Pizzeria Trasimeno restaurateur Sabine Langer, who hails from Switzerland, is a self-professed Italophile.
When she was 15 years old, Langer and her mother took their first trip to Italy. Langer was learning Italian in school, and her mother was learning the language as a hobby.
“We fell in love, and after that, I spent every holiday, vacation, and many weekends in Italy,” Langer says. “It was an easy train ride from Switzerland to Italy. I would take a night train at 10 pm, and I’d get to the area by 8 am.”
It was the Lake Trasimene area (in central Italy between Florence and Rome) that drew her in — the people, the culture, the music. Langer would spend her mornings at Italian language school and her afternoons lounging on the beach. On one trip with her best friend, they discovered Neapolitan-style pizza at a local pizzeria. It’s that pizza that Langer seeks to recreate at Pizzeria Trasimeno, her newest eatery in Crosstown Concourse.
Neapolitan pizza, with its thin crust and simple, fresh ingredients, is baked at high temperatures in wood-fired, clay ovens. Pizzeria Trasimeno has two such ovens, both imported from Naples, Italy.
Langer is no stranger to restaurant ownership in Crosstown Concourse. She opened the wildly successful Global Café in 2018. Global Café is both an eatery and a social enterprise where refugee and immigrant food entrepreneurs showcase the food of their home countries (Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and occasionally Mexico, thanks to general manager Juan Viramontes). Although Langer never planned to open a second restaurant, the potential of those clay ovens called to her.
“It really speaks to my passion for Italy and for the food,” Langer says.
Pizzeria Trasimeno opened in early June — in the midst of the global pandemic — for takeout and delivery only. They’re offering a small menu of pizza and salads to start, but that menu will expand when it’s safe to open for indoor dining.
“But we’re not in a rush to open, for safety reasons,” Langer says. “It’s been great for us to have time to work on recipes.”
When that time comes, however, Langer says guests can expect more pizzas (even some vegan options), more salads, desserts, calzones, and a cocktail menu.
The restaurant boasts 3,000 square feet of indoor dining space and a refurbished patio. Langer improved the acoustics inside the space and added a lounge area.
“We’ve added couches, lounge chairs, and places for people to hang out. The space feels very cozy,” says Langer.
When the restaurant is fully open, Langer hopes guests will feel comfortable hanging out in the lounge while enjoying Italian wines and beers with cheese boards and other appetizers. Large TVs will broadcast Italian sports favorites, such as soccer and Formula One racing.
“I’m a big soccer fan, and I’m a big Formula One fan. When I was a kid, my dream job was Formula One mechanic,” says Langer with a laugh.
Guests may notice some familiar faces on the Pizzeria Trasmino team, including former Next Door American Eatery general manager Brian Bazar. Bazar now serves as general manager at Pizzeria Trasimeno, and Langer says he’s already a pizza pro.
“I have an amazing team, and Brian is great and positive,” Langer says. “Brian told me he could be an expert at making pizza in a week, and sure enough, he was. I gave him a few recipes, and he did a bunch of testing. Now he loves making pizza.”
Pizzeria Trasimeno is open Tuesdays-Thursdays, noon-7:30 pm; Fridays, noon-9 pm; and Saturdays, 11:30 am-9 pm. Free delivery is offered within a four-mile radius of Crosstown Concourse, and guests are also invited to enjoy their pizza on the refurbished outdoor patio.