It will take hundreds of degrees to fire up a crispy crust at Rossano Rubicondi’s upcoming pizzeria in downtown West Palm Beach.
But it has taken far fewer degrees to fascinate the world about the business, called Rossano To Go. That’s because Rubicondi is separated by less than six degrees from Mar-a-Lago and its first family. He is the ex-husband of Ivana Trump, first wife of President Donald Trump and the mother of his three oldest children.
So even months before the pizza shop debuts on Narcissus Avenue in late spring, it’s hot celeb news. Already, Rubicondi’s enterprise has been featured on Page Six, CNN and Food & Wine magazine.
The affable, Roman-born socialite and entrepreneur doesn’t shy away from collateral Trump attention or from the glow of Mar-a-Lago, which sits three and a half miles from the pizzeria space. But Rubicondi’s concept has its own kind of star quality: a pizzeria that doubles as a health-minded restaurant, serving healthy salads, fresh juices and tonic shots.
One might say the concept reflects its owner.
“It does reflect me. I’m a healthy guy. I do gym. I play tennis. And the pizza? Because I’m Italian,” Rubicondi told The Post by phone from London Monday.
That pizza will be handmade in a simple southern Italian style, then baked in a wood-burning oven by a pizza chef Rubicondi has hired from Naples.
“He will lead the kitchen. He is fantastic. He will make people smile,” said Rubicondi, who expects to open in “two to three” months.
Expect a few pizzas with tribute names, he says.
“I think there will be a White House pizza, with white truffles on it. Maybe I will name one for Ivana,” says Rubicondi. Such a pizza, he says, would have to be a glamourous one. “I think I’m going to dedicate the one with caviar on top to Ivana.”
The menu also will include “all kinds of appetizers,” such as prosciutto and cheese boards, cakes and muffins made with organic ingredients, gluten-free options and “very healthy” juices.
“These are very good for the Palm Beach women, who like to eat healthy. They will love it,” said Rubicondi, who married Ivana in 2008 at a swanky Mar-a-Lago wedding after meeting on a reality TV show. (They divorced eight months later.)
The pizzeria is just one part of Rubicondi’s food business plan. The other part involves a retrofitted fire truck. He’s dubbed it “Rossano Firehouse To Go.”
“It will be fun. It’s an old New York-inspired truck. I found it through friends of mine,” said Rubicondi, who plans to take the mega food truck to festivals and special events.
The launch of both concepts is behind schedule, he said.
“We are still in the permitting stage. I’m on the phone the whole day with architects and the general contractor,” said Rubicondi, who is building his restaurant in the former Nature’s Way Café space near Waterfront Commons.
Despite the pizzeria’s name, Rossano To Go is more than a takeout concept. The full-service restaurant will have indoor and alfresco seating, offer wine and beer and even a family-friendly Sunday brunch.
“I will call it ‘Ciao, Baby!’ It’s a brunch for the babies and their families. It’s $10 for two pizzas and beverage,” he says.
More than his Italian roots and healthy lifestyle, Rubicondi hopes the pizzeria reflects his personality. In describing the intended ambiance, he offered one word: “Fun!”
But here’s the big question: Will he deliver to Mar-a-Lago?
“Even better,” he says, “I can take the fire truck over there.”
Rossano To Go: scheduled to open in late spring at 105 S. Narcissus Ave., Suite 130, West Palm Beach.