Pizza originated some 600 years ago in Napoli, Italy, and it’s cooked the same way at Onlywood Tratoria in Old Town.
“Our oven was forged in Italy and reaches 1,000 degrees when most wood fire ovens get to only 600. It must be that hot to make pizza how it was originally perfected,” said co-owner and chef Alessandro Piazzo.
Piazzo and his business partner Davide Cremascoli have been friends since they were five-years old, eating homemade Italian food at each other’s homes in Northern Italy.
“Some of the cheese and the wheat for the dough come from Italy. Everything is either made here in the restaurant or in Italy,” said Cremascoli.
The fresh ingredients pop vividly and individually in the authentic pizza. Fresh mozzarella made by Piazzo, imported prosciutto, basil grown locally and succulent sauce that is neither too sweet nor savory meld perfectly. This attention to detail, and the duo’s Manhattan resumés, earned them a spread in the New York Times last year.
Wood fire pizza is not the only item on the menu. Cremascoli boasts of the restaurant’s homemade gnocchi, lasagna, pastas, fettuccini and ravioli — all made on-site in true Italian fashion. It also makes entrees featuring steak and seafood. Some of the more glamorous dishes are listed on the specials menu and harken back to the homeland.
“Today we have the chicken liver as a special. It gives people a chance to try something new or enjoy a dish they can’t find anywhere on the island,” said Cremascoli. “In Italy, regional cuisine is very strong. Every 100 miles there are different foods and a completely different style of cooking.”
The kitchen is customized for the chef’s native land of Bologna, where they have a different set-up then Rome and so forth. Piazzo describes the cooking style as “old school” and Cremascoli emphasizes the importance of cuisine is in his culture.
“In Italy, good food and wine are the most important things. Cooking is an art form and people hold it with great respect,” he said.
Desserts are made from scratch and a favorite among patrons as well. Ricotta cheese cake, tiramisu and chocolate tartufo are delicate desserts Piazzo has perfected over the years.
Accompanying the gourmet cuisine is the drink menu consisting of numerous Italian wines and beers (with a few California wines on the menu). Also homemade mozzarella can be purchased at the restaurant at 613 ½ Duval St. Visit the website at onlywoodkw.com for more details.