With its proximity to New York City and continuously expanding culinary scene, Fairfield County is embracing authentic Neapolitan style pizza. Locali Pizzeria and Bar, located in New Canaan, is bringing a fresh, authentically Italian approach to its restaurant.
Locali serves individual pizzas that are perfect for those who come in wanting to try a little bit of everything. The dough is thin and chewy with a crisp crust cooked in a wood-fired, Stefano Ferrara oven. General Manager Tara Roberts says since they aimed to recreate a truly Naples-inspired restaurant, they wanted every aspect of Locali to be as authentic as possible. “The oven, the grout, the cement— everything came from Naples. The oven is a Stefano Ferrara and Stefano himself came over and built it on site. It’s definitely the most expensive thing in the place and it creates a wonderful, wonderful pizza. We have a traditional Neapolitan style dough that we make here and everything is fresh, fresh ingredients. A lot of the ingredients we use are imported from Italy.”
Locali embraces a seasonal approach to their menu— Roberts says their margarita pizza is by far the most popular pie, however it is closely followed by their clam pizza. A flavorful, bright lemon and white wine sauce is ladled on top of the crispy crust and topped with whole clams, still in their shell. While this pie is particularly in demand in summer, Roberts says Locali will continue to introduce other seasonal summertime ingredients to their menu including figs, burrata, and heirloom tomatoes. Executive Chef William Eschner is “constantly tweaking things and working on things,” says Roberts. “It’s like a science project back there. It’s evolving and continuous process which is fun and exciting— it definitely keeps things fresh.”
Their bar is also a focal point in the small space and is well-utilized. Locali is introducing a new Lambrusco, which is a sparkling red wine that Roberts thought would be a welcome addition to the summertime menu. Other summertime specials include a red sangria made with Montepulciano, muddled fresh herbs like basil and mint, and a coconut mojito. Roberts said their goal is simply to introduce “something different, something fresh that no one else is doing.”
Locali’s success is heard loud and clear throughout Fairfield County. Roberts said that while the New Canaan customer is a dedicated one, Locali has welcomed in residents from Darien, Greenwich, North Stamford, and even Westchester County. Locali is slated to open up in Mount Kisco later this year. Roberts emphasizes the importance of listening to their dedicated guests. From special gluten free and vegan offerings to making plain pasta for a little kid, Locali is committed to treating everyone like family and providing an enjoyable, comfortable experience. Guests often offer their own suggestions for the menu, including a caesar salad which will now appear piled high on top of Locali’s famous crust to create a fork and knife pizza.
Roberts has been working in the restaurant industry since she was 15 years old and said the way Locali staff treats their guest is unlike any of her previous experiences— “Locali translates to ‘the spot’ in Italian. The idea behind Locali is that everyone should come in and feel like they are family and friends and enjoy themselves here.” Roberts recently traveled to Italy and said the dining experience was entirely different than how it is in the U.S. “In Italy, you just sat there forever at the table. It was communal and social and relaxing, it’s where everyone comes together- family, friends, and it’s enjoyable. Good food, and good company that’s what we try to do here.”
Locali is located at 32 Forest Street, New Canaan, CT 06840.