General Manager Brian Bazar says, “We want this to be a neighborhood pizzeria that you walk into and everyone knows you.” Restaurant Owner Sabine Langer added, “The goal is to create that warm feeling. If you come a lot, people recognize you, so then you’re part of the family.”
The restaurant is now open for delivery, pickup, and patio seating—and you can tell they’re serious about community as soon as you step in the door.
“After going so long with everything being closed down, we are really happy to be here for them,” said Ryann Roberts, one of many Trasimeno employees who’s more than ready to welcome you into their space.
For Douglas Gordon, former social worker now restaurant manager, this is more than just a job at a restaurant: it’s an investment. “I’m invested in our customers, in Brian and Sabine, in these employees–I’m invested in Crosstown and their mission.”
The communal fervor for this restaurant has clearly trickled down all the way from the top, and Langer’s passions have given Memphis more than this pizzeria despite her predispositions about owning a restaurant.
“I was thinking it would be dumb to own a restaurant, a terrible business, low margins, it’s hard to make money. So I didn’t go into it with the intent of owning a restaurant, I went into it with the intent of helping people,” Langer said about the experience of opening her first restaurant, Global Café, the international food hall that showcases immigrant food entrepreneurs which also operates a few doors down within Crosstown Concourse.
Now, Langer has is bringing the same energy to Pizzeria Trasimeno with an additional nod to her love for Italian culture.
“This is much more about my passion for Italy, Italian food, soccer, Formula One,” she said.
“If you have a passion for something and you’re not just checking boxes, there’s a better chance of things working.”
The twin wood-fired ovens sit in front of a deep red backdrop that reminds Langer of her home in Italy. The dough for the crusts is prepared in a window-walled room, and the pizzas are assembled, baked, and plated in full view of the dining room behind a spacious counter.
Dotting the perimeter of the room are cozy alcoves of plush sofas and chairs surrounding low tables. Giant televisions watch over these nooks where you can catch a Formula One race, a soccer match, or whatever you feel like watching (if you ask nicely).
Langer’s zeal is reflected in the team’s dedication to delivering the best food. The cooks have access to the highest quality ingredients, and their encouraged to let their skills and creativity shine. In fact, the Sunstedt Special is a product of this process and is currently the third-best selling pizza on the menu.
Pictured: Sunstedt Special & Pizza alla Nutella
Given their dedication to consistently providing the highest quality pizzas, Bazar and Langer are actually thankful for the lower volume of this time.
“You get to work and find your way, and then you get to put systems in place to make something perfectly every time,” Bazar said, “I am most excited about making the best possible pizzas I can right now, and that’s it.”
And those strong systems will come with a strong menu to match thanks to all of the passionate peeps.
“This [period of time] has allowed us to ramp up very slowly, test our foods daily, and make sure everything is on point. We would never have been able to do that pre-pandemic,” she said.
Don’t worry if you’re not ready to venture out of your home to pick up a pizza—Bazar’s priority is safety. “My entire career, I have thought about food safety and what an important responsibility that is,” he said, “food safety is at the highest level of what I do.” If you spend any time in the restaurant, you are likely to hear Bazar ask his team to wash their hands or kindly remind a customer of Crosstown’s mask policy.
Even though they have found the blessings in this strange time, the folks at Pizzeria Trasimeno are excited to keep moving forwards. They have two new pizzas in the works, a few new salads coming up, calzones being tested, and even a dessert pizza concept that you’ll be able to order soon.