Pizzeria Antica is an Authentic Neapolitan Pizza Restaurant in the heart of Downtown Champaign. Antica strives to perfect the art of pizza as practiced in the City of Naples in the Campania Region of Italy. CCP spoke with owner Ramin Karimpour.
When did Pizzeria Antica open?
What’s your background and how did you get into the pizza business?
My wife and I moved to Champaign twelve years ago to get PhDs at the university. After graduating, instead of moving to jobs outside of Champaign, my spouse was hired by UIUC. I was done with academia. Both of us decided that if we were going to live in Champaign, our community should have a “serious grade pizzeria” so we took it upon ourselves to open one up.
What is a Neapolitan pizza? How’s it different from regular pizza?
Alright, so in the world of pizza the Neapolitan is serious pizza. Much like coffee, beer and craft whisky, Neapolitan is craft pizza. It originates from Naples, Italy where a pizza maker is an artist and puts extreme care into the product. At Pizzeria Antica pizza making is truly a craft.
What’s your most popular pizza?
We are best-known for the Margherita. It’s a simple recipe. Toppings are crushed tomato, basil, cheese, olive oil and salt. Pizza perfection.
What made you decide to open Pizzeria downtown?
Downtown Champaign is where we wanted to be. Pizzeria Antica is a downtown-type business; it wouldn’t work in a strip-mall or convenience location. We wanted a building that reflects the history of our craft and a place where people have spent time and effort to preserve the architecture.
What’s your favorite season downtown? Why?
Always the beginning of spring and summer, when the weather is beautiful, and people are sitting outside. Downtown Champaign on a Friday night is magical! It’s a party – mellow, relaxing, and family-friendly.
What are your hopes & dreams for Pizzeria & downtown Champaign?
Our hope is to become part of the fabric of Champaign. I’d like to see us full every day and every night with people that know us and love our pizza – regulars. We’re getting there.
Follow Pizzeria Antica on Facebook at @anticachampaign.