Author Topic: Let's Open A Commercial Neapolitan-Style Pizzeria Together...  (Read 3266 times)

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Offline aeneas1

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Let's Open A Commercial Neapolitan-Style Pizzeria Together...
« on: February 05, 2007, 06:17:32 AM »
absolutely wonderful forum!

for the last 6 months i have been planning to convert my restaurant operation to that of a neapolitan-style pizzeria and, finally, the change-over is quickly approaching. after 10+ years in business, this is going to be a very exciting and fun change of pace for my staff, my regulars and myself - and something that i am certain will be extremely well-received.

so this is what i have in mind - i'm wondering if any of you (especially friz78, pete-zza, pftaylor, giotto and pieguy given their wonderful input in the "re-engineering a16 pizza in sf" thread) would be interested in, as they say, living vicariously through my process. that is to say, i'm wondering if any members would be interested in putting their home recipes/techniques/theories and experiences discussed in this forum to the test in my commercial operation (adjusting for commercial vs residential equipment of course). i thought i would document the entire process here with photos (and possibly videos) while keeping those who wish to participate up to date.

i have hired, on a consultant basis, a very experienced pizzaioli from a very well respected and highly succesful neapolitan pizzeria in my neck of the woods and he will be training my staff in heat management, dough management, stretching/forming, cooking techniques, etc. - my staff and i are also scheduled to take several classes and training courses in the near future.

however, before i bring the pizzaioli onboard and before my staff and i take our classes, i thought it would be a fun process to see just how far i could get with this forum's help and other internet resources - in short, i thought it would be fun to turn this process into a pizzamaking.com co-op project. who knows - we may discover that, collectively, we will have no need for the pizzaioli cunsultant or the training courses. and, who knows, perhaps we may also discover that the end result of our collective effort will yield a final product, a perfect pizza napoletana, that will be pointed to often as one of the best neapolitan-style pizzas in the country!

if you feel that this proposal is impractical or if you think that forum interest in such an undertaking would be nominal please let me know - otherwise, please feel free to jump in at any time and offer whatever, and i mean whatever, opinions strike you!

oven: we will be using a 56" diameter all wood burning oven (not gas assisted) - this particular oven model is in use at several very, very well known resturants around the country. the oven arrived a couple of weeks ago and is now completely cured. i have been using almond wood but have access to other types as well - two days ago i started firing and maintaining normal operational heat (floor 800-850, dome 1000+, midwalls 900).

mixer: univex-m30 30 quart planetary mixer with dough hook. if i had to do it over again i would have probably gone with their spiral model - perhaps down the road.

cold prep: 8' cold prep table with custom extended landing for pizza stretching.

recipe: i thought it would be fun to start with one of the a16 reverse-engineering recipes found in this forum - decision: same-day rise, multiple-day rises using refrigerated retardation? which one do you think would be the best one to try first?

ingredients: we will be purchasing most of our ingredients from the italfoods (italfoodsinc.com) - most of their products are listed on their website so feel free to take and look and make your recommendations. caputo flour is a given!

menu: i thought we would start rather simple - pizzeria bianco (phoenix), pizzeria picco (northern california), a16 (lunch) are some good examples.

pizzeriabianco.com/menu.html
pizzeriapicco.com/
a16sf.com/MenuLunch.html

tableware/presentation: do we slice the pie after baking? i'm leaning towards serving it unsliced. also, good friends of mine recently returned from naples and had "the best pizza of their lives" yet the name didn't immediately come to their mind (said they would get back to me). said it definitely wasn't da michele's. small place, pies served uncut/unsliced and brought to the table on a rustic wood platter with no side plates (just ate off the wood platter). i like the wood platter idea - any thoughts?

ambiance/target/pricing: not looking to serve $17 pies (una pizza napoletana, new york) nor am i shooting for a casual/chic/upscale scene (a16 sf, linen on tables, etc.). i'm shooting for inexpensive, family-friendly, neighborhood, casual scene. although our restaurant is located in an area of the country which would definitely support a una pizza napoletana and/or a16 type scene (and is filled with such types of chich restaurants), i want to shoot for a type of place that doesn't appear to aspire to greatness - a type of place that is very casual, very reasonably priced yet blindsides you with the fantastic food. know what i mean?

other: i would also like to for this process to include the entire menu (but pizzas are obvioulsy priority numero uno!). so if any of you would like to recommend great beverages, beers, wines, appetizers, etc. please feel free to chime in - let your creative side go wild and treat this as your blank canvas (or as a precursor to the joint you eventually open!).

one last item - at this point i do not want to reveal my location nor the name of my restaurant for various sound business reasons and, hopefully, the photos of our progress i will be posting won't give us away. but if our collective work should reap extraordinary attention, rest assured that credit will be given to all as well as quite a few complimentary pizzas and beer!

should anyone wish to contact me privately please feel free to pm me.


