Royal Oak's Antica Pizzeria Fellini

At Antica Pizzeria Fellini, named after the film director, Neapolitan pizzas always get top billing


Published:

photographs by paul hitz

 

In Naples, Italy, pizza makers are very protective of their pies. So dedicated are they that, nearly 20 years ago, a group of pizzaiolos (pizza makers), with the backing of the Italian government, organized the Associazione Verace Napoletana (AVN) to promote and protect authentic Neapolitan pizzas.

That brings us to the new Antica Pizzeria Fellini on South Washington in Royal Oak, where proprietor Salvo Scrima and his pizzaiolo, Massimo Burzio, began pulling pristine Neapolitan pizzas from the oven in September.

The dough is made with wheat flour, sea salt, yeast, water — and nothing else, Scrima says. The Caputo 00 flour, San Marzano tomatoes grown in the foothills of Mount Vesuvius, and fresh mozzarella di bufala are all imported from Italy, as is Burzio, who spoke only Italian when he arrived here.

Neapolitan pizzas spend only a minute to 90 seconds in the oven at 900 degrees. The sauce is made with hand-squeezed raw tomatoes, a pinch of salt, and no spices.

Antica Pizzeria Fellini is the first pizzeria in Michigan to be certified by Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN), the American branch of AVN, joining about 60 others around the United States, in cities from New York to Seattle and including one, appropriately enough, in Naples, Fla.

Scrima and his wife, Antonina, grew up in Italy eating Neapolitan pies. Weekends in Naples, he says, always started with a pizza and then moved on to whatever activity was planned.  

When the couple moved here in 1994, Salvo went into the tile-and-stone business; Antonina found a job in retail. But they never lost their taste for Neapolitan pizzas, and they searched for them, finding the closest to the real thing across the river on Windsor’s Erie Street.

About five years ago, the couple began exploring the idea of opening their own pizzeria. In order to be certified by the Associazione, Salvo went back home and enrolled in an intensive AVN seminar that included a written exam as well as an edible one.

He had to prepare two pizzas, marinara and margherita, to be judged by the experts. (Both pizzas are on the menu at Antica Pizzeria Fellini). The dozen pizzas on the menu are composed pizzas, meaning there’s no list of toppings to be added. Each is a complete creation in its own right, from the Sofia, which includes cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, arugula, prosciutto di Parma, and shaved Parmigiano, to the house specialty, the Fellini, a star-shaped margherita pizza with vegetable-stuffed corners.

The Scrimas gave the name Fellini to their restaurant as a tribute to the Italian filmmaker of La Dolce Vita fame. “We’re big fans of Federico Fellini … he’s one of the greatest movie directors,” Salvo says. “And, besides, it sounds elegant.”

415 S. Washington, Royal Oak; 248-547-2751. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sun.-Wed., 11 a.m.-midnight Thur.-Sat.

If you enjoy the monthly content in Hour Detroit, "Like" us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter for more frequent updates.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

2015 Hour Detroit Restaurant Of The Year

Torino chef Garrett Lipar’s tasting menus take guests on expertly paced and emotional culinary adventures

You Say Tomato...

They may not have 57 varieties, but Labrosse Farms is branching out to produce heirloom ketchups and jams

Hot Off The Skillet

Kuzzo’s Chicken and Waffles chef Bill Bowles serves up Southern-style fried green tomatoes

A Long Day's Coney Into Night

What’s a typical Friday like at Detroit’s iconic Lafayette Coney Island? A tag team crew of Hour Detroit staffers finds out.

Shelf Awareness

Craft brewers push their way into premium space once reserved for the big boys
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Hour Detroit's Best of Detroit Party 2015 Video Invitation
    Hour Detroit is bringing the Best of Detroit issue to life at the tenth-annual Best of Detroit...
  2. Brewery Profile - Greenbush Brewing Co.
    Sawyer, Michigan’s Greenbush Brews Full-bodied Beer
  3. Royal Oak's New Brew
    ROAK Brewing Co.’s taproom opens to the public today
  4. Where and What We Eat
  5. A Long Day's Coney Into Night
    What’s a typical Friday like at Detroit’s iconic Lafayette Coney Island? A tag team crew of...
  6. Promise and Protocol
    Gordie Howe’s stroke treatments and A. Alfred Taubman’s legacy to U-M are putting stem cell...
  7. Top Dentists 2015
  8. The 313: Dialing In To Metro Detroit
  9. What We Do For Fun
  10. Shelf Awareness
    Craft brewers push their way into premium space once reserved for the big boys