When Il Lazzarone brought Neapolitan pizza to the River Market last month, I didn’t know it would bring out the night owls, too.
But it doesn’t close until 1:30 a.m. And Monday to Saturday, come midnight, all of the pizzas are $10. Except for the $16 D.O.C., a Margherita pizza with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala, extra-virgin olive oil, fresh basil and sea salt. Yum.
The restaurant is bright and lofty, with brick walls and a window front that peeks right onto Delaware Street. It’s a welcoming space, despite the streetcar construction on Delaware. And there’s a bar tucked way in the back.
Where the dining room is open, all lights and easy listening, the bar is dim and intimate. On late nights, this is where you want to sit. The crowd, a mix of young professionals and a few late-night dates, invites pretty-people watching.
The red bar stools and soft drop lights lend a sexy-cool vibe, but I have one complaint: There are no purse hooks under the tables. When you have backless bar stools, purse hooks are important. But that’s small pepperoni. This pizza joint is tops.
A flat screen hangs in a rustic frame over the bar. Last weekend it was college hoops, but I am sure this weekend it will be baseball. It’s nice to check the score without completely tuning in, because the music is far too enjoyable to listen to the game.
The play list covers it all in the world of popular hip-hop and R&B: Big Sean, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean. But just as easily as the music breaks out into OutKast’s “Hey Ya” and the customers clap along, it yanks you straight into the ’90s, a la Boyz II Men “I’ll Make Love to You.”
Interesting? Indeed. But so is honey as a pizza topping. It’s a dollar extra, but let me tell you, go the way of Winnie the Pooh and add it to your pepperoni pizza ($13). That sweetness sets off the San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt and pepperoni. I had it for lunch last week, and I would have it again right now.
And if you’re a vegetarian, there is plenty to choose from. Jay-C went for the Formaggio ($13): mozzarella, arugula, extra-virgin olive oil, shaved parmigiano, black pepper and sea salt. She let me pick arugula off her plate to add it to my already packed Supremo. Usually $16, getting this for $10 at happy hour is a steal.
The Supremo is stacked with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt, pepperoni, sausage, red onion, garlic, basil and Brussels sprouts. Deliciously scrumptious Brussels sprouts.
In the way of drinks, there’s beer and lots of wine. But I prefer a well-mixed cocktail. The list isn’t long, but it’s well crafted. My friends loved the Che É Si ($8) — Rittenhouse Rye, Casoni 1814 Aperitivo, Chianti, blueberry, blackberry, thyme. It’s good, but for me, there is one front-runner: Scotto Il Confine ($12). It’s a short, stout glass of Del Maguey Vida Mezcal with mango, lime, tarragon, cinnamon and, naturally, honey.
Because when the clock strikes 12, I’m not craving glass slippers and fairy tales. I’m looking for the sweet in life. So take it from Il Lazzarone, and whatever you do, just add honey.
Il Lazzarone, 412 Delaware St., is open 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Monday to Saturday. Happy hour is midnight to 1:30 a.m. No happy hour on Sundays, but the restaurant and bar are open 11 a.m. to midnight.