UPDATED: AUGUST 26, 2011: Spoke to a friend who attended a mock opening on Wednesday. Apparently, they weren't serving wine or beer because of a technicality with the liquor license. No definite start date has been set, as a result. The question now is: Will they want to move forward with an opening, booze or no booze??
ORIGINAL POST: AUGUST 8, 2011: On Saturday afternoon, Joe Bastianich (business partner to Mario Batali and many, many restaurants) made an appearance at Hi-Time Wine Cellars to promote the soon-to-open Pizzeria Mozza. In addition, the shop held a special tasting featuring the family wineries of La Mozza and Bastianich.
Between signing bottles, posing for photographs and exploring Hi-Time's inventory (we caught him snapping a photo of an ornate wine opener), the Master Chef judge was asked about the status of their Orange County venture. When will it be ready? His response was brief, but definitely music to our ears.
Aptly said, Bastianich told our source that he expects Pizzeria Mozza to open, "Next week." Now whether he means a soft opening before the weekend or a media circus for Saturday supper is still up in the air.
One thing is for certain--things are looking spiffy across the way from the Balboa Bay Club. We spot lighting, furnishings, and an exterior work-in-progress (their Facebook page refers to it as the "edible wall."
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Despite a lack of pizza samples by the time we started sipping our first of eight wines, they compensated with rich tastes of proscuitto-wrapped breadsticks and mounds of silky bufala mozzarella, topped with roasted tomatoes and basil. The best wine of the night? A 2007 Calabrone, an estate reserve released only when an excellent vintage is followed by a dry and mild autumn, when a percentage of grapes undergo drying. It has a bouquet of chocolate, coffee, spices and mature red fruit. We'll drink to that!
Pizzeria Mozza will be opening at 800 W. Coast Highway, Newport Beach. Phone number to come when they open!