Dining With Denise Neil

New Neapolitan pizzeria on Douglas close to opening

Construction is coming along at the soon-to-open Piatto Neapolitan Pizzeria next to the Hopping Gnome near Douglas and Hillside. Owners are hoping to have it ready by the end of October.
Construction is coming along at the soon-to-open Piatto Neapolitan Pizzeria next to the Hopping Gnome near Douglas and Hillside. Owners are hoping to have it ready by the end of October. The Wichita Eagle

It was a vacant storefront. Then it was a demolished storefront. And now it’s something resembling its future self.

People who frequent the 1700 block of East Douglas that also has Hopping Gnome Brewing Company, The Donut Whole and Tanya’s Soup Kitchen have been noticing the progression of the space at 1706 E. Douglas, just west of Hopping Gnome.

The space, which now has an attractive stone facade, is the soon-to-be home of Piatto Neapolitan Pizzeria, which will specialize in authentic Naples-style pizza.

Owner Robert McMullin said he’s aiming for a late-October opening. He promises to update me when he pinpoints the exact opening date.

McMullin and his co-owner wife, Carolina Tabares, are putting the finishing touches on the restaurant now. They’ve installed their brick oven, but preparing it will take time. It has to be “cured” to protect the bricks, and McMullin must build incrementally hotter fires over a period of 10 days.

His pizza dough also is special and goes through a three-day fermentation process. The result is a crust best described as “pillowy,” he said.

The sauce on the pizza also is unique. It’s made only two ingredients.

“The sauce is just tomatoes and salt,” he said. “You don’t cook it. It’s basically finding the best tomato that I can find, grinding it and adding salt.”

McMullin trained in Italy to perfect his pizza-making skills. He’s been posting mouth-watering photos of his inventions on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

Stay tuned for updates on the restaurant’s opening.

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