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Beard Award winner planning Southern Highland pizzeria

Chef Luciano Pellegrini is preparing to open a pizza place in Southern Highlands.

The James Beard Award winner, who ran the kitchen at old Valentino in The Venetian before serving as a consulting chef at Marche Bacchus and founding the Dolcevito Gelato brand, is hoping to officially open Heavenly Pizza Pies in mid-August. It’s a partnership with his cousin, chef David Ryan Brister.

The pizzeria will occupy a space that was formerly 8th Avenue Pizza in the Fire Station Plaza on Southern Highlands Parkway near Starr Avenue. Pellegrini tells us it will likely seat about 30 under normal circumstances, and “a very relaxed 20 people” with all of the proper social distancing guidelines in place.

Pellegrini says the opportunity to take over the space, “just fell in my lap.”

“Opportunity knocked,” the chef continued. “Who am I to not open the door?”

As for the food, the pair will offer a Roman style pizza using four-day dough, cooked at 600 degrees. They’re planning about a half dozen signature pies. There will also be what Pellegrini calls a “small trattoria style menu” of appetizers, salads, pastas and entrees.

Contact Al Mancini at amancini @reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlManciniVegas on Twitter and Instagram.

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