Citizen Pie Roman Café Now Open on E. Fourth Street

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VYTAURAS SASNAUSKAS
  • Vytauras Sasnauskas
Update: With waves of businesses closing permanently or temporarily due to COVID-19, a rare and welcome opening has arrived in downtown Cleveland.

Citizen Pie Roman Cafe is now slinging Roman-style pizza on East 4th street.



“It is focaccia-ish, but it’s not bready at all,” chef Vytauras Sasnauskas says of the style. “It’s light as a cloud and you can eat a ton of it.”

The chef, who also operates the wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzerias Citizen Pie, says that the distinctive pizza and fast-casual format make Roman Café well suited to the new Coronavirus business climate.



The pies are formed, topped and baked in advance, reducing in-store interaction times. And, unlike those delicate wood-fired pies, these thick, airy and moist pizzas hold up well in transit, notes Sasnauskas. “The dough has a high olive oil and moisture content, so it travels and reheats extremely well,” he states. In addition to the ready-to-eat pizza by the slice, the downtown shop likely will add take-and-bake pies to the roster. Those pies are par-baked, requiring a little time in a hot oven to reach pizza perfection.

Roman Cafe is located in the former Erie Island coffee spot, and thanks to a partnership with Six Shooter Coffee, Clevelanders can still get their caffeine needs taken care of on the street.

Check them out Sunday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.


***

(Original story 4/23/2020): Back in February, we revealed chef Vytauras Sasnauskas’ plans to open Citizen Pie Roman Café in the former home of Erie Island Coffee on E. Fourth Street. Following a brief pause, the chef reports that it’s all systems go from here on out. A work permit has been granted, a new hood installed and the specialized baking equipment has been ordered and is standing by.

“We’re moving along and hope to be open and selling pizza by June,” says Sasnauskas.

Described as “the next big thing in pizza,” Roman-style pizza is modeled after the popular Rome-based eatery Bonci, which now has multiple locations in Chicago and New Orleans.

“It is focaccia-ish, but it’s not bready at all,” adds the chef. “It’s light as a cloud and you can eat a ton of it.”

The chef, who also operates the wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzerias Citizen Pie, says that the distinctive pizza and fast-casual format make Roman Café well suited to the new Coronavirus business climate. The pies are formed, topped and baked in advance, reducing in-store interaction times. And, unlike those delicate wood-fired pies, these thick, airy and moist pizzas hold up well in transit, notes Sasnauskas.

“The dough has a high olive oil and moisture content, so it travels and reheats extremely well,” he states.

In addition to the ready-to-eat pizza by the slice, the downtown shop likely will add take-and-bake pies to the roster. Those pies are par-baked, requiring a little time in a hot oven to reach pizza perfection.

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