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Neapolitan pizza focus of new Lackawanna restaurant from Mulberry owner

Mulberry restaurant owner Joe Jerge is expanding his Italian portfolio with a new Neapolitan-style pizza spot in Lackawanna.

Sonny Red's will open in the former Press Box, 1841 Abbott Road. The restaurant will host a Christmas party open to the public Dec. 23, and reopen Dec. 26 with a condensed version of the menu. By the end of the following week, the full menu should be available, Jerge said.

With the installation of a Neapolitan-style pizza oven, the menu at the former sports bar will be centered around the premium pizza product.

"We're going to do a few pastas, sandwiches and salads, but the focus will be the pizza," Jerge said. Toward that end, Jerge spent the better part of month in New York City training under Neapolitan pizza master Roberto Caporuscio, chef-owner at Keste Pizza & Vino and Don Antonio.

Mulberry not resting on its meatballs

"It's not Buffalo pizza," he said. Neapolitan style pizzas cook at about 900 degrees, and are finished in about 90 seconds.The oven is all-wood-fired, and the quickly cooked pizzas will sport toppings like smoked buffalo mozzarella. In his training, Jerge said, he got hands-on instruction on everything from dough to finishing herbs.

A space that formerly sported a dance floor has been redone with subway tile on the walls. A copper-topped pizza bar has been installed where a half-dozen customers can watch the pizziaolos stretch dough and fire pizzas.

The restaurant will hold 55-60 inside. In good weather, another 60 can be accommodated outside, with the installation of a new pergola. Sonny Red's full bar seats about 20 people, with 24 beers on tap, Jerge said.

Jerge did not have an update to offer on Mulberry on Main, the Mulberry offshoot set for Snyder.

Hours: 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 4 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with pizza available until midnight on Friday, Saturday. Closed Mondays.

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