11/21/2012 03:00:00 PM

Pizza Champ Tony Gemignani Open Capo's, Chicago Pies and Whiskey

Pizza champion Tony Gemignani (Tony's Pizza Napoletana, Tony's Coal-Fired Pizza and Slice Houseaims to make inroads in the Chicago-style pizza wars with the opening of his latest venture, Capo’s, a new Windy-City-inspired pizzeria and whiskey bar in North Beach. Located just a few blocks away from his mothership, Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, Capo, which means, “boss” in Italian”, channels the vibe of a Prohibition-style speakeasy, with a long banquette of tufted red-leather booths, exposed red brick walls, black tin-ceiling tiles, chandeliers and a wooden bar that will specializes in premiums whiskey that runs down the length of the room with views of the brick oven pizza in the back. The kitchen actually houses three ovens - one wood-fired for cooking pizza and baked pastas, and two brick ovens - each heated to different degrees for cooking multiple types of Chicago-style pies - cracker-thin, stuffed and deep-dish cast iron.

Gemignani’s signature pie here is the Quattro Forni, an 8x8-inch square pizza that’s cooked in four ovens, one of which is a deep fryer. It’s a riff on his Tre Forni, a pizza cooked in three ovens that won him first place as part of the USA team in the “Best of the Best” Pizza Challenge against Italy, Canada and Australia in the International Pizza competition in Las Vegas. It’s a labor-intensive pie so he’ll only be making twenty Quattro Forni a day. The kitchen will also serve old-school Italian-style dinners such as baked mostaccioli, housemade sausages and chicken Vesuvius. A handful of favorites carried over from Tony’s round out the menu such as string beans, meatballs and fried calamari. (The complete dinner and cocktail menus can be found here.) Like a true mob boss venture, it’s cash only but unlike at Tony’s, Capo’s accepts reservations (via phone only). Open for lunch and dinner Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, dinner only Friday-Sunday, closed Mondays.

Capo’s: 641 Vallejo St, 415-986-8998

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