When Laina Kennedy went to Miami a year or so ago, she did what she always does (and what many of us do). She researched where she wanted to eat.
After reading a review of Mister O1 Extraordinary Pizza in South Beach that said their pies will change the way you look at pizza, she knew she had to try it.
A few bites in, she was sold.
So, the Naples-based mom who was itching to do something after leaving a position in incremental sales and customer service nearly a decade ago put her years in the corporate world to work on a full-scale passion project—to add a Naples location of Mister O1 to the three existing ones in Miami’s trendiest neighborhoods.
Keeping in mind National Pizza Day is Feb. 9, she’s hoping we will all see the fruits of her labor realized this winter in a 40-seat eatery offering dine-in, take-out and delivery at the Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt; it will be the brand’s first U.S. franchise.
“I couldn’t stop thinking about it,” says Kennedy, of the restaurant that’s named after the O-1 visa its founding chef Renato Viola received to transport his “extraordinary” ability and achievement as a pizzaiolo in his native Italy across the pond. “I developed such a love for this pizza that it became a goal of mine to figure out how to bring it to my friends and family in Naples.”
The menu will stay the same—with, of course, the ricotta-filled eight-point star-shaped pies that put Viola on the international map—and his trademark dough will continue to be made in-house. Another of Viola’s stamps is a sophisticated touch, with thoughtful permutations of toppings, even on the more traditional pies and calzones. Those include the Fabio with speck, gorgonzola and white truffle oil and Kennedy’s favorite, the Marco: “It’s a warm pizza with the signature San Marzano sauce, arugula, fresh tomatoes and Parmesan. And as soon as it comes out of the oven they pour cold burrata cheese over it. It melts into the pizza, and you can’t stop thinking about the combination of the warm and the cold. It’s amazing. I dream about it.”
While it’s first and foremost a pizza place (why mess with a really good thing?), in addition to customizable gluten-free and vegan pies, there will be charcuterie, salads, wine and beer, plus two desserts. Both sweet endings are odes to the can’t-stop-till-you-get-enough chocolatey hazelnut spread that must have been invented by angels (or someone deserving of an O-1 visa): a Nutella pizza dusted with powdered sugar and a calzone baked with bits of bananas and spicy nuts swimming in it.
For more information and opening updates, check the Mister O1 website; a Facebook page for the Naples location will also be coming soon.