By Charlie Pogacar

Roman-style pizza is a trend bubbling under the surface—there are reportedly about 50 or so Roman-style pizzerias across the entire U.S. Starting August 22, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, will become home to one of them.

Harry’s Restaurant Group announced Monday the opening of Harry’s Pizza e Vino Restaurant and Wine Bar in Elkhart Lake, a tourist destination with just under 1,000 people. The restaurant will immediately become the only Roman-style pizza restaurant in Wisconsin, according to a press release sent out by Harry’s Restaurant Group.

Related: Could Roman-style pizza be your next big moneymaker?

Avni “Al” Latifi and his wife Laurie are the driving force behind Harry’s Pizza e Vino Restaurant and Wine Bar. During the early days of the pandemic, the couple shut down Harry’s Diner at Interstate, a 1950s-style diner that had been open since 2006. They pivoted and opened Harry’s Pizza Market in its stead, but the pizzeria only survived for about a year. Bullish on the concept, however, the couple went to work finding a more suitable location for it. That’s what they believe they’ve found at 111 East Rhine Street in Elkhart Lake.

“We are thrilled to bring Roman pizza back to Wisconsin, and to Sheboygan County, in a location with so much history,” Al said. “[We’re] excited to service the area with a unique locale for destination dining and sharing our pizza for carryout and delivery—from downtown Elkhart Lake to Road America and all points around and in between.”

Roman-style pizza is known for its crunchy yet airy crust. The pies are said to be easier to digest. The dough-making process is more time-intensive than other styles of pizza and requires training to become certified.

Al Latifi earned a certification for making Roman-style pizza thanks to a week-long full immersion course at the Roman Pizza Academy in Miami. Al and his nephew Adrian Latifi, owner of Harry’s Prohibition Bistro in Sheboygan, were among the first 100 U.S.-based chefs to earn the Roman al Taglio Pizza accreditation and are the only two certificate holders in Wisconsin. The certificates were presented by Massimiliano Saieva, lead instructor of The Roman Pizza Academy.

Harry’s Pizza e Vino Restaurant and Wine Bar will feature a dinner menu that includes appetizers, salads and desserts. The press release highlighted an appetizer, The Winner Circle, which is “an array of farm-fresh vegetables and chef-made pesto with burrata cheese served with Roman bread.” Signature pies will include the Walnut, featuring oven-roasted walnuts, walnut-puree, sliced mushrooms, fontina cheese, and cream cheese, finished with an extra virgin olive oil drizzle.

The bar will feature specialty cocktail drinks, beer and spirits along with an array of vintner-selected wines. The selection will highlight vintages sourced from Macedonia to honor the Latifi family heritage.

The restaurant will be open year-round, but the hours may vary due to seasonal traffic.

Charlie Pogacar is PMQ’s senior editor.

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