Author Topic: Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria - My review of the $6.95 Margherita  (Read 1512 times)

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Offline Everlast

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A new pizza place just opened up down the street from my office called Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria. I stopped by there for lunch to give it a shot. The format is similar to Subway. You go down the line and add ingredients. It's $6.95 for a base pizza, such as Margherita, then $1 per meat or vegetable topping. I ordered the Margherita. I noticed that the guy opening the dough balls seemed to be using a lot of force to stretch out the dough. He didn't know the HR but I'd estimate it at 55% or less. I think they may have been having some issues with the dough because he said they are still tweaking the recipe. According to this video which shows the a pizza being made at the restaurant, they use San Marzano tomatoes and Caputo 00 flour:



After opening the dough, they took the pizza down the line and added fresh mozzarella (pre-cut in water), sea salt, and basil which looked more brown than green, then brought it over on the peel to their oven and placed it in the waiting area while another pizza cooked. I waited about 5 minutes while the people ahead of me got their pizza. The oven was being operated using a combination of gas and wood with the temp reading 707F. My pizza took about 1.5 minutes plus some dome time. I'd say from the moment I walked in until the moment I got my pizza took 10-12 minutes. Below are the pictures of it. My overall impression was that it was a little bland. The cheese lacked in flavor, the dough was simple, one-note, overly crisp with minimal oven spring, and I didn't notice any significant tomato flavor in the sauce. But, for $6.95 for a 12" pizza, I'll probably go back at some point to see if they've ironed out the kinks because I think that's a good value. However, I still haven't decided how I feel about what seems to be a fast-foodification of Neapolitan pizza. What do you guys think?
« Last Edit: March 13, 2013, 12:13:58 PM by Steve »


Offline jeff v

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Re: Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria - My review of the $6.95 Margherita
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2013, 04:32:09 PM »
Depressing but was probably inevitable.
Back to being a civilian pizza maker only.

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria - My review of the $6.95 Margherita
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2013, 04:34:53 PM »
However, I still haven't decided how I feel about what seems to be a fast-foodification of Neapolitan pizza. What do you guys think?

It's funny you mention that, as Neapolitan pizza was invented to be the ultimate fast food. Cooked in 90 seconds, folded up into a "libretto" and eaten on the go. But in order for it to fold up, the dough needed to be extensible and supple. And the simple toppings were full of flavor since there were only a few. And since you were basically eating a big slice of bread, the dough needed to be fully fermented and "digestible".

Now, anyone with an oven can crank out anemic Neapolitan pizza. The pie does not look that bad - and at $7 it is definitely a bargain - but the entire spirit of what it represents is missing from this establishment in my view.

Thanks for the write up.

John

Offline JConk007

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Re: Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria - My review of the $6.95 Margherita
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2013, 04:41:18 PM »
800 degrees ! Is the forerunner of this fastapoitan style. They go thru 1000's of pounds of cheese and flour per month.  But finished pie looks  different.
That video was a bit off  ??? Guilo from forchella speake on using the flatness of the finger not the tips to stretch.   My humble opinion is to use wood not gas , crank up the oven a bit, I  think he said 650?  ( video was closer to 2:30 bake) use less bench flour, and drain the cheese please.
However For $6.95 its much much better than most slice joints for sure !
Not trying to derail thread question is the production concept of neapolitan I think it works but like anything if not done right they can keep it .
John
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Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria - My review of the $6.95 Margherita
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2013, 04:47:36 PM »
It's funny you mention that, as Neapolitan pizza was invented to be the ultimate fast food. Cooked in 90 seconds, folded up into a "libretto" and eaten on the go. But in order for it to fold up, the dough needed to be extensible and supple. And the simple toppings were full of flavor since there were only a few. And since you were basically eating a big slice of bread, the dough needed to be fully fermented and "digestible".

Now, anyone with an oven can crank out anemic Neapolitan pizza. The pie does not look that bad - and at $7 it is definitely a bargain - but the entire spirit of what it represents is missing from this establishment in my view.

Thanks for the write up.