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Let's Open A Commercial Neapolitan-Style Pizzeria Together...
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2007, 07:24:11 AM »
Sounds like fun! Count me in!

Why don't you describe in terms of taste and texture the crust you are trying to make. Neapolitan style is mostly about the crust - getting that right consistently will, IMHO, be your biggest challenge.

What brand of oven do you have?

Bill/SFNM

Offline scpizza

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Re: Let's Open A Commercial Neapolitan-Style Pizzeria Together...
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2007, 08:58:25 AM »
If we open the pizza restaurant together, will we be sharing in the profits together?

The board is the board, everyone is free to use it.  The currency on this board is kindness to the inexperienced, willingness to invest your own time and brainpower in advancing the understanding of pizza, and willingness to share your discoveries publicly.  If you start providing all these things you don't need to ask for help, you will get more help than you know what to do with.


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Let's Open A Commercial Neapolitan-Style Pizzeria Together...
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2007, 09:40:46 AM »
scpizza,

I don't disagree with what you say. But I have a tremendous respect for those that try to make a go of it in the restaurant business. I have some good friends who run a restaurant and have seen how hard they have struggled and how much they have sacrificed to make it a success. It is a brutally tough business with every bit of profit being a long, hard-won battle.

Aeneas1's goal to try to create a high-quality Neapolitan place is admirable, although something I would never, ever, in a million years try to do myself. That he comes here open for new ideas and help is encouraging, but, as you imply, the flow of information imust be two-way.

Bill/SFNM

 

Offline varasano

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Re: Let's Open A Commercial Neapolitan-Style Pizzeria Together...
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2007, 11:29:37 AM »
You are unknown on this board and come on wanting us to give you our knowledge so you start a business and yet you won't tell us who you are or where you are. 

Umm.... something sound fishy to me.

Jeff

Offline David

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Re: Let's Open A Commercial Neapolitan-Style Pizzeria Together...
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2007, 08:28:29 PM »

i have hired, on a consultant basis, a very experienced pizzaioli from a very well respected and highly succesful neapolitan pizzeria in my neck of the woods and he will be training my staff in heat management, dough management, stretching/forming, cooking techniques, etc. - my staff and i are also scheduled to take several classes and training courses in the near future.

You should be in good hands then.However there is a Neapolitan expert who contributes to this board who is a Consultant and i'm sure he could be retained should you run into difficulty.I think that you may find more feedback from Professional Restaurant operators on the PMQ website,though what they know about Neapolitan is debatable?
As Bond says ,I could tell you as much as I know (which is not a lot ) but then I would have to kill you. :o
If you're looking for a date... go to the Supermarket.If you're looking for a wife....go to the Farmers market

Offline abatardi

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Re: Let's Open A Commercial Neapolitan-Style Pizzeria Together...
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2007, 01:02:23 AM »
I just want to try my dough in a proper oven... but do I have to drive up to Novato?  :-)

- aba
Make me a bicycle CLOWN!

Offline pkasten

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Re: Let's Open A Commercial Neapolitan-Style Pizzeria Together...
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2007, 01:44:34 AM »
Wow.

Who would so drastically shift their restaurant's focus in midstream unless everything is going down the tubes and it's time for a last-ditch effort to convert it into something profitable. 

Breakfast and pizza being two of the biggest money makers in the restaurant biz, why not pizza? 

Hmmm.... brick oven pizza seems to be getting popular these days..

the pictures on this website look good....

maybe you can pretend to have bought an oven in hopes that they'll take you seriously and divulge some beautiful secret that you can use to resurrect the restaurant that you have been managing into the ground.

why bother to actually read, practice, and learn about it, when you can try to get people who have dedicated huge amounts of time and money already to tell you the abridged version?  you're basically asking for the pizza napoletana cliffs notes, right?

why is this wrong?  because only someone who cares deeply about food, much more deeply than the simple desire to save one's own financial hide, will ever produce an exceptional product.

if you really are serious, do your research.  experiment.  that is how you'll learn.  let your "consultant" get you started, and evolve from there.  never stop learning and improving.

