Meet Pizza Virtuoso Dino Santonicola

by Steven Doyle

There is a growing movement of pizza in the DFW area and Cane Rosso is on the forefront blazing trails. Recently owner Jay Jerrier made a few changes to his restaurant, and some of them were not exactly on the menu. Less that two weeks ago Jay hired one of the most noted pizza makers in the United States named Dino Santonicola. We caught up with Dino recently to ask him a few questions.

In speaking with Dino we enjoyed his over-the-top accent and his love of pizza. Read on to see what changes he has made to Cane Rosso and what ingredients should not be on a good pizza.    

CraveDFW: How did you get involved in making pizza?

Dino: I have been making pizza since I was 13 in Naples. Growing up in Naples you are not going to have a chance to do whatever you want, so you either grow up making pizza or you do things that you don’t want to know about. I chose to make pizza.

I worked at a place near where I grew up while I was going to culinary school. I really enjoyed making pizza and decided I wanted to go outside Naples to see how other people do it.

CraveDFW: What pizzeria were you working at in Naples?

Dino: In Naples I worked at a few places. I started at Brandi where the original Pizza Margherita was first made.

CraveDFW: What brought you to the United States?

Dino: My brother in-law was a cab driver and he met this guy from Seattle who wanted to open a pizza place. So he helped him buy all his equipment and everything. When he was done with that process he asked if he knew anybody that could come to the US to help him out. He introduced me to him and I went to Seattle for 3 months.

The business was really booming and he realized he needed someone that knew the business, and he made me partner of Via Tribunali pizzeria. After 5 years we split and I moved to Washington DC where I opened Pizzeria da Marco.

CraveDFW: How did you happen to meet Jerrier?

Dino: I had been speaking with Jay for a few years and he offered to have me come to the opening of Cane Rosso, so I did. I came here for a week. I really liked Dallas. I liked the people, I liked the city. I was wanting to move here and Jay offered me the job.

CraveDFW: What is your favorite pizza?

Dino: Ahhhh, that is like asking your mamma which is your favorite kid. I like all of it. But, I usually just go with a simple Margherita, just cheese, basil and tomato.

CraveDFW: What sort of changes have you made to the Cane Rosso pizza, if any?

Dino: When I started with Cane Rosso I improved the dough. I made it a little bit more salty and I adjusted the proofing time. Now it is working better. It is made more like what I made in Italy. Let’s say it was good pizza before, but now it is better.

CraveDFW: What do you miss most about Italy?

Dino: Family, friends and no rush. And I really miss espresso. I can make a good espresso but it is not like when you go to a bar and sit down with a newspaper. That is a great time to relax and enjoy life.

CraveDFW: Have you ever had a Pizza Hut pizza?

Dino: No. I like the taste of a Neapolitan pizza. The taste the texture. The San Marzano tomato. I really don’t want to go somewhere else and have anything different.

CraveDFW: What one thing doesn’t belong on a pizza?

Dino: There’s a lot of things that don’t belong on a pizza. But one thing, you shouldn’t put a pineapple on a freaking pizza. You can put the ham and other things on a pizza, just no pineapple.


Filed under Cane Rosso, Crave, Deep Ellum, fun with food, Neapolitan Pizza., Party!, pizza, restaurant news, Steven Doyle

3 responses to “Meet Pizza Virtuoso Dino Santonicola

  1. Kat

    Dino is HOT! I mean I bet he makes a GREAT pizza.

  2. He is hot. I met him the other night. Really nice, too.

  3. Tiberio Simone

    Un articolo stupendo

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