FINANCIAL DISTRICT — These pies will never see the inside of an oven.
The sizzling pizzas at "Top Chef" alum Stephen Asprinio's new Financial District restaurant will roast over a wood-burning grill, in traditional Roman fashion, instead of a wood-fired oven.
The grilled thin-crust pies will form the core of the menu at Asprinio's first New York eatery, called Pizza Vino Teca and opening as soon as February at 32 Water St.
"I'm going back to my roots," Asprinio said of his Italian heritage, after presenting his plans for the former Cafe Groppi space to Community Board 1 last week.
A preliminary menu for Pizza Vino Teca features a $7 "PVT Special" pizza, with chianti-leavened whole-wheat dough, topped with tomato, three cheeses and basil. Add-ons include prosciutto for $4 and Spanish white anchovies for $3.
The menu also includes craft ales by Ithaca Brewing Company and an extensive wine list, with options for a 3-ounce, 5-ounce or 7-ounce pour — or a sampler from any three bottles.
Those who prefer non-alcoholic drinks can enjoy house-made root beer, available on its own or in a gelato float. The gelato also makes an appearance for dessert, as the filler in $4 savory-sweet brioche sandwiches.
Asprinio said he plans to use the 45-seat casual sit-down restaurant as a prototype for a national chain. The concept of quality pizza with a glass of wine is "recession-proof," he noted.
Asprinio was initially thinking of opening Pizza Vino Teca elsewhere in Manhattan, perhaps in Chelsea, but he ultimately decided that the Financial District's mix of history and modernity made it the best fit. He has also lived in the Financial District for the past two years.
"I love this neighborhood," Asprinio told the board.
CB1's Financial District Committee gave advisory approval to a beer and wine license for Pizza Vino Teca on Sept. 7.