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Gluten-Free Pizza Comes to the UWS

By Emily Frost | September 28, 2012 3:37pm

UPPER WEST SIDE — Gluten-free diners, meet gluten-free pizza.

A new Italian restaurant opening on Amsterdam Avenue between 92nd and 93rd Streets will feature gourmet pizza and seafood — as well as standard and gluten free pies for wheat-free diners.

"We spent six months working on the gluten-free pizza — it's really really light and flavorful," said Rolando Biamonte, owner of Biamonte's new Numero 28 Cucina at 660 Amsterdam, which opens Friday night, though he said the gluten-free pizza may be a few weeks away.

The pizzas, made in a brick oven at the center of the restaurant, are a combination of the Neapolitan and Roman styles. "They're very light," described Biamonte. 

Most pizza will have buffalo mozzarella imported from Italy, some will have gourmet ingredients like truffle oil and porcine mushrooms, he said.

The restaurant opens just as Mike's Pizzeria and Kitchen, just a few doors down on Amsterdam, closes. 

Mike's is turning into a kosher burger spot, tentatively named Amsterdam Burger Company, leaving Biamonte to gobble up the hungry pizza eaters in the neighborhood. 

"The neighborhood is going up, it's changing," said Biamonte, a native of Italy who moved here eight years ago and then swiftly opened his first Numero 28 in the West Village the next year.

Biamonte also owns East Village and Upper East Side pizzerias and said customers from the Upper West Side were clamoring for a location in their neighborhood. 

The interior of the Amsterdam Ave. restaurant is basic, fitting 50 to 60 diners. Biamonte describes it as "rustic." He thinks the food will be what draws people in. 

Numero 28 Cucina is a partnership with chef Philip Guardione, who has made a name for himself in New York after opening Piccola Cucina and Piccola Cucina Foccacceria in Soho. He hails from Sicily and worked with chef Sergio Mei at the Four Seasons Hotel in Milan. 

The menu at Numero 28 Cucina will be more extensive that Biamonte's other locations, with lots of seafood options if you don't want pizza. 

But at the end of the day, he said the pies are always the favorite.

"I see a lot of families coming here, but really everybody likes pizza," said Biamonte.