The word is out that P'cheen owners Alex Friedman and Mike LaSage have gathered the ashes of the once-popular Pizzeria Vesuvius and helped it rise again. Wood-fired pizza favorites like the Kilimanjaro (sausage, pepperoni, applewood-smoked bacon, smoked ham and pepperoncinis) are back on the market, and we know there's a secret speakeasy, some new pies for dine-in-only folks, and a hot volcano mural on the wall. There's also a music room, accessible only through a fireplace in a living room-style lounge, and much more. Eater got with Friedman for the scoop on why the sudden interest in revamping the once-dead spot.
Why did you decide to take over Vesuvius?
We have alway wanted to open a location on Edgewood because we believe that it has the potential to become one of the hottest areas in the A. With the trolley car project coming up, we knew that the property values would skyrocket soon, so when the oppurtunity presented itself to us it seemed like a no-brainer.
What will stay the same? What will change?
The decor and layout will change. The pizza will be a bit different with some of the staple pies remaining. The room is different with a secret that you'll have to figure out for yourselves.
Why do you think you can make Vesuvius successful when it wasn't previously?
Everyone loved the pizza; it was just mismanaged.
What kind of crowd do you expect? Will Vesuvius diners spill over into the Speakeasy or do you think a totally different set of people will come for that?
This is the Eastside. It is the most interesting and eclectic neighborhoods in the A. I expect all walks of life. I think we will get a combination of the two: diners that stay for a drink and people that are just coming to drink.
Who's the new pizza chef?
Mike [LaSage] and I are are the chefs. We have hired back some of the old Vesuvius staff, along with pizza cooks with experience from Mellow Mushroom, Fellinis, Fritti and Little Five Point Pizza.
Anything else we should know?
Get down here and check it out. Edgewood is about to change.