Food and place porn: Pizzeria Locale's opening night
"There's no other style of pizza in the world that's as geeky as the Napolitano style," chef Lachlan MacKinnon-Patterson said last night, as the pace started to pick up at Pizzeria Locale during its first official dinner service. "And we're trying to do it exactly right."
"Makes our jobs pretty hard," added Bobby Stuckey with a grin.
Hard, first of all, because the two, who also own Boulder's Frasca Food & Wine (where, yes, I once worked), were unwilling to cut corners on anything, including their equipment. And that delayed the eatery's opening by two months after their first pizza oven, meant to be constructed in the space, was held and destroyed by U.S. Customs because of soil in the box. After that tragedy, the Ferrara family built the group another oven in Italy and shipped it whole; it took a crane to get the massive thing into place.
"But in Naples, pizza's only considered to be done right if it's made in one of two ovens," explained MacKinnon-Patterson, dismissing the idea of finding a domestically made substitute. "The Ferrara is one of them." Getting the right oven was key, because Stuckey and MacKinnon-Patterson wanted a true Napolitano pizzeria, not a Napolitano-inspired pizzeria. And so they scrutinized every detail -- from the decor to the dough -- to make sure that their new place was as close as they could come to a joint in that city in Campagna.
Behold the fruits of their labor.
Like the original Frasca, Pizzeria Locale has a dining room that's sleek and beautiful, full of dark woods, marble and clean lines. But it has the air of a pizzeria, too. Photographs by Dave Woody, a local photographer who was recently contracted to do portraits for the Smithsonian, depict scenes from Naples displaying graffiti, dirty streets and colorful characters. And fluorescent lights, a raucous noise level and choice decor details extend that theme further.