My introduction to Cariniâ€™s La Conca Dâ€™Oro, 3468 N. Oakland Avenue, occurred a few years ago when I was in the area and saw they were open for lunch. With a lot of help from his brothers and other family members, Peter Carini opened his restaurant in 1996, renovating, updating and adding improvements over the years â€“ including a wood burning pizza oven, imported from Naples, Italy last year.
The name La Conca Dâ€™Oro is derived from Palermo, Italy, where Cariniâ€™s father was a fisherman. When the fisherman looked toward Palermo from the sea, it looked like a golden shell, a conca dâ€™oro.
Carini moved from Porticello, a fishing village near Palermo, to Milwaukee in 1966 because his grandfather had already been settled here. He didnâ€™t speak any English but learned while working, initially as a paper boy and later in the kitchen of the Milwaukee Athletic Club, where he started as a dishwasher and worked his way up to executive chef after 16 years. Much of that time was spent working with immigrant German cooks and chefs, crediting them with much of what he learned about cooking.
After working as executive chef from 1975 to '84, he left to work at Zorbaâ€™s in Brookfield and Nicoâ€™s in Franklin until he decided to open his own restaurant, which he currently co-owns with his wife Janice. She runs the front of the house and keeps the books.
A friend suggested that Carini consider adding pizza to the menu because it provided better margins, but Carini wanted his pizza to be authentic and separate the restaurant from the other pizzerias in the area. When he purchased the wood burning oven, he called his son, Gregg, to share the news. Gregg was working in Nashville at the time with a couple of gentlemen from Naples, Italy â€“ not Florida.
Gregg Carini went to work studying Neapolitan pizzas and looking into the VPN (Verace Pizza Napoletana, or "True Neapolitan Pizza") certification process. Gregg Carini attended the culinary program at MATC and worked at th…Read more...