Two guys from Vegas have just doubled down on Austin's pizza scene: Due Forni, the dual-oven, pizza-centric restaurant owned by a McCombs School of Business grad and helmed by former Fiamma at the MGM Grand executive chef Carlos Buscaglia, will open this winter inside the Littlefield Building downtown at Sixth Street and Congress Avenue in the former Louie's 106 space.
"Due forni" means "two ovens" in Italian, referencing the two ovens that Due Forni (which was just voted Eater Las Vegas readers' favorite pizza in the city) uses to make both Neapolitan and Roman-style pizzas in-house. They're also known for their extensive wine program.
Owner--and McCombs grad--Alex Taylor says he can't be wait to be part of the "incredibly young and dynamic" food scene in Austin: "Texas was always our first choice for expansion of the concept."
The Austin menu will stay true to the "core items" at the Vegas location, but fresh, seasonal ingredients are going to be a big deal for Chef Buscaglia. One of the frustrating things about shopping for ingredients in Las Vegas is that the climate and agriculture just can't deliver the way more temperate areas can. Right now, says Taylor, the farmer's market food Due Forni gets in Nevada comes in all the way from Santa Monica. In Austin, though, "Carlos is going to be in hog heaven."
Chef Buscaglia says the menu will "reflect a lot on seasonal items," and that he's looking forward to experimenting with local ingredients: "That's what all chefs live for, to be creative."
"The first time I went [to Austin] with Alex," remembers Buscaglia, "once I saw the produce and quality of the food in supermarkets, that just blew my mind. In Vegas, you can't find that."
Buscaglia and chef Sean Zirkle, also an MGM Grand veteran, will be carrying Due Forni's signature style through to Austin, making "pretty much every protein" in their pizza ovens--take, for example, Due Forni's duck confit, which Buscaglia roasts for nine hours through the night after the restaurant closes, then serves as an off-menu pizza special.
Still, says Taylor, don't call Due Forni a pizza joint. "We're a restaurant that does pizza. I would not consider ourselves a pizza joint or a pizzeria." Instead, he says, their "aesthetic is approachable and very sleek," and "the food that we put out goes beyond pizza."