Offline aeneas1

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Re: Let's Open A Commercial Neapolitan-Style Pizzeria Together...
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2007, 07:23:44 AM »
Quote from: Bill/SFNM
Sounds like fun! Count me in! Why don't you describe in terms of taste and texture the crust you are trying to make. Neapolitan style is mostly about the crust - getting that right consistently will, IMHO, be your biggest challenge. What brand of oven do you have? Bill/SFNM

thanks for your enthusiasm and, more importantly, thanks for grasping that the spirit of my post was to simply see if those forum members that have posted their many trials and tribulations might be interested in seeing how these recipes might turn out using a commercial wood fire oven in in a commercial environment. i thought it would not only be fun to document the collective process by posting photos but that it might also be a nice, informative addition to the forum.

i also thought that i was very careful to point out in my original post, in an effort to show that i was not seeking trade secrets or shortcuts, that we would use recipes that have already been posted here - recipes that have already been openly discussed - as i assumed that this would make the most sense and be of most interest to the forum given the amount time already devoted to them. i thought i was equally careful not to imply that i was seeking "free" advice from experienced/professional members such as marco. yet, unfortunately, it appears that this is exactly what some that responded here took from my original post. so, again Bill/SFNM, thanks very much for understanding that this was not my intent!

our busy season begins in 3 months at which time we will be in full swing with our neapolitan-style pizzas. i thought that my staff and i would spend the next month and a half gradually familiarizing ourselves with the new products, different techinques and oven management as much as possible followed by another month and a half specific training - my oevn was installed in a location of my restaurant that will allow us to do this while also remaining open for normal business hours. it was my intention that my forum co-op proposal might be a part of the first month and a half process.

btw, i noticed that you own an earthstone oven - what a gem. as i mentioned in my very first post (november of last year - in which i asked if there was a separate forum section for commercial operators), i also looked very closely at earthstones (and woodstones) and i loved them both although, honestly, i liked earthstones a tad more. if i remember correctly, evelyn sloman speaks very highly of them and highly recommends both (i think she uses a woodstone at her cafe). have you tried using wood shavings (as opposed to saw dust) when cooking? a great way to get an instant burst of flame and heat and most (all?) mills will love you if you take it off their hands for free! i really do look forward to exchanging ideas and experiences with you bill and please check your pms...


Quote from: pkasten
Who would so drastically shift their restaurant's focus in midstream unless everything is going down the tubes and it's time for a last-ditch effort to convert it into something profitable.  Breakfast and pizza being two of the biggest money makers in the restaurant biz, why not pizza?  Hmmm.... brick oven pizza seems to be getting popular these days.. the pictures on this website look good.... maybe you can pretend to have bought an oven in hopes that they'll take you seriously and divulge some beautiful secret that you can use to resurrect the restaurant that you have been managing into the ground.

actually, it's not uncommon for food and beverage operations to reposition themselves for reasons non-economical; nor is it uncommon that such repositions not involve "breakfast and pizza". my restaurant is located in a part of the country that has led the way in organic/sustainable agriculture and, as such, it makes good business sense for me to now move in that direction as much as possible as well. so rather than simply updating my current menu by replacing existing ingredients with their organic counterparts (or the like), i thought it would be a perfect time to introduce an entirely new menu - one that would be able to take full advantage of the wonderful local organic products available in my area (produce, oils, chesses, etc.) - i felt that neapolitan-style pizza, which is unavailable within 30 miles of my location, would allow me to this in a very special way. 

i have been in business at the same location for over 10 years and feel that the ability to succesfully reposition when the timing is right has had much to do with my restaurant's success over the years. are you, or have you ever been, a restaurant owner? if so, i'm sure you know what i'm talking about.

Quote from: scpizza
If we open the pizza restaurant together, will we be sharing in the profits together? The board is the board, everyone is free to use it.  The currency on this board is kindness to the inexperienced, willingness to invest your own time and brainpower in advancing the understanding of pizza, and willingness to share your discoveries publicly.  If you start providing all these things you don't need to ask for help, you will get more help than you know what to do with.

if by profits you mean cash, then no - nor will you have to share in the capital investment, 12-hour shifts nor any short-term losses!  ;) but if by profits you mean information, photos, trial and errors, successes, etc. then, yes, i think we will all share in the profits.

