After two years of zoning changes, construction, permitting and inspections, Neapolitan-style pizza joint Bufalina may finally see the light of wood-fired day on the east side. Owner Steven Dilley, a former finance guy who's been navigating the stormy bureaucratic seas in Austin since 2011, tells Eater Austin he's anxious to start curing his Stefano Ferrara oven and opening the doors at 1519 E. Cesar Chavez. He's got two more inspections to pass.
"If those inspections go well, we should be pretty close," he says. "But I've given out too many dates."
Dilley says he'd been stewing on the idea of a restaurant for a long time, but a trip to Naples really got him moving on Bufalina. "When I got back, said okay, let's do it!"
In Naples, Dilley says he was drawn to the light, easy-to-eat pizzas.
"When I was in Naples, and I had never heard people describe pizza this way, at the restaurants one of their selling points was digestibility," he says. "It's strange when you hear it for the first time, but it makes a lot of sense. You don't want to be passed out. At least, I don't want to be."
A lighter pizza, he says, is perfect for Texas. "And come on, in the summer, in Austin? I think there's plenty of ways to keep it light."
As for Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana certification, Dilley says they're considering it.
"To me, the advantage of doing that is you're helping the association," he says, and "it's a great program. The education piece is great. They really care about it."
Once Bufalina opens, Dilley says patrons can expect eight to ten pies, seasonal salads and domestically sourced salumi, plus very domestically sourced sausage from neighborhood butcher shop Salt & Time.
"We pretty much have the oven and our creativity," says Dilley. He'd like to change the menu up frequently: "If the menu doesn't change, I think it's stale not just for diners but the people working here."
· Bufalina [Official]
· East Austin Set To Get Major New Playor In central Texas Pizza Game [ChowPapi]
· All Bufalina Coverage on Eater Austin [-EATX-]
· All Pizza Coverage on Eater Austin [-EATX-]