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True Romans: New Italian spot offers pinsa the pie

Fresh out of the oven: Camillo restaurant owner Michael Schall shows off a pinsa pizza.
Photo by Erin Lefevre

Say Saluti!

A new Italian eatery will start slinging fresh pies and pastas in the heart of Prospect Lefferts Gardens tomorrow night. The three owners of Camillo, opening on Sept. 19, already run a Tuscan restaurant in Clinton Hill, but their new Nostrand Avenue joint will focus on foods native to the city of Rome, said one owner.

“We’re known for being a very traditional Tuscan restaurant, so I see what we’re doing as bringing a little slice of real Italy to Brooklyn,” said Michael Schall, who also co-owns Locanda Vini e Olii. “And so we wanted to do that again but offer a different slice. One of the things we’re really excited about is we’re doing a certain type of pizza that’s not really around in too many place, especially in New York. It’s the ancient precursor to basically all Roman-style pizza that most of us know.”

The Roman speciality pie is called pinsa. Its dough is made using a mix of grains, which has to rise over two to five days, and it is cooked at a lower temperature — all of which makes its crust more durable and crispy, said Schall.

“Pinsa is less glutinous, more durable crust — it’s really good for take-away or the next day,” he said.

Schall recommends trying the Pinsa al Tartufo, made with imported Italian black truffles, smoked buffalo mozzarella, and asparagus.

Delizioso!: Owners Michele Baldacci, Michael Schall, and Rocco Spagnardi enjoy a freshly prepared Cappricciosa pizza at Camillo on Nostrand Avenue, which opens on Sept. 19.
Photo by Erin Lefevre

Camillo will also serve up some delicious pasta dishes native to the city of Rome, including popular favorite Carbonara, Cacio e Pepe, and Amatriciana. At the bar, visitors can sample from a long list of Italian wines, beers, and several variations on the Negroni cocktail.

The eatery takes over a long-shuttered spot once occupied by a neighborhood watering hole, and locals are already lining up to see its replacement, said Schall.

“This used to be a bar, the neighborhood dive bar called Maximillian Bells. Everyone’s really happy we took over the space and are doing something nice here,” he said.

The trio anticipates the eatery will offer a new option for families looking for an authentic, casual Italian sit-down meal in their neighborhood, said Schall.

“I think it’ll definitely stand out, judging from reactions from our neighbors, who have all been so supportive,” he said. “We sort of established ourselves as one of the first sit-down places to go to. One of the big markets that we were going for here is families, because there’s a lot of families who live in the neighborhood.”

Camillo (1146 Nostrand Ave. between Midwood Street and Rutland Road in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, www.camillobk.com). Opens Sept. 19.

Yum!: The Cappricciosa pizza is a featured menu item at Camillo.
Photo by Erin Lefevre

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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