Stateline gets new pizzeria: Restaurant offers casual approach
What: Asiago’s Pizzeria and Deli
Where: 195 Highway 50, Suite 105, Stateline, Nev.
When: Monday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Info: 775-586-8376; www.asiagospizza.com/menu
STATELINE — Two years ago, business owner Mike Fayer seized an opportunity to open a now-successful restaurant in Gardnerville Ranchos, Nevada. Buoyed by a passion for fine food and simple service, he launched a pizzeria in Stateline in June.
When Asiago’s Pizzeria and Deli opened at 195 Highway 50, Fayer said he immediately saw people streaming through the doors.
“I really felt that Stateline needed something for the locals that was casual, but with great food,” Fayer, a Kingsbury resident, said.
“We’re fine dining that offers East Coast-styled Greek and Italian food in a casual environment. This is Tahoe — where people wear tank tops, flip flops or ski boots — so causal dining is good.”
Fayer also said he doesn’t skimp on the pizza ingredients, and everything, from tomatoes to meats, is served fresh.
“We use a really good pizza blend from Grande Cheese,” he said. “It’s more expensive, but it’s better than the knock-off.”
Fayer’s own approach for a pizza is simple — try it plain, then add toppings.
“A plain cheese pizza is the go-to test, because if that is good, it speaks volumes about the rest,” he said.
Asiago’s interior also reflects Fayer’s casual approach: it’s plainly decorated, features an open kitchen, and a 60-inch flat-screen TV is available for people to watch Sunday football games.
In addition to pizza, Asiago’s serves up Greek and Italian dishes like moussaka, gnocchi and shrimp scampi. A selection of East Coast-style sandwiches, including an authentic-tasting Philly cheesesteak, is available.
Fayer became involved in the restaurant business about 13 years ago, landscaping by day and serving at night. He moved to the Lake Tahoe area in 2012 and opened Philadelphia Restaurant & Sandwich Company, his Gardnerville Ranchos restaurant, in 2013.
“I wanted something that didn’t involve feast or famine during the shoulder seasons while living here,” Fayer said.
A cook himself, he still mans the kitchen Thursdays and Fridays in Gardnerville Ranchos, but works the front at Asiago’s the rest of the week.
According to Fayer, South Lake Tahoe’s restaurant scene leaves something to be desired.
“To me, Tahoe is kind of a food desert,” Fayer said. “There’s a lot of variety in the cuisine offered in South Lake Tahoe, but there’s not enough passion in the food. You can have a great chef, but if the rest of your staff is not as passionate it’s going to show in the food.”
Fayer recruited a few veteran Tahoe cooks to work at Asiago’s, including head chef Dennis Hall.
Hall shares many of Fayer’s viewpoints, including pride in making quality food.
“The ingredients for a good pizza, or good food in general, is the most important thing,” Hall said. “That, a proper technique and some love, and you get a good pizza.”
Hall started his career more than 35 years ago, working in Lake Tahoe, including at the Stateline casinos. He said Asiago’s casual, low-key atmosphere plays into the cooking style.
First-time customer Denise Haerr said the new Stateline pizzeria possesses a small-town feel to it with a bold menu.
“I like the pizza a lot, from the crust to the toppings,” Haerr said. “… This is the kind of place where I would come after being at the beach all day, I’m tired and I don’t want to cook.
For more information, visit http://www.asiagospizza.com.