Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson are opening their second fast-casual version of Pizzeria Locale in West Highland on Sunday. While we were already fans of the prototype that opened in May 2013 at 550 Broadway, the guys from Frasca Food and Wine are going one better this time. In a move that's basically unprecedented, the new Locale will be grinding its own flour every day, in the store, using a heritage wheat variety that the two say will bring flavor, nutrition and life back to the art of pizza -making.
The wheat is a hard spring wheat variety called Edison grown in Oregon -- although according to Mackinnon-Patterson, the exact variety is not as important as the fact that it's not the same industrial wheat variety that been selectively bred since the 1950s to maximize starch and gluten while sacrificing flavor and nutrients. "We're using something that's not 'dead produce,'" he notes.
The wheat is stone-ground in a mill custom-made in Austria and blended with more of the wheat that been ground off-site before being turned into dough. "It's all we've been working on for ten months," adds Mackinnon-Patterson. Because of the different qualities of the new flour compared to standard commercial flour -- even Caputo flour imported from Italy, typically considered the gold standard for pizza -- new proofing methods had to be developed by Pizzeria Locale culinary director Jordan Wallace and the custom-designed oven had to be tweaked to account for the way the dough cooks. But You'll still get a pizza in under two minutes, according to Stuckey, who says that the hot pies are generally ready by the time the customer finishes paying.
"We don't treat it any different than Frasca," Stuckey says of the care they're taking even at this fast-casual concept. "We don't know fast food."
Even though the raw ingredients might be expensive, a stone-ground pizza with fresh mozzarella, a spoonful of sauce and a drizzle of olive oil will come in at $5.75 -- a buck or two more, depending on how many toppings you add. That's still comparable to most other fast-casual operations, and Stuckey says he's sure people would rather see their money go toward the food itself rather than expensive sales and marketing and poorly managed labor costs.
The new restaurant, like its Broadway sibling, is gleaming white with dark, modern furnishings. The wood-housed flour mill sits front and center behind glass, so that every guest passes it while approaching the order counter. The Broadway Locale will be getting its own mill in the next couple of months, and any future stores will also feature the new flour.
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So that's it: fast-food pizza from two guys who claim to not know much about fast food. Their idea of "great ingredients, low-cost, and fast" isn't new or groundbreaking, but treating fast food like it's coming out of the kitchen at Frasca just might be. Keep reading for more photos of the new Pizzeria Locale