Meet the Reitano family. They’re building an empire. Don’t recognize the name? You might also know them as the founders and owners of Capogiro, Penn’s favorite gelato destination. The Italian dessert makers have recently expanded from award–winning frozen treats to artisanal pizza and more with the recently opened Capofitto. Located on 233 Chestnut Street in Old City, the Italian destination boasts Neapolitan–style pizzas, traditional starters, and of course, Capogiro gelato. We sat down with owner Stephanie Reitano to learn more about her expanding business and its future.
Stephanie, who founded Capogiro with her husband John Reitano, did not initially intend on joining the food industry. She was law school bound and John attended medical school—he still sees patients every day before joining his wife at the restaurant. However, the couple came from backgrounds deeply rooted in food. So it was no surprise when Stephanie and John pursued their love of the culinary by opening Capogiro in 2002.
Capoffito takes the same tactical approach that made Capogiro so wildly successful: relentless pursuit of perfection. Says Reitano, “As far as food goes, John and I absolutely love the clinical study of our passion. We really love Italy, we really love Italian culture, and we really love Italian food.” To master the art of pizza making, the couple travelled to Italy to study under Ciro Salvo, a master pizzaiolo (that’s Italian for “fancy pizza chef”...roughly translated).
“We studied, studied, studied. I went into it clinically. I use a calculator, I weigh everything. I would love to say it’s me being creative, but it’s really chemistry,” Reitano says. Reitano then expertly rattled off various temperatures, precise gram measurements and dough hydration levels. Bottom line? Their pizza is thoroughly researched but highly traditional, and perfectly executed. While the menu is largely traditional, it also features novel creations, like an artichoke and pecorino medley and an eggplant stracciatella pie.
The décor is much like the food: simple, comforting, and thoroughly Italian. And at center stage is the pizza station. Open to the room and sensually lit with a deep orange glow, it does in fact look like a theater platform. On any given day you can find Reitano in front of the wood–fired oven, performing the dance of the pizzaiolo. For Reitano, nothing could make her happier.
“I just want to feed people!” says Reitano. “I’m basically a future grandmother, not a chef. I want you to have delicious food and be happy and go home happy.”