Gianmarco’s owner Giani Respinto likens opening his second restaurant to releasing his second album. None of the dishes will be the same as the white tablecloth Edgewood eatery he opened nearly 15 years ago, but the quality of Italian freshness will certainly carry over into Pizzeria GM. It’s set to open next to Patriot Park in West Homewood by early February, and he plans to start serving up pizza at 11 a.m. every day except Monday when they will be closed and wrap up at 9 p.m. on weeknights, 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 4 p.m. on Sundays.
Why West Homewood? Why pizza?
It’s an up-and-coming neighborhood, and we wanted to do something more accessible and reasonable than what we do at Gianmarco’s, which is white tablecloth. It’s not just another pizza joint. We are going to be doing pizzas, but we are also going to be doing small plates and salads and sandwiches. We’ll have a 60-bottle wine list and 20 beers. Nothing will be over $15. It will be sit-down full service. I think often places are getting too casual. When I go out, I want to be waited on.
What will the interior and exterior be like?
We have tons of outdoor seating—a covered porch, two open patios, and a large outdoor space for games with bocce ball and cornhole. You can bring your dog and you can bring your kids, as long as both are well behaved. The inside is very New York industrial—lots of concrete, lots of cinderblock, lots of wood from a winery in Oregon, a lot of red oak and walnut. It’s like a big bomb shelter. It will seat 87 people inside, and outside 50 to 60.
If you were going to order pizza for yourself, what would it be?
I would order the clam pie. It’s clams and pecorino and fontina and fresh sliced garlic and fresh slivered jalapenos and fresh oregano. It’s an old school Neapolitan crust with a 24-hour proof.
We will do a chicken parmesan pizza, a meatball pizza, a sausage and peppers pizza, a porchetta (Italian pork roast) pizza. Instead of having a million ingredients on the menu, we’re just saying if we’ve got it, you can have it. We buy fresh and local wherever we can. Nothing is going to be out of a can except our tomatoes from San Marzano. We make our own mozzarella. Everything we do at Gianmarco’s is going to carry over to there quality wise.
Can you talk more about the small plates on the menu?
We’ve got a big meatball, and we’re doing hot crab meat spinach artichoke dip. We’ll do a burrata dish, and we’re making our own porchetta so we’ll have a porchetta app. We’re doing clams porcino—a bunch a different things.
You say you keep getting asked when Pizzeria GM is opening. Where do you think the excitement comes from?
I know people in West Homewood are really craving something they can call their own, and that’s what we want it to be. You can bring your kids and sit outside drinking beer, and send your kids to the park. I think it’s going to be neat. I’m excited.