Savoy Pizzeria and Craft Bar, part of the Max Restaurant Group, had its soft opening Oct. 20 at 32 LaSalle Rd. in West Hartford.
By Ronni Newton
The Max Restaurant Group gained its 11th distinct restaurant with the opening Oct. 20, 2016, of Savoy Pizzeria and Craft Bar in West Hartford Center.
Word of the opening spread quickly through social media, and on Friday night every seat was filled with guests enjoying West Hartford’s newest eatery.
The focus on pizza is obvious from the restaurant’s name, but the “Savoy” part is pizza-related, too. Max Restaurant Group President Rich Rosenthal shared the legend of Queen Margherita of Savoy back in February, when the name was announced: According to the story, Queen Margherita was invited to Naples and given the opportunity to choose her favorite pizza. The one she chose – with the red sauce, white cheese, and green basil that evokes the colors of the Italian flag – was named the Margherita pizza in her honor in 1889.
Queen Margherita pizza is featured on the menu, as are an extensive and creative variety of unique red- and white-sauced pizzas with names like “Jersey Shore,” “Franklin Avenue Freeze Out,” “Wavy Gravy,” “Flower Power,” and “Th-That’s All Folks. All the pizzas are made in two wood-fired ovens imported from Italy. Gluten-free crusts, as well as a long list of additions, are also available.
Dante Cistulli, who grew up in a large Italian family and has long been a fan of the type of pizza served in Naples, Italy, is the managing partner. Cistulli has been with Max Restaurant Group since 2012, most recently at Max’s Oyster Bar.
In addition to pizza, there are wood-fired small plates ranging from “pane Tasca” (pocket bread with extra-virgin olive oil, parmesan, and basil) to veal pancetta meatballs, to vongole (littleneck clams with pancetta, cipollini onion, roasted peppers in a white wine and tomato sauce).
Share boards are a great way for diners to start their meal with a combination of any three meats or artisanal cheeses from the extensive collection that includes Burrata. Numerous salad options are also available.
The full bar includes an impressive selection of Italian wines as well as craft beers.
The interior is a cooler and more eclectic version of a pizza place, just like the menu. Red accents are plentiful in the furnishings, connecting the interior with the exterior façade. A large collage of Queen Margherita and the Cento Tomato label graces the corner by the bar.
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