Sapori Pizzeria and Italian Market opens

Sapori Pizzeria and Italian Market has opened in Montvale Junction, the latest venture from longtime Springfield restaurateurs Chris Hanken and Vic Lanzotti, along with Jeff Torricelli.

The restaurant held a soft opening Sept. 20 and then posted on Facebook “to say we are overwhelmed with the flood of customers would be an understatement. …We’re almost out of everything and it’s going to take a full day to restock and regroup.” According to the post, Sapori’s will reopen Friday, Sept. 22, at 4 p.m. Operating hours will then be 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.

Future plans include adding a drive-through and offering pickups and online ordering.

While the new restaurant focuses heavily on pizza, Hanken told SBJ when plans were first announced in January that it would be very different from Pie’s the Limit, another pizza concept the business partners previously operated.

“Pie’s the Limit was designed around fast-casual service,” he said, describing the new concept as “more artisan. Our anchor will be a very high-quality pizza that’s going to showcase a few different regional styles.”

Hanken and Lanzotti have been involved in a variety of Springfield-area restaurants over the last two decades, including Sebastian’s Hideout downtown and Lake Pointe Grill on Toronto Road. Their most recent ventures, Pie’s the Limit and Public House 29 in Rochester, closed in July.

Hanken said the current staffing shortages, particularly in the food-service industry, caused them to focus on a different concept that would have “a low margin of labor. We’re trying to do it with as few people as possible.”

The restaurant, located in the former Keefner’s space at 1941 W. Iles Ave., has a small seating area. Although Sapori’s customers have the option to dine-in, much of the focus is on to-go orders and retail items that can be purchased for consumption at home.

“The retail area will include everything that we cook with and use on our menu; someone could take it home and build it however they want – we’ll slice the meats and cheese for you,” said Lanzotti.

Hanken described it as a “deli of sorts” that offers imported goods and higher-end items not available in traditional grocery stores, along with “meal-replacement items that people can take home and have a good, quick, homemade meal.”

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