The perfect way to begin your tasting journey of true old world style Neapolitan pizza is closer than you think. Inizio Pizza Napoletana in south Charlotte, at the corner of Providence Road and Ballantyne Commons Parkway, features authentic tastes from abroad in a contemporary kitchen right here in Charlotte.
The vibe at Inizio Pizza Napoletana Is open and airy with lofted ceilings, white walls and massive windows across the store front, but stays grounded with rustic plank wood vignettes, tables balanced on industrial piping, and gleaming metal drum shades above. It is the perfect setting to experience their old world style Neapolitan pizza.
For Inizio Pizza Napoletana, creating this specific style of pizza starts with a very specific water. The perfectly PH-balanced water that they import from Naples, Italy (seriously) is the key ingredient in this amazing dough that takes 3 days to make and only 90 seconds to cook. Much like the décor at Inizio Pizza Napoletana, this handcrafted dough becomes a cloud-like, chewy texture inside that is balanced with an ultra thin layer of crispy crust on the outside. And the leopard-spot charring is a beautiful backdrop for the quality, fresh ingredients to follow; like the melt-in-your-mouth Buffalo Mozzarella that is flown in fresh from Italy to be the headliner on all the ALL the pizzas at Inizio Pizza Napoletana, not just the specialty pizzas. (At Inizio Pizza Napoletana, Nobody puts buffalo in a corner.)
Head Chef of Inizio Pizza Napoletana, Peter Falcon, created two pizzas for us to try. The Cavoletti and the Pistachio. The Cavoletti was today’s special with a medley of colors that boasted bright green Brussels sprout leaves, pink salty morsels of pancetta, and a creamy white blend of cheese. The flavors were subtle and, with the absence of a sauce, would make for a perfect pizza for those who prefer milder tastes in foods.
Inizio Pizza Napoletana’s Pistachio pizza puts a spin on traditional pesto by subbing pistachios for the pine nuts, and adding a hint of rosemary. Like the Cavoletti, the flavors are mild and super fresh, and each ingredient gets to shine without being masked by a marinara sauce. Though, if you prefer a sauce based pizza you can opt for any of the other pizzas that feature Inizio Pizza Napoletana’s San Marzano tomato sauce- a fresh made puree of San Marzano tomatoes and sea salt. That’s it. And, all pizzas are served with a side of Inizio Pizza Napoletana marinara sauce. Again, the sauce uses the fresh base of the tomato sauce but also adds, olive oil, garlic and basil to the mix.
The menu at Inizio Pizza Napoletana is simple: Pizza, salads, cannoli and gelato. They don’t need to dilute your options with a bunch of other stuff, because the stuff they do have is good. But, for the love of all that is holy… do not finish your journey without trying the dessert. Yes, the cannoli is good. Inizio Pizza Napoletana makes their cannoli fillings in house with a perfectly smooth ricotta cheese that rivals the carts on the streets of Italy. But the gelato?? The best I’ve ever had. Their salted caramel gelato was like eating spoonfuls of buttery velvet. I am not a big fan of desserts in general, but I ate that gelato LIKE IT WAS MY LAST MEAL. And although I was perched on those heavy industrial stools, I may have, for a moment, begun to float. Do yourself a favor and save room for that little gem.
Clearly there are a multitude of options out there to get your everyday pizza fix. But if you are looking for an authentic experience of an old world technique that features Charlotte’s only Neapolitan style pizza, then Inizio Pizza Napoletana is where your journey begins.