Michael's Pizzeria alum opens Prova Pizzeria in WeHo

Vito Iacopelli's mortadella, stracciatella and pistachio pizza at Prova Pizza in West Hollywood open Monday

Fans of the pistachio, mortadella and stracciatella pizza at Michael's in Long Beach, can now get Vito Iacopelli's creation in West Hollywood. The Italian chef, who was head chef and manager at Michael's, is opening a new pizza joint with owner Jake Ireland, called Prova Pizzeria, on Santa Monica Boulevard Monday.  

"It's finally happening," said Iacopelli, dressed in his chefs' whites and a backward baseball cap. "It took around six months to get everything ready." 

The young chef, who is from Puglia, wanted everything custom, including the wood for his two wood burning-ovens, which were left from the previous tenant, the pizza restaurant TPJ. He is using orange wood for the flavor, olive wood to maintain the temperature of the oven, and wood chips to cook the pizza. 

Iacopelli is also doing gluten-free and whole wheat crust pizzas in one oven, and white flour pizza in the other. He explained that the gluten-free and whole wheat crust oven needs to be kept at a lower temperature, around 700 degrees F.  

"Nobody is making gluten-free and whole wheat crust in a different oven," said Iacopelli, who started making pizza with his father, and grandfather when he was 8 years old. "I want to make this pizza place different, special." 

On the menu is his famous mortadella, pistachio and stracciatella pizza, made with cheese he sometimes makes in house, and sometimes gets from a fellow Puglia transplant in Southern California, who makes the cheese especially for Prova. 

The dough is paper thin, chewy, crisp and bubbly, and it comes out of the oven in about 90 seconds. 

There's also the classic Margherita D.O.P.; capricciosa with cotto ham, mushrooms and artichokes; carbonara with bacon, provolone, two eggs, sweet basil and olive oil and the Genovese with artichokes, pesto and smoked mozzarella.

Salads include a chopped kale and quinoa "tabouleh" with sweet onions, mint and lemon-olive oil and a Carciofi salad made with artichokes, baby wild arugula, quinoa, pine nuts and grana cheese. To start: assorted olives and tarali, speck and mozzarella and house-made meatballs. 

Iacopelli is also putting Nutella on his dessert pizza, as well as making a Sicilian Palermo style gelato and brioche sandwich. The restaurant will also offer espresso, cappuccino, beer and wine. 

Prova will be open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday to Saturday. 

8729 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, www.pizzaprova.com.

Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World