The partners involved with Il Lazzarone are bringing New York-style pizza to St. Joseph with the opening of Pizza Tascio, located at 2201 Frederick Ave.
Pizza Tascio is based on the vision of Erik Borger, who opened Il Lazzarone, 1628 Frederick Ave., in 2014 with his wife, Lesley. Il Lazzarone now is owned by his business partner, Josh Young. The new restaurant is expected to open no later than April 15.
The new establishment is one that was years in the making. Borger grew up in New York as a child. If he was given the choice of school lunch or a slice from the local pizzeria, school lunch was never his pick.
Moving to St. Joseph as an adult, it wasn’t until his father came to live with him that Borger’s pizza-making journey began. He began trying to recreate the one thing that he felt he couldn’t find in a Midwest city in Missouri: the perfect New York slice.
“That became my obsession for a long time,” Borger said. “I would cook pizza every day for (my father). I started collecting commercial ovens. At one point, I had six commercial ovens in my garage just to test the different performances and capabilities of all these ovens.”
After his father’s death, an obsession with Neapolitan-style pizza inspired Borger to open Il Lazzarone. But that passion for New York-style pizza was always there. So Borger began perfecting New York slices using quality ingredients.
“New York has always been in the back of my mind. I wanted something that would hold up and hopefully exceed any New York-style pizza in America. I took it very seriously and tried to do something that is hopefully a blessing to the community,” Borger said.
His business partner and now-owner of Il Lazzarone, Young, also will be taking part in Pizza Tascio, but he will be in the kitchen with Borger much like he does now at Il Lazzarone. Young believes the new restaurant will serve the city well.
“I think St. Joe loves pizza. I think they love quality food. I think they love quality ingredients. We’ve been working really hard to put a quality product together,” Young said.
Young said the two were particular in choosing which products they would put in their pizza in hopes they could use the least amount of processed food possible in order to differentiate themselves from chain competitors.