FOR SEVERAL MONTHS, foodies in Savannah have patiently waited to see Chef Kyle Jacovino’s next move.
Some were even scared he might pack up his chef knives and take his genuine food far away from here.
Those same foodies—including myself—were ecstatic to learn that Chef Jacovino opened the doors of his very first restaurant, Pizzeria Vittoria Napoletana, last week.
Just look for the line around the shipping containers of Starland Yard, and you’ll find his new spot.
Instead of taking a deep dive into the nuances of Jacovino’s expertly crafted and cooked pizza, I wanted to get his perspective on his dreams coming to fruition.
The true sign of an authentic pizza craftsman is when you look around a pizzeria and see that patrons have not left a single piece of the crust behind on their finished plate. When the base that holds the sauce and cheese taste just as good as sauce and cheese, you have a product created by a master.
The menu features a few favorites from Chef Jacovino’s days at The Florence, and is the only local pizza spot that is hand tossing dough made with dough created with handmade yeast starter.
By the way, his pizza has sold out every night since opening last week.
Why did you want to open a Pizzeria?
After The Florence, the idea was always to try and get the pizzeria open. It took a lot longer than expected. Originally I was going to try to do it in the Starland Dairy and that fell way behind, timeline wise. I didn’t see any real opportunities coming my way, so that is when I started shopping around in San Francisco, the Atlantic, and eventually back to Philly.
That’s when Pila Sunderland caught wind of that, and he approached me about Starland Yard. At first I was like nah, I don’t do food trucks, I do brick and mortar. And they told me, “We’ll build you brick and mortar out of shipping containers.”
After your menu at 1540, why open a pizza spot?
Everything about The Florence was my dream restaurant. From handmade pastas and pizzas—those were always my two favorite things. You can find interviews with me way back in Atlanta. There is an interview with me I did when I was 23, and the question was, what do you want to open? And it was only about a pizzeria and pasta.
When Florence was going good the first year, I was like, let’s follow up with a dope pizzeria. We were selling so much pizza at the Florence it was insane.
What is the mission?
To make great pizza, and make everybody happy, and myself happy. I think the mission is to be excited about food again. To be really excited about the neighborhood I am in.
Like I said, I always wanted to be back in Starland, and I think the mission is to let people know that I finally have a real neighborhood spot that they can come to and hang out. It is one of those spaces where I want to be able to cook pizzas and also be able to go out and talk to customers.
How did you pick your oven?
That was a no brainer. The one at The Florence was a Neapolitan builder, from Naples as well. The original oven that I wanted at The Florence is the one I have now, but back in the day, about six or seven years ago, the guy that I have now, he did not have the right licensing to sell in America.
How did you create the menu?
It was pretty simple. It was a lot of stuff I made at The Florence and spruced up. A lot of the stuff that has been close to my heart for a long time. It is everything I love about food.
What sets your dough apart?
We are the first ones, for sure, in Savannah. We do all natural fermentation so there is no commercial yeast in our dough. It sounds kinda nerdy, but I compare it to why kombucha is kombucha and why everyone loves kombucha; because of the probiotic in the fermented tea. If you take that same idea and put into what we do with our yeast, that is how we make our yeast. It’s pre-fermented flour.
Are you using a certain ratio of flours to create your starter?
Yeah, spelt and 00 flour.
Where are you sourcing your ingredients?
We’re doing flour from King Arthur as well as Anton Mills in South Carolina. We’re also trying to seek out another awesome mill outside of Utah but we do not have that yet.
Can patrons expect any events?
I’d like to do some sort of family meal like I did at 1540. I think the inside would be awesome for that since it is only fifteen seats. To be able to do a one seating at fifteen people. I can still do some of my pastas. I will be able to do homemade manicottis and all that kind of stuff, and bake it in the oven and serve it family style. I would really like to do something like that, but that is going to take a little but of time.
I would love to do some beer dinners down the road. We have probably the best neighbors in the world, Two Tides. Their beer is so good. I would love to do a beer dinner with them.