Founder of Kansas City’s popular Il Lazzarone opens New York-style pizzeria

·2 min read

Erik Borger spent hours this past week with his team rolling 700 pizza dough balls.

He was gearing up for a “Friends & Family” preview Thursday night at his new Pizza Tascio in North Kansas City. It was the New York-style pizzeria’s trial run for Friday’s opening at 1111 Burlington St. in North Kansas City.

“We were in Sicily, off the beaten path, and they told us to watch out for the tascio — brutish, loud, gold chains, man or woman. Sitting by their car yelling at people,” he said. “But they are like the life of the party.”

A company in Palermo, Italy, had created a logo — winking guy with a mustache, shirt unbuttoned, gold cross, giving a thumbs up — as an example of a tascio and is letting Borger use that for his new restaurant.

The menu will include pepperoni, three meat (pepperoni, Italian sausage, salami, oregano, mozzarella and red sauce), cheese, supreme, spicy pepperoni, white tomato, white broccoli, veggie and the Upside Down (cheese first, then sauce, with Parmesan on top). Prices range from $20 to $25 for the 18-inch pies.

Erik Borger, the owner of Pizza Tascio, fixes a spicy pepperoni pizza.
Erik Borger, the owner of Pizza Tascio, fixes a spicy pepperoni pizza.

Pizza Tascio will also offer a daily special of two slices and a drink for $9 and pizza by the slice for $4 to $5. It also has cheesy breadsticks and arugula salads.

He uses Bianco DiNapoli tomatoes and Italian-style double zero flour (he pays $60 for a 50-pound bag).

Shiny red walls adorn the inside of Pizza Tascio in North Kansas City.
Shiny red walls adorn the inside of Pizza Tascio in North Kansas City.

Borger founded Il Lazzarone, an authentic Neapolitan-style pizza shop, near downtown St. Joseph, Missouri. He brought the concept to the River Market in 2015. But he sold those locations four years ago to spend more time with his young family.

He got back in the restaurant business in April with his first Pizza Tascio in a little white and red building in St. Joseph.

Borger grew up in New York eating New York-style pizza. Local pizzerias would even drop off pizza for school lunches.

“There are a couple in the 80% authentic range here but I wanted to create the pizzas I missed,” he said. “Every day I eat a slice of cheese and a slice of white.”

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