WILMETTE, Ill. (WLS) --Pizza places are pretty much anywhere in the region, but it's a little trickier to find authentic Neapolitan pizza -- thin, wood-fired pies that are being made in only a handful of spots, including a new place in downtown Wilmette.
At Napolita Pizzeria, the pizzaiolo clearly has plenty of practice.
The way he forms the dough, the quality of the toppings (San Marzano tomatoes and fresh mozzarella of course) and the heat of the wood-burning oven, are all of signs that Napolita is striving to reach the coveted V-P-N designation, known as Vera Pizza Napoletana.
"There are a whole host of guidelines you have to follow to reach that standard and to be able to use that designation," said Nick Alvarez, one of the pizzaiolos.
The margherita, with its basil leaves and fresh mozzarella, emerges nicely blistered. So does a sausage version with peppers and caramelized onions.
"It's cooked incredibly quickly, it's got a very light crust; slightly chewy but crisp," he said.
They also offer "bianco" or white pizzas, featuring a base of fonduta, rather than the usual tomato sauce.
"It's cheese sauce essentially, cooked with garlic, white wine and various cheeses," said Alvarez.
Alvarez says they still get a few confused looks, from folks used to ordering either thin crust or deep dish, but at the end of the day, it's still a darn good pizza.
"We have a lot of locals and regulars but there are people that come in here without an actual idea of what a Neapolitan-style pizza is, they know they just want pizza," he said.
Now the plan is eventually to get that VPN certification, but with or without it, the goal here is to have Napolitas all over the North Shore at some point.
EXTRA COURSE: After pizza, get dessert at Homer's Ice Cream down the street
1126 Central Ave., Wilmette