stanzione87 brings nice pizza to brickell

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Photos by Cesar M Vega. 

 

Stanzione87 is a neighborhood pizza place in a restored building in Brickell that has imported everything from the speck to the pizzaiolo - authentic Italian for the guy who makes the pizza. The food is top quality. Simple. Delicious. The exact kind of restaurant we should have more of.

Even nicer? It's owned and operated by Franco Stanzione and Ashley Lopez a young couple who are keen on recommending a class of lambrusco or the right beer for that margherita pizza. 

I hung out with them for the day and brought along Cesar Vega, one very talented photographer/coffee shop owner (more on that later), who shot the super nice images that go along with their interview: b2ap3_thumbnail_STAN87_6533398.jpg

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Hi there, before we get into the nitty gritty, cheesy pizza goodness -  who are we talking to, can you tell us a bit about yourselves?

Franco: Hello  my name is Franco Stanzione, I was born in Caracas and raised in Miami, Fl. I was born to an Italian father and Venezuelan mother.  Essentially I am a local boy who went on a brief hiatus to New York and came back inspired to bring something to my town and make an impact on the city I was shaped in.

Ashley: Hi, my name is Ashley Lopez, I was born and raised in Miami, FL. My mother is American and my Father is Cuban. After high school I moved to NYC to study Art History and Fine Arts eating my way through the city. This experience truly shaped me and little did I know I was in for a big surprise as I returned to Miami with my man (editor’s note: let’s just be clear here guys, Franco and Ashley are a couple – with a pizza place. #dreamlife). Little did I know, Franco had big plans of opening a restaurant soon after he found the space my passion was born and the fire was lit. We always knew we wanted to do something together and our personalities complemented each other very well his boldness mixed with my attention to detail truly created an ideal team.

What’s the concept of Stanzione87? And what should someone expect when they go eat there?

Franco: The concept of Stanzione 87 is very simple we wanted to open up a classic Neapolitan pizzeria a restaurant with honest food executed correctly.  Ashley and I both believe simple is best. When we arrived in Miami a slew of commercial and franchise restaurants greeted us. There was definitely a lack of privately operated spots that served up great food at a normal price point.

Ashley: We truly celebrate the art of pizza making, and the ease of an exceptional dinning experience. I think too often dinning out in can be clouded by so many other factors. We keep it simple. We are traditionalists at heart and believe that there is only to do things and that is correct way.

Franco & Ashley: The truth is eating in New York you have so many options and so many casual spots offer great cuisine and that’s what we wanted to accomplish. In Miami we truly see polarities it’s either extremely high end or a hole in the wall. We believe there has to be middle ground.

Not to like, out you guys, but this is a restaurant run by a girlfriend/boyfriend duo – I think most people would be scared their relationship might go – well, not so nice, if they work together all the time. But, I totally didn’t get that vibe from hanging out with you guys. How is it working together all day every day?

Ashley: Not to sound cheesy but working everyday all day with my boyfriend is like a dream we have so much fun at work. We definitely laugh a lot.  He is my best friend in the world and my hero.  I strive to be more like him everyday, he just gets things done dude!  I am so lucky to spend so much time with him. I think we complement each other really well, we constantly challenge ourselves and bring out the best we have. I can count on him and he can count on me.

Franco: Working with my love is the best thing I can think of. She always brings out the best in me. I am so lucky to have her with me. I always know that she has my back and I have hers. I am very blessed to have her - she is also a work horse and will outwork most people. Aside from the hard work she puts in, Ashley is amazing she makes me laugh all day long and I couldn’t imagine working without her it seems wrong like a mistake if I don’t see her.

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So, you guys do salads and sides but mostly, it’s about the pizza and only the pizza - no changing the menu. Do you get a lot of requests for, like, pasta and other Italian things?

We get tons of requests for pasta and other items.  In the beginning we always said never, but as the older and wiser say “never say never”.

I know you import a lot of the products, but also the people! Which is definitely more unusual. Can you tell us about the Italians that you’ve brought to Miami?

When we first opened we imported our Pizzaiolo and during construction we also imported another Pizzaiolo, and when I say imported I mean contacted them in Italy brought them over set them up in a house with a bike and cell phone and good understanding of the area and how Miami is. The beauty of importing a Pizzaiolo is that they do not need to be trained many of them work so quickly and precise since they have been doing it for so long.

At Stanzione87, it's suggested that you eat your pizza with a knife and fork. What’s the deal?

In Naples the Margherita pizza is made with fresh mozzarella or bufala mozzarella. This mozzarella has a higher water content than that weird dried white shredded stuff you see called mozzarella. This higher water content will undoubtedly go on the pizza and that’s when the fork and knife come into play and its time get all that delicious pizza.

That disco ball oven! Tell me all about it!

The oven is handmade in Naples by Stefano Ferrara. He is one of the premier oven makers in Naples and his family has been making ovens for over 150 years. It also gets above 900 degrees, which makes us the fastest pizzeria in town.

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Do you eat pizza all day every day? I’ve heard you guys refer to it as “diet food” which I think would be pretty hard for most people to believe…

Ashley: Yes we eat pizza everyday. Sometimes multiple times a day, I call it diet food because it’s the main staple in my diet. Just kidding, its because we use 00 flour which is the most refined flour, water and Sicilian sea salt to make our dough, crushed San Marzano tomatoes for our red sauce and everyday we make mozzarella. No preservatives, no oil, l no sugar, no tricks, nothing harmful. Just goodness. 

You’re right in the middle of Brickell – how do you think the restaurant fits in that neighborhood? It’s not particularly known for the culinary scene, although you definitely have some interesting neighbors like La Moon, the fruit guys and, for a little while still, Tobacco Road…

Ashley: We don’t fit in, but we kind of like it that way. We are trying to change that Brickell not a culinary destination and believe that we can be a part in shaping the neighborhood and offering the locals a great spot.

Franco: We definitely do not fit in. We are more Design District than Brickell. I believe that we have made our place a staple for many people in the area.  There is no reason why Design District should get all the cool privately owned places. People complain about the commercialization of Brickell and how its all chains I say change it.

I wanted to add something artisanal to the neighborhood something honest something good and I believe that’s what I have done. Our corner is awesome we have Blackbird which is owned by Miami bar royalty, La Moon is also privately owned (the older gentlemen delivering in the middle night is one of the owners) the fruit guy is a historian of the area and a true entrepreneur 18 years in the business of selling fruit - try finding that in Miami. Toasted is our direct neighbor and those guys bake fresh bagels daily. I see Khaled at midnight coming in to start baking all throughout the night.

So yeah, I would say our corner and neighbors are badass we all work in our businesses daily and have relationships with the community and have shaped our corner into an eclectic little area filled with unapologetic product driven concepts.

What’s the story of the space? How did you decide on “the look”?

Franco: Ashley truly led the design I simply built miniature models on the balcony. The white marble is must though in a Neapolitan pizzeria.

Ashley: Franco and I wanted something clean, simple, modern. We wanted it to be about the product no glitz or glam nothing to obvious. We like minalmalist design and where inspired by places like Momofoku, Locanda Verde, and our own walks of life. It is meant to look like a really cool Italian couple’s house a clash of minimalist, modern, and classic.  The quirky photographs seen throughout the restaurant represents our lighter side and the fact we don’t take ourselves to seriously.

Ok, so, the moment of truth – what’s your favorite thing on the menu?

Ashley: Margherita Pizza, close second is the Salcsiccia Bianche, a pizza Franco created for me. It is a white pizza with sausage, fresh and smoked mozzarella, basil, fresh cracked pepper and olive oil.

Franco: Margherita Pizza.  

 

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