For the past month, details have slowly trickled out regarding Stephen Lanzalotta's return to the Portland pizza market. First, there was word that an ambitious place was in the works from the fired Micucci baker and Sicilian Slab creator, then the revelation that he'd be partnering with Jason Loring of Nosh, and the news that their venture would be called Slab. But Lanzalotta was staying tight-lipped on the major details until the lease was in place. Until now. Today, the Press Herald's Meredith Goad filled in all the blanks, and the new place sounds spectacular.
From Goad, Slab will take over the old Scales spot in the former Portland Public Market building on the corner of Cumberland Avenue and Preble Street. It will seat 75, with plans (pending city approval) for a large outdoor beer garden with 20 taps. As for the menu:
Slab will serve six to eight appetizers, four or five sandwiches, six desserts and five kinds of pizza. The over-the-counter "Sicilian slab" will now be a "hand slab," to differentiate it from orders for that other kind of slab – a sheet pan pizza that serves eight, or a half-slab that serves four.
Loring (and three other business partners) are basically giving Lanzalotta carte blanche on the menu. There will be a bean and pickled Italian vegetable "wedge" pizza, and another with pepperoni, pepperoncinis and a spicy pepper paste. There's a near-cheeseless offering with a slow-cooked anchovy tomato sauce and an "ethereal" meatloaf meatball sub. Expect a vegan pizza, too. And Lanzalotta will revive a number of his desserts from the Sophia's bakery days.
On legal matters, Lanzalotta told Goad that he decided against pursuing legal action against Micucci's, which continues to sell slabs and Luna bread made with his recipes. At Slab, the restaurant will own all recipes, but Loring said that if Lanzalotta ever decides to leave, he won't try to stop him from baking his stuff elsewhere.
· Fired Portland Pizza Maestro Slices New Plan [PPH]
· All Coverage of Stephen Lanzalotta [~EMAINE~]
· All Coverage of Jason Loring [~EMAINE~]
[Portland Public Market photo: Loopnet/Photo collage: Tom Minervino]