It will be another two months before Savoy Pizzeria Napoletana officially debuts in West Hartford Center, but guests at Friday's Max Chef to Farm event got a sneak preview of its cuisine.
Max Restaurant Group has been building anticipation for Savoy, its 11th location, with the "Savoy Road Show" - a copper-clad, wood-fired oven mounted on a portable trailer. The oven was the centerpiece of the group's latest dinner event at Simsbury's Rosedale Farms, which presented about 90 percent of the restaurant's planned menu, said managing partner Dante Cistulli.
The spread, featuring cheeses and charcuterie, freshly pulled mozzarella, an assortment of Neapolitan-style pizzas, salads, meatballs and bruschetta, was "all exactly how [the dishes] will be executed in the restaurant," Cistulli said. The oven reaches temperatures of 850 to 900 degrees, allowing pizzas to cook in 90 seconds' time.
Savoy is projected to open in mid-October at 32 Lasalle Road, with seating for 90. Max Restaurant Group first announced the project in December 2015.
"What you’re going to see [there] is kind of a new atmosphere, newer, hipper kind of place, where people can go and get a really good handcrafted pizza that’s got a lot more passion in it, I guess is the best way I can describe," Cistulli said. "All the sauces we make, the dough, the cheese, every item is very carefully presented. The integrity of the ingredients is very important to us."
The restaurant will have a distinct focus on its bar, serving craft beer, wine and cocktails "with a touch of Italian tradition," said general manager Mike Oliver. Savoy will retain "the Max elegance, with a kind of Brooklyn 'in-your-face'-ness to it," he said.
"I’ve got to say, it’s probably one of the most exciting projects for us, at least since I’ve been with the group," said Cistulli, who previously served as a manager at Max's Oyster Bar. "Everyone seems to be really excited about this particular restaurant."
Follow updates at facebook.com/savoypizzeria.