Jason and Kelli Kolich’s love affair with authentic Italian pizza started at the source.
The two studied abroad in Italy during their time at the University of Kansas, and often talked about owning their own restaurant as they embarked on careers in other fields — he in business, she in public relations.
Now, their dream is a reality at last. After a week of soft opening, 1889 Pizza Napoletana is officially open for business in the Northwood Shopping Center, just east of Joe’s Kansas City Barbecue at 47th Street and Mission Road. Named after the year Neapolitan pizza was first crafted as a way to honor Italy’s Queen Margherita, 1889 is one of just two pizza restaurants in the Kansas City area to follow the strict traditions of Neapolitan pizza making. (The other is Il Lazzarone down in the River Market).
The duo had initially planned to open the new 65-seat restaurant back in March. But interior renovation of the space took longer than expected. For example, it took nearly two days just to move the restaurant’s two 6,500-pound wood-fired ovens — imported from Italy — from the semi into the building.
“We had these double doors that had about two inches of clearance on each side,” Jason recalled. “We had furniture movers underneath, which aren’t really made for that kind of weight, and we’d grease it all up with this kind of engine oil or something and had to hit it with a hammer to move it. They’re beasts.”
Now, though, the ovens are the centerpiece of a kitchen that overlooks a lavishly appointed dining room.
The menu, Jason said, is based around the standard Margherita pizza, featuring red tomato sauce, white mozzarella cheese and bright green basil to mirror the colors of the Italian flag. From there, the Koliches take the form on a variety of tasty jaunts, from the Hawaiian-inspired Mahalo to a barbecue-based offering called The Pork Belly.
1889 has four beers and four wines on tap as well as a wide selection of bottled offerings. It also features a variety of salads and traditional Italian appetizers.
1889 is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Their menu board can be viewed below: