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A Home of Their Own 

After five years as a food cart, Veraci Pizza moves into a permanent space

click to enlarge Konstantin Kushner and Jillian McCann cooking with the new restaurant’s wood-fire oven. - MATT WEIGAND
  • Matt Weigand
  • Konstantin Kushner and Jillian McCann cooking with the new restaurant’s wood-fire oven.

Add another entry to the list of new restaurants you've got to try in Kendall Yards.

Last week marked the opening of the fifth restaurant to call the blossoming north-of-the-river neighborhood home — Veraci Pizza. You might recognize the name. The full-service restaurant is run by the same folks behind the domed pizza cart with a regular farmers market rotation, serving up hot, thin-crust, Neapolitan-style pizza by the pie or the slice.

Owners Seth and Laura Carey say their decision to open a storefront location was largely driven by their customers.

"People always asked us where our permanent location was," says Laura. "We needed a place to call home."

After five years with a seasonal, transient business model, Veraci has indeed come home.

Over those years, the couple made connections with Greenstone Homes CEO Jim Frank during their visits to the Liberty Lake Farmers Market. Frank helped them see the potential for locating in Kendall Yards, which Greenstone is developing.

Established devotees of the pizza cart shouldn't fret — the mobile unit is still making its regular rounds to the Kootenai, South Perry and Liberty Lake farmers markets, and the Careys have no intent to change that. If anything, they'd like to eventually add another cart.

Less than a week into business at the new spot, there are still a few finishing touches to be completed — installing cabinets in the bar, a permanent railing on the deck overlooking Peaceful Valley, and a shade covering the outdoor seating.

When customers walk into the restaurant, the first thing greeting them is the massive, ceramic clay pizza oven, sitting under an industrial range hood that sucks up the 800-to-1,000-degree air emitting from the oven's mouth. Seth hand-built the stone oven, which is fed with apple wood and cooks a pie in less than two minutes.

On the front counter, behind a half-wall of glass, is a display of the always-changing lineup of pies sold by the slice ($4.75) — slice meaning a quarter of a full-sized pizza.

With a full kitchen now, Veraci's menu extends beyond the artisan-style pizzas it's known for, offering a lineup of traditional Italian appetizers — caprese, a foccacia platter, antipasti — and several salads. Housemade tiramisu and cheesecake round out any meal, and the restaurant's bar is stocked with local and regional craft beers and wine. The other big benefit of having a kitchen? Now, Veraci can always offer its full lineup of pizzas ($17-$20) without having to worry about running out of toppings and ingredients, a common issue with any mobile food business that's limited on space. ♦

Veraci Pizza • 1333 W. Summit Pkwy. • Open daily at 11 am • • 389-0029

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