Quote from: varasano
You are unknown on this board and come on wanting us to give you our knowledge so you start a business and yet you won't tell us who you are or where you are.  Umm.... something sound fishy to me. Jeff

jeff - my intention was not to ask members for their knowledge or for any tightly held secrets, but to ask them (especially those that have spent a great deal of time perfecting "clone" or "reverse-engineering" recipes) if they would be interested in seeing how their techinques might turn out in a commercial application - if they would be at all interested in a collective process that would include photos of their much discussed recipes at work in a commercial environment. in short, to see if some members might be interested in seeing how these openly discussed recipes perform in high-temp wood burning ovens. i thought such a process might provide a great training excercise for me and my staff and would at the same time might hopefully provide the forum with some interesting information.

Quote from: david
I think that you may find more feedback from Professional Restaurant operators on the PMQ website, though what they know about Neapolitan is debatable?

i have spent a great deal of time at pmq - a fantastic forum and invaluable website for those in the industry. but i did not find the same passion for neapolitan pizza there that i do here.

Quote from: abatardi
just want to try my dough in a proper oven... but do I have to drive up to Novato?  :-)

novato? wouldn't healdsburg/windsor be a better bet?  :) btw, are the niners going to move to your neck of the woods?

--------------------------------------------

and to those that pmed, responses are on the way!


Offline shango

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Re: Let's Open A Commercial Neapolitan-Style Pizzeria Together...
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2007, 01:00:09 PM »
give me money and I will give you ideas and info..... >:D
pizza, pizza, pizza


Offline SLICEofSLOMON

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Re: Let's Open A Commercial Neapolitan-Style Pizzeria Together...
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2007, 01:47:07 PM »
Hi,

Actually, I have an Earthstone oven, both in my home and at my place.  :chef:

While I think that you can gain a lot of knowledge on this site, perhaps too much. >:D  If you have hired a consultant and an experienced pizzaiolo, why would you want to dilute what they bring to your operation by adding bits and pieces of information you are getting from this site. As someone who's been a consultant on many such projects, I would not be too happy to deal with a client who couldn't make up his mind. If you hired these people to begin with, they must have had good qualifications. Are you not happy with their results? Perhaps they are not giving you the pizza you really want.

Not that there isn't a wealth of information here, but when you hire professionals, you do so for a reason. I know that you are probably just trying to get the best recipe for the best pizza, but in bringing too many variables to the table, you end up creating confusion and possibly animosity from your professionals. The best way to proceed is to decide exactly what style and type of pizza you want to recreate. This is best served by places and pizzas that you've actually tried and that the people working for you can tangibly try. Once you are all on the same page as to what it is that you are looking for, they should be able to give you those results.

Since you are a novice at this, take the opportunity to learn as much as you can from the professionals whom you've hired. You can always tweak the recipe any which way you want once you actually know what you are doing--and what your patrons like.

Evelyne


Offline abatardi

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Re: Let's Open A Commercial Neapolitan-Style Pizzeria Together...
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2007, 10:24:55 PM »
novato? wouldn't healdsburg/windsor be a better bet?  :) btw, are the niners going to move to your neck of the woods?

Noooo, that's even further!  :-)

Yeah I think they are coming down here in the next few years... I hope so anyway. 

- aba
Make me a bicycle CLOWN!

Offline Peteg

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Re: Let's Open A Commercial Neapolitan-Style Pizzeria Together...
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2007, 11:16:39 PM »
aeneas1,
            Welcome to the forum.  What type of pizza are you trying to produce?  Obviously it's a Neapolitan but what about crust texture and thickness.  Also, what Mozzarella will you be using? And tomatoes?  If you are shooting for A16 quality that shouldn't be too difficult.  The pizza there is good but I have since found better pizza at other lesser known pizzeria's.  In any case, good luck and I look forward to seeing your pizzeria progress.   Peteg

Offline abatardi

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Re: Let's Open A Commercial Neapolitan-Style Pizzeria Together...
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2007, 03:31:05 PM »
Are you still proceeding with this?  How is it coming along?

- aba
Make me a bicycle CLOWN!