What is “bar pizza”? (Or “bar pies” or “tavern pizza” or “pub pies” or what have you)

A Margot's Pizza bar-style pizza
A plain bar pizza from the second round of testing for the Margot’s Pizza pop-up.

Good question, and there are as many answers to it as there are bars serving pizza. Which is to say, it’s somewhat fluid. The South Shore of Massachusetts may have the greatest density of this style than any other region, but it’s a genre that appears in other states as well, if in slightly different form.

To my mind, most bar or tavern pies I’m familiar with and love are:

  • Very thin crusted
  • Decidedly crisp
  • Well-done but not to the point of being burned
  • Large enough to share but small enough you could house one yourself

But that’s the physicality of the bar pizza. There is also a communal and spiritual aspect to this style of pizza. The best bar pizza joints are beloved gathering spots that bring together generations and social classes. Continue reading “What is “bar pizza”? (Or “bar pies” or “tavern pizza” or “pub pies” or what have you)”

Weekly Pizza Lunch: Vezzo and Tappo

I’m combining two Weekly Pizza Lunch outings into one here. That’s because they’re practically the same place. —The Mgmt.

Vezzo Meatball Classic Pizza
Vezzo’s Meatball Classic pizza: tomato sauce, mozzarella, house-made meatballs, red onion, and basil. Pictured: small, $9.

There’s a pizzeria mini chain in the heart of Manhattan that I think doesn’t get enough attention or praise.* Part of the blame may lie in its unusual naming convention. I mean, did you know that the pizzerias Gruppo, Posto, Spunto, Vezzo, and Tappo are all related and are pretty much the same thing? I know! You’d think they would have settled on one name and stuck with it. (Think of the efficiencies gained by maintaining one single website!)

Then again, avoiding the appearance of a chain has a certain advantage as well. Continue reading “Weekly Pizza Lunch: Vezzo and Tappo”

Weekly Pizza Lunch: The Calabrese pie at Nicoletta

Nicoletta's Calabrese pizza
Nicoletta’s Calabrese pizza, here in the personal-size lunch special, is topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, thick-cut pepperoni, fennel sausage, and red onions.

I’ve been thinking a lot about bar pies since last week’s pizza lunch. Bar pizza, and its close cousin, Chicago thin crust,* to me are primally satisfying pizzas. Despite the thin base, these styles are often LOADED with cheese and toppings. Now, that kind of imbalance would typically raise alarm bells for my elevated pizza snob persona, but go and tell me what’s wrong with a bunch of gooey cheese and salty, greasy pepperoni or sausage.

That’s why I wanted to try Nicoletta again. Chef-owner Michael White is originally from Wisconsin, where he first started working in a pizzeria serving quintessentially Midwestern-style pizza.

*Note: I often use the terms “Chicago thin-crust” and “Midwestern thin-crust” interchangeably. Chicago thin-crust is easily more recognizable as a style, but I feel that this type of pizza is served all over the Upper Midwest, not just the Windy City. Continue reading “Weekly Pizza Lunch: The Calabrese pie at Nicoletta”

Bar pies: my first two attempts

bar pizza
A 75% hydration bar pie, baked March 26.

I had lunch last week with someone who inspired me to work on a recipe for bar pizza. To that end, I’ve made it twice in the last four days, on Sunday and again Tuesday night (above).

The best bar pizza I’ve had has been from Colony Grill (my favorite) and Star Tavern (a close second). Since I have a purported recipe for Star Tavern pizza, though, that’s what I went with as a target. (The truth is I haven’t had Star or Colony often enough or recent enough to accurately compare and judge whether my aim is true. That said, I’m not so much concerned with accurately replicating them than with making something in the bar vein that tastes amazing. That is my goal.) Continue reading “Bar pies: my first two attempts”