Thursday, September 14, 2023

The owner of Max restaurant is returning to Avenue B with a new pizzeria

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy 

Luigi Iasilli, owner of the well-liked Max restaurant, which closed 10 years ago at 51 Avenue B, is back on the block with a new venture — Potenza Centrale. 

The pizza shop, coming soon to 38 Avenue B (site of the former KC Gourmet Empanadas) between Third Street and Fourth Street, is named in honor of the town in Italy where he was born and raised.
The pizzeria will feature square slices from a rectangular pie, as well as round pizzas, notably different from the Roman style due to the extra fermentation process. Iasilli said it takes up to five days to ferment the highly hydrated dough, and it's folded and worked to be airier and lighter than traditional dough. 

Iasilli, who's no longer involved with Max, which had several locations, also wants to add baked gnocchi, pastas like lasagna or rigatoni, and eggplant parm topped with housemade mozzarella. Each day will feature specials — one meat and one vegetarian, listed Italian-style on the chalkboard walls. 

In addition, Iasilli plans to sell his homemade sauce to go (he welcomes folks to bring their own jars that he can fill) and balls of fresh mozzarella. He's currently working on focaccia and other styles of bread. When I asked him about the possibility of dessert, he mentioned reprising the famed tiramisu from Max. 

As for an opening, he has yet to set a date; the space is waiting on ConEd approval and the meter installation. 
Here's Iasilli with Chef Alex Chavarria ...
As for returning to this block of Avenue B, he says: "I am coming full circle."


Anonymous said...

ohhh man i loved Max back in the day. never had a bad meal there. Welcome back to the neighborhood!

Anonymous said...

Welcome back! Looking forward to stopping by!!

Anonymous said...

Welcome and can't wait to try your pizza! PS LOVE the hat

Anonymous said...

I met this guy years ago at Max. He is such a cool dude. Talented, smart, and handsome. Welcome back to the hood :)

Anonymous said...

Homemade sauce and mozzarella? Yeahhhhhhh

Perfume junkie said...

I just got a free slice preview from Luigi, the owner. WOW WOW WOW. The homemade mozzarella, the sauce, the dough. Excellent! This will be my new fav slice joint in the hood. Luigi is lovely and his pizza is authentic and delicious.

Anonymous said...

Luigi made us feel at home with his warm welcome and absolutely delicious pizza (trust a Roman's advice ;))

Grazie Luigi!
Giusy e Federico

Avana said...

Highly recommend this place. Great, generous guy and truly delicious, satisfying pies! Welcome back to the neighborhood—both good quality and convenient pizza have been sorely missing from this stretch of the village.