjoy a nice tableside restaurant experience in the evening hours. As a result, the new restaurant will serve quick service meals during the day where guests can enjoy an indoor, air-conditioned dining, or outdoor dining experience. Then, in the evening hours the restaurant is converted into a tableside restaurant where reservations are recommended.
At the Italy pavilion, the Patina Restaurant Group will expand its Italian culinary options by opening a new 300-seat pizzeria that will feature traditional Italian dishes straight from wood-burning ovens representing Italy’s infamous volcanoes. Guests will be immersed in the dining experience as they take in the sights, sounds, and aromas of the Italian delicacies, Florentine architecture, vaulted-ceilings, and indoor and outdoor dining.
Based on its success at Naples 45 in New York, the Patina Restaurant Group will import water from a source where the composition most resembles water used in Naples, Italy, to make the authentic Italian dough.
“Together with the addition of the pizzeria and the extensive refurbishment of the Cantina, we’re expanding the table service restaurant seats in World Showcase by approximately 20 percent,” said Dan Cockerell, vice president of Epcot. “We’re excited about this significant expansion, which will certainly enhance the guest experience and the architectural landscape of World Showcase. The timing couldn’t be better since we will be celebrating our 15th annual Epcot Food & Wine Festival.”