A restaurant concept can be tricky. Downtown meccas with lines that snake the block might struggle to fill a suburban parking lot. What works in one demographic isn’t universal. Unless you’re talking pizza. Specifically, pizza so serious that ovens are imported from the motherland, twice. In 2011, Jared Wayne opened A Tavola Pizza with two friends just as OTR was blowing up. A Ferrara pizza oven was ordered from Italy; Wayne, a skilled woodworker, built custom tables; and the menu was fleshed in with trendy crowd-pleasers like charcuterie and craft cocktails. Fast-forward three years. Brother Nick is now a co-owner, and the Waynes have opened a second pizzeria: A Tavola Madeira capitalizes on the menu from the Vine Street location, including the fresh and zesty asparagus, artichoke, and feta pizza on a Neapolitan crust; gooey mozzarella-filled arancini, or risotto fritters; and the unequaled Blue Oven English muffin eggplant sliders. Wash down your small plates with a glass of crisp and grassy Sannio falanghina or an ice-cold Peroni lager. Not ones to rest on their laurels, in late May, they fired up a third Italian import—an Italforni Bull Oven—for their take on Roman-style pies (with a thinner, crispier crust). They’re definitely going to need a bigger parking lot.
A Tavola, 7022 Miami Ave., Madeira, (513) 272-0192, atavolapizza.com
Originally published in the July 2014 issue.