Napoli’s Italian Restaurant owner Tony Nurezini got started in the restaurant business 20 years ago after moving to the U.S. from Sicily.
“When I came first over here, my cousin was doing the restaurant business,” Nurezini said. “I got into the business, and since then I have been working restaurants.”
With hard work, he said he climbed his way up to owner, and now operates several Italian restaurants throughout Nebraska.
“We offer pizza, pasta and bread,” Nurezini said. “Everyone loves pasta and bread. We make everything from scratch.”
He opened Napoli’s at 110 Ivinson Ave. on Dec. 8, and said the public has responded well to the restaurant.
“Our lasagna sells good, our ravioli sells good,” Nurezini said. “People here ask for a lot of stromboli. We don’t get that at the other restaurants.”
Napoli’s manager Jennifer Murphy said opening in December presented some staffing difficulties, but as the students return, help has become more abundant.
“I think we’re fitting into the community very well,” Murphy said. “It’s something the community needed.”
Laramie’s lack of Italian cuisine options was what initially attracted Nurezini to Wyoming.
“We were looking on the internet, and we saw Laramie had no Italian restaurants,” he said. “We said, ‘This town looks nice, let’s give them a try.’”
Setting up shop in the former El Conquistador building, Napoli’s interior still offers diners a distinctly Spanish experience, but Nurezini said he plans to update the décor in the coming months.
“To tell the truth, it was only a month-and-a-half we looked at Laramie before we started opening,” he said. “We came here and everybody was extremely helpful. It was an easy process.”
Traditional Italian music played over Napoli’s sound system giving the orange and green walls an upbeat Mediterranean feel as Nurezini folded his hands and looked back to the kitchen.
“Painting? Of course, painting,” he said. “We’re going to paint here after we talk to the landlord a bit more.”
The menu might also change in the near future as Nurezini pursues permits to sell beer and wine.
While Napoli’s offers a few dishes named after Sicily, he said he would not offer much in the way of traditional Sicilian cuisine.
“There is a lot of seafood (in Sicilian and Italian cuisine), but you are in the middle of America,” Nurezini said. “So we offer a lot of pasta and pizza. Lasagna and spaghetti and meatballs — the sausage, these are more known to people.”
As Laramie becomes familiar with one of its newest downtown eateries, he said he looks forward to refining Napoli’s menu to Laramigos’ palettes.
Napoli’s is open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays and Sundays, and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.