If you’ve been waiting for Ignazio’s — the new pizza place in the old Bertucci’s — to open…
… you’ll have to wait a little longer.
The build-out is taking a while. Owner Louis Termini hopes for September.
Meanwhile, here’s the antipasto.
Termini — a Brooklyn native — says he opened the first oven-fired oven in the Hartford area, in 1990. Luna Pizza soon expanded to 7 locations in Hartford County.
He returned to his native borough when he found a great location underneath the Brooklyn Bridge.
There was one problem: It was around the corner from the legendary Grimaldi’s.
No problem! Ignazio’s — named after his father — has been a huge hit.
So Termini is not fazed by coming into a town that has more than its share of excellent Italian restaurants.
It’s a town he knows well. On drives between Brooklyn and Hartford, he stopped here often for lunch.
“I enjoy eating out,” he says. “I think I tried every place in Westport.”
Termini grew up on the water. In February he rented a house on Saugatuck Shores. He loved sitting in his grandmother’s rocking chair on the heated porch.
This summer, he’s enjoying it even more.
A realtor friend from the Bronx helped find the Bertucci’s site. “He’s Jewish, I’m Italian,” Termini says. “But we have the same childhood memories.”
There’s another New York connection: the Westport landlord knows the Brooklyn restaurant well. His sister lives around the corner from it.
Termini learned pizza-making from his mother and grandmother. He tweaked their recipes, so his pies are “a little different” than the standard neighborhood pizzerias of his youth.
He is proud of his fresh mozzarella. And he uses the same olive oils, cheeses, plum tomatoes and sauces he grew up with.
The doors are open. But Ignazio’s is still a few weeks away from welcoming customers.
Yet Termini is more than just a pizzeria owner. He’s also an artist. He got into the restaurant business after his first child was born — because, he says, of the type of artist he was: “starving.”
So he’s pleased to share Ignazio’s space with One River Art + Design. Shearwater — the popular Fairfield coffee bar, where Termini gets his java — will be there too.
Termini will offer both thin crust and Sicilian pizza from his wood-fired oven. Of course he’ll serve other dishes, like calzones — “and a few surprises we don’t have in Brooklyn.”
He’s discovered Connecticut Farm Fresh Express, which delivers produce. He’s looking for a good Connecticut beer to serve too.
Termini definitely knows the territory. The other day, he had dinner at the new Meatball Shop. He enjoyed it.
Of course, he notes, “there’s room for more than one meatball in town.”