Dublin Pizza Company plans to open this week on Aungier Street, with a kitchen hatch that opens straight out onto the street.
Think market stall, said founder Michael Ryan on Friday early evening, as the team chopped up toppings and sprinkled basil and waited for the temperature in the giant wood-fired oven to climb to around 460 degrees Celsius.
“I really like that interactive element of it. You’re eating with your eyes, before you even get the pizza in front of you,” he said.
In pots along the counter there are fresh basil leaves, balls of mozzarella, olive oils and a few tomatoes, and a scent of wild mushrooms.
Ryan, who has spent the last couple of years running events, says he wants to combine the best of Italian cookery with the finest of Irish produce. If they can get it close to home, they have, he says.
“The concept of Italian cookery is about taking everything that’s around you and using that produce that is around you. What I’ve been trying to do here is use Italian-style cooking techniques but use the produce that is around us,” said Ryan.
So the tomatoes are Italian but most of the produce is Irish, he says. They’ve got a garden in Stoneybatter with polytunnels where they’re growing as many vegetables as possible which will be used, in particular, in the weekly specials.
The salami is cured for them in Teeling whiskey by a guy down in Kerry, and they’ll use a rotating feast of cheeses. “It’s going to be like a tour of Ireland in terms of dairy,” he said.
On Friday evening, the team were handing out fresh, free pizzas to passersby – a smart way to spread the word.
Chef Marek Przekwas said they were still experimenting to make sure the recipes are fine-tuned.
It took roughly a minute for Przekwas to shovel a pizza into a scorching wood-fire oven and bring it out again.
When it exited the oven, the dough was puffy and scorched and the marinara sauce was bright red, flavoursome, and soupy. It tasted fresh, fresh, fresh with a kick of meaty, lemony anchovies.
Ryan met chef Przekwas through a friend. Przekwas had built a pizza oven in the friend’s garden and Ryan asked to borrow it.
Together, they’ve done a lot of research into what makes the perfect Naples-style pizza. “Love and time,” says Ryan, and “you need to use an excellent flour, that’s really important.”
Next out of the oven is the pizza de resistance, and one of the more expensive that will be available.
It’s got the whiskey-cured salami, and a pungent mozzarella with a silky texture. The dough was chewy, puffed-up and light, and in-a-good-way bitter. It was far from the usual greasy, stodgeville of late-night slices.
This week, the team have been the adding the finishing touches to the store: a copper-blue sign, and some coats of paint, said Ryan.
They plan to open this coming Friday, he said, with free pizza between 5.30 pm and 8 pm. On normal days, it’ll be between €11 and €14 for a 13-inch.
And if you live within a 2.2-kilometre radius, they’ll deliver to you too by bike. “A low-carbon footprint on all of our stuff,” he said.