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Mixing Tradition and Flavor in a NYC Pizza Restaurant

Forgotten in the rise of the New York style pizza (traditionally produced in coal ovens) is the Neapolitan-style pizza that started it all. Neapolitan pizza is the original pizza from Italy that, to this day, is made in wood-fire ovens. Until recently, this style has had limited influence on American pizza-making.

Special Crust from Hot Wood-Fire Ovens

As coal-fire ovens brought pizza into the American consciousness, the Neapolitan-style pizza tradition has been slow to make inroads in the United States (a wood fire oven is a big investment). But those who try good Neapolitan-inspired pizzas are almost always converted. Still, New York style dominates in NYC so you are even less likely to come upon these thin crust, slightly charred (gives it the smokey quality) pizzas.

The cooking process is dramatically different as a wood-burning stove can be much hotter (up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit) than the gas burning stove (which has replaced coal) you see at the corner pizzeria. The pizza therefore cooks in a few minutes. The high temperature also requires expertise in managing the oven so that the pizza is cooked just right. To put that kind of care into pizza, you cannot reheat slices as a standard NYC pizzeria does, but must make a full pie from scratch with high quality ingredients.

These are the kind of standards you encounter in our NYC pizza restaurant, modeled on the ones in Naples, that take pizza way more seriously and produce a finer product. The restaurants in Naples have kept traditions that date back to the 19th century, but many take a conservative view of toppings (sticking to marinara and Margherita).

Going Beyond Tradition

Part of American pizza-making has been taking the best from many different innovations. So we combine the traditional Mediterranean methods in terms of crust preparation but spice up (literally) the toppings too. We go far beyond the traditional New York style topping and fuse flavors from all over into delicious distinct pizzas. Ingredients such as jalapeno, pesto sauce, kalamata olives, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes and calamari tweak Neapolitan pizza so that you can still enjoy the crust while encountering new tastes. This is the same spirit of daring that made pizza what it is today. If someone did not take a risk, mozzarella cheese would have never made it onto a pizza, as Raffaele Esposito 120 years ago did when he added mozzarella to pizzas.

In NYC, Neapolitan pizza is a rare thing and it is even rarer to see a pizza that is willing to try new things with this traditional pizza-making method. Of course, the wood-fire oven is always key. Similarly, the telltale sign of Neapolitan style pizza is the thin crust that is slightly charred. This however does not create a burnt taste but a smoky taste. Along with being slightly smaller than New York Style (often enough for one person), these pizzas have a crust that is thin and soft with a crunchy crust at its ends. It has a chewiness somewhat similar to an English muffin but much more flavorful. Bodrum’s pizza has the right balance of the steaminess and stretchiness that have been a signature of Neapolitan pizza crust for hundreds of years.

Pizza Restaurant: Neapolitan Pizza Made with NYC Mindset

Passerbys frequently miss that we are a NYC pizza restaurant with a huge wood-fire oven center stage. We complement it with other Mediterranean food from all over, but we build on the Neapolitan pizza tradition (literally). As NYC is drowning in pizzerias, we make pizza that is far better and more original than street food, unless you are talking about the high standard found in the streets of Naples. In the same breath, we keep pizza, the food of the people, priced reasonably. Bodrum’s pizza keeps all the cultural richness, but you do not spend like the rich to enjoy them.

Creative Commons Photos from Flickr