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Donatina Neapolitan Pizza Cafe opens in Patchogue

A wood-fired Margherita pizza at Donatina Neapolitan Pizza

A wood-fired Margherita pizza at Donatina Neapolitan Pizza Cafe, which has opened in Patchogue. Photo Credit: Newsday/Corin Hirsch

The bursting-at-the-seams Village of Patchogue has a fresh new feather in its culinary cap: Wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza, served up by Donatina Neapolitan Pizza Cafe on the west edge of downtown.

Donatina has been a year in the making from owner John Peragine (one half of the PeraBell Food Bars in Patchogue and Riverhead) and like those businesses, its name is also a mashup: In this case, of Peragine's two children, Donato and Valentina.

The positive response to the wood-fired oven inside the Riverhead PeraBell partially helped crystallize the idea for Donatina, said Peragine; a red-tiled Marra Forni oven is the centerpiece of a casual eatery with clean lines, lots of windows and 36 seats spread between tables and an l-shaped bar.

Donatina's thin, crisp Neapolitan-style pie is made with tipo 00 Caputo flour, dough cold-fermented for 48 hours, San Marzano tomato sauce, extra-virgin olive oil and house-made fior di latte mozzarella. Those elements (plus basil) come together on the Margherita pie, which cooks in 90 seconds in the 900-degree oven fueled with kiln-dried white birch and oak.

Among the 20-plus other pies ($10 to $18) is a version made with local clams, pancetta, caramelized onions and four cheeses; a honey- and EVOO-drizzled ham, fig and Taleggio pie with rosemary; a mashed potato and bacon pie; and a meat lovers' pie loaded with Italian ham, meatballs, sweet and hot sausages and pepperoni. (Slices are also available from a glass to-go case).

Peragine is particularly enthused about the chewy Detroit-style pizza, a bulky, rectangular pie with a bottom crust of crispy browned cheeses and a top of tomato sauce and more cheese. "It's thick like a Sicilian, but once you eat it you'll never want Sicilian again," he said. (Detroit-style pie developed from the practice of repurposing steel trays used in auto-making factories to bake pizza).

Donatina also has a gluten-free crust made with an Italian flour blend. Focaccia and calzone are baked in the oven, too, and among the starters ($7 to $15) are fried calamari, Italian wedding soup, an arugula salad studded with hearts of palm and a "fritto funghi" of fried mushrooms with cherry tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and white truffle oil.

Once Donatina has a permit in place for an additional cold storage, Peragine will cook larger entrees such as osso buco, risotto and pastas such as house-made gnocchi.

House Coppola wines (red, white and rose) are on tap behind the bar, along with 10 other wines by the glass, 15 beers (with at least one Blue Point beer among them, plus Peroni) and a blood-orange cider.

Donatina opens daily at 11 a.m. (12 p.m. on Sundays) for lunch and dinner, and will eventually be open until 1 a.m. on Thursdays and 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Donatina Neapolitan Pizza Cafe, 18 West Ave., Patchogue, 631-730-7002, donatinapizza.com.

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