West Seattle restaurants: Pizzeria 22 progress report

Story and photos by Stephanie Chacharon
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

We swung by the future site of Pizzeria 22 today to catch up with Cary Kemp — owner/operator of West Seattle’s one and only, soon-to-open wood-fired pizza joint.

We broke the news about the future pizzeria in December, when Cary signed the lease on the location at 4213 SW College, then published an update in January. Since a few months have passed, it was time to check back to get a feel for the space and an update on opening plans.

Cary, a laid-back entrepreneur who’s passionate about all things Italian, walked us through the site, sidestepping busy electricians and building materials. He pointed out the vaulted ceilings — a formerly enclosed treasure he discovered while previewing the space — restored vintage windows (shown above – Cary says they’re 103 years old and believes they’ll create a dark, comfortable vibe), the planned home of an oversized painting of Italy’s Mount Vesuvius, and the work-in-progress bar that spans that length of the restaurant.

He envisions the front area serving as the bar, offering old-world Italian wines to pair with old-world style pizza, a mix of local and European beers, and liquor. The west wall of the restaurant is lined with bench seating and will feature a large mirror to make the space feel roomier. The entire restaurant will seat around 36 to 40.

Then Cary showed us the pièce de résistance — the handmade, red-tiled oven imported from Naples, weighing in at 2,500 pounds and (soon to be) burning at around 850 degrees. Cary plans to repaint the front of the oven to display the name of his restaurant.

The exterior might not look like much for now, but Cary has big plans. He told us he intends to redo the façade to distinguish the restaurant from the other businesses on the block— replacing the door, mimicking the gray paint scheme of Yen Wor Village (on the corner of California and College), adding a flower pot or two, and hoisting a giant neon sign bearing images of a pizza and wooden paddle and the number “22.”

Cary also plans to have sidewalk tables, providing spillover seating in the warm summer months and a place for takeout customers to wait for their orders.

Cary’s especially excited about Pizzeria 22’s new sister restaurant, its namesake establishment in Naples, Italy. Thanks to a relationship forged between the owner of the Naples locale and Cary’s business partner — Mike McConnell of Via Tribunali and Caffé Vita — the two restaurants will share more than just a name. Cary plans to decorate with pictures and memorabilia from the Naples restaurant to create an authentic feel, as well as launching an informal work foreign exchange between the two pizzerias.

(Front of the pizzeria, and east wall; the space at the end of the bar, up to the door, will be the designated “bar” area)
Asked about the status of the prep work, Cary told us the electricity and plumbing work will be done by the end of this week, prompting the start of the interior finish work. If all goes according to plan, Pizzeria 22 will fire up its oven in June.

Interested in working at Pizzeria 22? Contact Cary at ventidue@comcast.net. Interested in eating/drinking there? Come June, keep an eye on 4213 SW College — Cary told us he probably won’t advertise an opening date. “I’ll probably just open the doors one Monday and let people figure it out,” he says.

17 Replies to "West Seattle restaurants: Pizzeria 22 progress report"

  • NotMe April 26, 2011 (4:36 pm)

    Oh, this is going to be sweet! I can load up on a good pizza before getting more ink!

  • east-west April 26, 2011 (4:44 pm)

    Looks to be coming together nicely. I will look forward to coming down in June!

  • Neighbor April 26, 2011 (5:16 pm)

    If it wasn’t for the most adorable waitress in all of Seattle at the Georgetown ViaTrib I’d be peeved that this is taking so long….

  • J242 April 26, 2011 (5:30 pm)

    Nice! I’m always happy to see more restaurants opening up in my neighborhood! So right now we have Circa, Porterhouse, Zat’s bagels, The Mission, Brickyard BBQ, Angelina’s, Palin Thai AND this place opening and everything within a few minutes walk??? WOW, we are so spoiled out here I love it!!!

  • foy boy April 26, 2011 (5:50 pm)

    You forgot royal inda grill

  • JayDee April 26, 2011 (6:06 pm)

    I love wood-fired ‘Zah. I am looking forward to something out of the ordinary. We have plenty of ordinary pizza places.

  • mollsworth April 26, 2011 (6:10 pm)

    Thanks for the bragging, J242. ;)
    Some of us are still relegated to a long walk to Locol (but thank god for them!).
    We will happily make the drive to 22 when it opens, looks very promising!

  • Recall McGinn April 26, 2011 (6:50 pm)

    Best wishes to those making West Seattle a better place to live!

  • w.s. maverick April 26, 2011 (7:36 pm)

    mmmmm so excited for this

  • Admiral935 April 26, 2011 (8:05 pm)

    Great reporting! I peeked inside (pass it every day on the way to Library) and it’s a small footprint but what a very special addition to the area! Really impressed with the Italian authenticity noted in the article above. We’ve got some pretty cool little oasis’s in N. Admiral – presumably this place, The Cask, The Mission (also Pailin with their fish tank) seem to have a special vibe where once inside it’s an escape into a different world. Oh, also, we have an Indian Restaurant too, just to add to the list above. Buono fortune Pizzeria 22!

  • Alex April 26, 2011 (8:24 pm)

    Sounds amazing! I hope it gets delayed a little though, June is bathing suit weather, and I have a feeling I’ll be eating a lot of pizza when this place opens.

  • Admiral935 April 26, 2011 (8:48 pm)

    foy boy, sorry I doubled your post. Wierd thing when I posted at 8:05 only the first 4 replies showed. When I log out my post doesn’t show. but when I log in now 11 replies show! Computerz!

    I hear Alex on the dietary issues. If they have salad’s to cancel out the carbs then “as long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well”

  • TB April 27, 2011 (6:14 am)

    Oh boy, this is gonna be great!

  • redblack April 27, 2011 (6:42 am)

    j242, admiral, and foy boy: you all forgot heartland cafe.
    and did yen wor close?
    and what about jack in the box? :)

  • guy April 27, 2011 (1:51 pm)

    What about the Yen Wor?

  • Clare April 27, 2011 (3:55 pm)

    I am SOOOOO excited!! My husband and I live in the Admiral neighborhood and we have been saying FOREVER that we need a wood-fired pizza place in West Seattle. Truthfully, we don’t eat at any of the many pizza joints around here because we just don’t like them. Nothing compares to wood-fired crust. We will be some of the first customers! :)

  • sun*e April 28, 2011 (9:32 am)

    Yum! I love wood-fired pizza! I also love that it’s located 2 doors down from my hairdresser. Uh oh… maybe that’s too convenient. ;)
    Yen Wor – I sure wish it was good but it’s just NOT! Walk on by.

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