By JOHN KLINE
THE GOSHEN NEWS
The owners of downtown Goshen’s Venturi pizzeria always knew they produced some of the best pizza in the country. Now, they have the validation to back it up.
That validation came this Thursday with the announcement by Esquire Magazine that the eatery has been ranked 15th in the nation through the magazine’s “Most life-changing pizzeria in America” online reader poll.
According to Venturi co-owner Eric Kanagy, the announcement came as a complete surprise, though not an unwelcome one.
“We had no idea about it until the poll was released,” Kanagy said Friday afternoon. “It’s really cool to see, just looking at the other names of the pizzerias, and being up there in a list that includes Chicago, New York, San Francisco — all these cities that are so much bigger, and then there’s Goshen.”
Pizzaiolo Justin Venturi opened the restaurant with Kanagy in January 2011. Venturi taught himself the art of pizza-making after studying at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and externing at Felidia’s, one of the top eight Italian restaurants in New York City, according to Zagat’s 2011 New York City Restaurants Survey.
“Our pizza is a product of passion grown from the tradition that started in Naples over 150 years ago,” Venturi said in a recent statement. “From the raw ingredients we import from Naples to every portion of dough that we form, turn and cook by hand — this is the original pizza. It’s an awesome validation of our passion and craftsmanship to be voted in the top 15 in the country by Esquire readers.”
According to Venturi, the downtown Goshen eatery is the only pizzeria in Indiana, Michigan or Ohio to be certified Vera Pizza Napoletana (VPN). A non-profit based in Naples, Italy, VPN is the only association that safeguards and promotes the culture of the real Neapolitan pizza worldwide. Its mission is to promote and protect worldwide the “true Neapolitan pizza” (“verace pizza napoletana”), i.e. the typical product made in accordance with the characteristics described in the International Regulations for obtaining a collective brand mark “True Neapolitan Pizza” (“Vera Pizza Napoletana”), in force since 1984, edited and registered by AVPN.
Venturi also serves eleven other pizzas and additional seasonal specials as different toppings come into season. Their desserts, all homemade from scratch, include panna cotta and tiramisu. Venturi also features seasonal salads and beer, wine and liquor.