Update: When a reader recently wrote in to ask about the status of the Mozza in Newport Beach, we thought we'd find out. Mozza general manager David Rosoff tells us that the pizzeria, which will be very similar to the original on Melrose and Highland, is coming along nicely. A general contractor has been selected and they're expecting to get building permits next month. “Opening is still planned for the second quarter of 2011,” Rosoff told us. We'll keep you posted as things evolve.

Turn the page for the original post, published January 27th, 2010.

Newport Beach will soon be a destination town not just for, um, semiconductors, but for pizza. Why? Because Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich will open their third Pizzeria Mozza–the second will open in Singapore later this year–in that Orange County beach town. “We signed a lease,” said Silverton by phone this afternoon. “That's as far as it is.” Silverton says that it will be a pizzeria, just like the original on Highland and Melrose, and that it will “incorporate the 2 Go element” into the restaurant, although not the pizza school that is now attached to the Mozza complex in Los Angeles. Silverton says that the new Mozza will go into “an old space called Dolce,” but that it's far too early for even a target opening date. Dolce Ristorante, on 800 West Coast Highway, was an Italian restaurant before it closed.

As to why Newport Beach, Silverton said that the decision was really Batali's. “He has a knack for knowing what community to target.” The two main concerns were that any future Mozzas be “close to home,” i.e. Los Angeles and the home of the flagship Mozza, but not so close as to jeopardize the success of the original. (Presumably Singapore is a slight exception to that caveat.) If the length of the lines that have formed consistently outside the pizzeria since it opened in fall of 2006 are any indication, we don't think that Silverton has anything to worry about on that count. Even if she opened another pizzeria a mile away.

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