Lazza offers area a touch of Italy
Michael Lazzara (left) of Norridge, owner of Lazza Pizza & Gelato in Norridge, opened the restaurant with chef Peppino Sgangarella of Elmwood Park which features a wood-burning oven behind them. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 11, 2012 11:26AM
A little slice of Italy has opened overlooking Norridge Park featuring Italian dishes baked in a wood-burning oven, as well as homemade gelato and sorbet.
Michael Lazzara ,of Norridge, and his brother Luigi Lazzara, of Lombard, opened Lazza Pizza & Gelato at 7701 W. Lawrence Ave. on May 21.
Originally from Sicily and Bari, the brothers wanted to offer casual dining with high-end traditional cuisine.
“We consider ourselves a trattoria,” Michael said. “All our cooking is like we would be cooking at home.”
They use their wood burning oven to bake not only the pizzas, but also the panzerotti and some Italian-style tapas like l’affogato which is baby octopus in marinara sauce baked in a clay-pot.
They make everything from scratch including the gelato and sorbets, borrowing their grandfather’s recipes.
The Lazzara brothers had been looking for a place to open their restaurant with patio dining for a long time, Michael said.
“When we saw this corner place next to the park, our ideas came together,” he said. “We try to keep it very casual to have people from the park and from the pool to come in.”
Chef Peppino Sgangarella of Elmwood Park mans the wood-burning oven. Originally from Salerno, Italy, he lived in Australia for 29 years before coming to America.
The restaurant also offers an assortment of antipasto, pasta and panini, as well as arancini which are fried balls of rice stuffed with tomato sauce, mozzarella and ground beef or prosciutto cotto.
The antipasto Lazza includes prosciutto crudo, ciliegine mozzarella, artichokes, fontinella cheese and olives.
The Lazza salad features mixed greens, green onions, walnuts, strawberries, goat cheese and blush wine vinaigrette.
As much Italian as English can be heard in the restaurant, with photos of the Lazzara’s Italian hometowns on the wall.
“We like to treat all our customers like family,” Michael said.