John
With all due respect John...isn't your second paragraph above an oxymoron of the first paragraph?
If Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria is providing a $7 pizza to it's customers within a 10-12 minute time frame then isn't that exactly(by today's standards)what the original spirit of NP pie is/was all about? Fast food for the masses.

Anyway, that dough on Everlasts pie is a big "kink"...but if the get that worked out I'd say they a real bargain on their hands and should probably do very well.

Bob
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Offline jeff v

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Re: Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria - My review of the $6.95 Margherita
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2013, 04:51:10 PM »
It's funny you mention that, as Neapolitan pizza was invented to be the ultimate fast food. Cooked in 90 seconds, folded up into a "libretto" and eaten on the go. But in order for it to fold up, the dough needed to be extensible and supple. And the simple toppings were full of flavor since there were only a few. And since you were basically eating a big slice of bread, the dough needed to be fully fermented and "digestible".

Now, anyone with an oven can crank out anemic Neapolitan pizza. The pie does not look that bad - and at $7 it is definitely a bargain - but the entire spirit of what it represents is missing from this establishment in my view.

Thanks for the write up.

John

Well said. To clarify my comment I should have said "the typical American fastfoodization" is depressing. Usually meaning-cheaper, corner cutting, lower skilled and indifferent help.
Back to being a civilian pizza maker only.

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria - My review of the $6.95 Margherita
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2013, 04:56:17 PM »
With all due respect John...isn't your second paragraph above an oxymoron of the first paragraph?
If Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria is providing a $7 pizza to it's customers within a 10-12 minute time frame then isn't that exactly(by today's standards)what the original spirit of NP pie is/was all about? Fast food for the masses.

Bob - The spirit I was describing, in addition to fast food origins, had to do with supple dough, flavorful toppings, and digestibility. Everlast described his pizza as bland, overly crisp, and no oven spring. Yes, it was cooked and delivered in a fast manner, but the product itself did not live up the ideals.

But they seem to want to make it better by tweaking, so that is a good sign.

John

Offline Everlast

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Re: Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria - My review of the $6.95 Margherita
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2013, 05:02:40 PM »
In addition to the non-suppleness and less than flavorful toppings, I would agree on the digestibility part. At home, I do a 48 hour fermented dough and can easily put down a 12" Margherita without feeling like I ate a whole loaf of french bread. My brother, who has some gluten sensitivity, has no problems eating my pizza and can't believe how well it goes down. Today, two hours after eating the Persona Margherita, it feels like someone dropped a sack of raw flour in my stomach.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 05:05:15 PM by Everlast »

Offline hotsawce

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Re: Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria - My review of the $6.95 Margherita
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2013, 11:27:46 PM »
The "pee-zee-o-la" and gas oven just disappoint me. I'm not too fond of how the craft of Neapolitan pizza is being so commercialized now, and I would personally not eat at an establishment like this. Neapolitan pizza was brought to light by a few great pioneers and the "restaurant business" hopped on it like a trend and buried true Neapolitan before the craft could even be fully realized here in the USA.

It's not only about the right oven and ingredients. The pizza is so dynamic...you can't just take a dough, made the same every day with no regard for the environment in which it ferments, stick it on an assembly line with san marzano tomatoes and mozz and call it a true Neapolitan pizza.

That's my rant/2 cents.

Couldn't agree more...and I think you're being too kind...
The pie does not look that bad - and at $7 it is definitely a bargain - but the entire spirit of what it represents is missing from this establishment in my view.

Offline derricktung

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Re: Persona Neapolitan Pizzeria - My review of the $6.95 Margherita
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2013, 05:03:22 PM »
I'm not against "fast foodification" of Neapolitan style pizza, but you have to be able to serve up good quality pizza to be respected. For instance, take a comparison like McDonald's burgers and Five Guys burgers.  Clear differences in quality/care and outcomes of the final product.  From your pics, it doesn't look like it's a great neapolitan pie.

At first, I thought you were reviewing a place in Chicago called Pizza Persona.  http://www.pizzapersona.com/

They don't claim Neapolitan pies, and definitely aren't making Neapolitan, but the one pie I had there wasn't bad.  Not great, but not bad.