Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Steve Lanzilotti


He’d made the calls, gotten the brochures and examined applicatio­ns.

After working for a series of failed local establishm­ents, Steve Lanzilotti was burned out, already, at age 26 — hardly a first in the restaurant industry, which, no pun intended, is notorious for eating its young. He was ready for steadier hours, better pay and more stability and nearly traded in his chef’s knives and apron for a carpenter’s hammer and tool belt.

But almost like a movie protagonis­t who hangs in for one last case that proves fortuitous, he gave it one last go after learning that Valozzi’s, a longtime Greensburg favorite, was opening a Downtown location.

“I thought, ‘I’ve gone through the schooling, I’ve done my time and done the grunt work and been through some crappy situations,’ ” he said. “So I refocused on cooking and learning and thought if I work hard at this, something good will come of it.”

He quickly separated himself as a leader in that kitchen and rose up the ranks. And now, five years later, the Valozzi family will metaphoric­ally give Mr. Lanzilotti the keys to its new Italian sports car of a restaurant, Talia. Ernie and Julian Valozzi tapped Mr. Lanzilotti, a Pennsylvan­ia Culinary Institute graduate, to be the executive chef at Talia, which will open in the ground floor of the old Alcoa building late next month.

“It was nice to get that final validation of what I’d said all those years ago. Hard work pays off when you work for a good family and company.”

As opposed to the white tablecloth formality at Valozzi’s, Talia is to be more casual, and the kitchen’s centerpiec­e is a giant rotisserie, custom built in France, that will roast lamb, beef, pork, chicken and seafood.

“It’s a meat centric restaurant. It’ll be rustic. We aren’t Massimo Bottura dissecting Italian food, but it’s not just spaghetti and meatballs either,” Mr. Lanzilotti laughed in describing his menu, which he said is the culminatio­n of his life’s work to date.

“It’s exciting. I can showcase my take on things and build a name for myself. It’s been a long time coming. But now it’s on me to produce something great.”

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