By Kelly Vaughn | Photograph by Paul Markow
Ninety seconds. That’s all it takes to bake one of Limoncello’s signature pizzas. Ninety seconds at 950 degrees, that is, thanks to the restaurant’s massive, handcrafted-in-Naples and hand-delivered-to-Prescott oven. It’s impressive, and so is the story of Limoncello’s chef-owner, Matteo Schiavone.
Italian by birth, he spent more than 30 years as a chef and master pizza-maker all across that country before heading west. Since, he’s been working to cultivate a menu that celebrates his Italian heritage while embracing Arizona’s dining scene and style.
“ ‘Authentic’ and ‘true’ are two words that give my restaurant something special,” Schiavone says. “We’re not ‘Italian style,’ but we’re true Italian people, and all of our ingredients are imported from Italy.”
What’s more, Schiavone is one of the only Arizona pizza chefs to have such extensive experience in Naples, the home of Neapolitan pizza.
And one of the most popular menu items at Limoncello is golden. Literally. In addition to an edible gold leaf topping, it’s loaded with a crust full of marinated chicken. There are traditional offerings, too — the Toto Carne, featuring sausage, soppressata, cotto salami and bacon; the Margherita, with basil, mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes; and the Bufalina, which celebrates buffalo mozzarella, roasted cherry tomatoes and arugula.
Of course, you’ll find fresh, homemade pasta and a smattering of salads on the menu, as well as plenty of antipasti options — can anyone say “poplette meatballs”?
Pair a simple Caesar salad with the orecchiette alle cime di rapa for a delicious dining experience. The pasta is dressed with spicy Calabrian chiles, broccoli and Italian sausage. Chased with a glass from Limoncello’s extensive wine list, it’s likely to have you back the following week for more.
You’ll want to save room, though, because with every meal at Limoncello, you’ll receive a complimentary sample of its eponymous beverage.
A traditional Italian digestif, the liqueur — made with alcohol, cream, vanilla beans and lemon zest — is smooth and thick.
“Our limoncello is the perfect ending for any kind of meal,” Schiavone says. “It’s the classic shot of dessert that you want to drink by sipping, but it’s so good, you’ll drink it in one shot.”
Limoncello is located at 218 W. Goodwin Street in Prescott. For more information, call 480-399-9978 or visit www.limoncelloitalianhomemadecompany.com.