An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Aug 7, 2013
06:32 PMThe Connecticut Table
Stellar Pizza and More at Da Legna in New Haven
You might wonder why New Haven needs another pizza restaurant, but a visit to Da Legna will convince you there’s always room for one more.
Da Legna co-owner Daniel Parillo comes to Italian cooking honestly. His parents, Maria and Anthony, emigrated to Hamden from Caserta, Italy. Parillo grew up speaking Italian and helping in his mother’s kitchen. That led him to DeMatteo’s in Hamden, where he began his pizza passion. His father suggested that the best way to learn the business was to start his own, so in 1996 Parillo opened Portofino’s in North Madison. The long hours he put in did exactly what his father thought it would: taught him how to make an excellent pizza. After nearly a decade-and-a-half it was time to crack New Haven’s pizza scene.
Parillo opened Da Legna in December of 2011, taking over the former D’Amato’s restaurant space at the corner of Clark and State streets. It was barely up and running when a fire on the building’s second floor ended Parillo’s fledgling run, closing the business for a year.
Undaunted, Parillo and co-owner Derek Bacon took the opportunity to completely remodel the space, creating a decor all their own. The installed a Neapolitan, wood-fired pizza oven that cooks Parillo’s razor-thin pizzas in 90 seconds. It’s that oven that lent the restaurant its name: Da Legna, “of wood.” They brought in David Foster to create a myriad of salads and small plates.