When a longtime Seattle chef-celeb like Tom Douglas opens a pizzeria, you expect the place to garner lots of early buzz. But why is Delancey — the Brooklyn-styled pizzeria dreamed up by 27-year-old Brandon Pettit — getting so much juice when Ballard’s already got umpteen pizza parlors?
Maybe it’s because the cook and former music-teacher has been offering us the blow-by-blow of his buildout via his Twitter page, keeping us in-the-know when he installs beer taps and bar-tops, scavenges at Goodwill and suffers the agony of the “economic anti-stimulous package” — his description of the inevitable permitting and inspection delays. Perhaps Delancey’s hot before it’s even hot because it sits right next door to Seattle’s latest red-hot bakeshop, Honore Artisan Bakery . There, the neighborhood is closely watching Brandon’s every move, and not infrequently joining him for pain au chocolat.
Or maybe it’s just because he’s as earnest as he is adorable.
Cleft chin, curly hair, makes a mean pizza using great products, or so I hear.
Don’t miss the pain au chocolat, says Brandon. Me? I’d pray for a blueberry-mascarpone Danish.
Of course it doesn’t hurt that Ballard’s newest pizza-guy is married to the equally adorable Molly Wizenberg, a Bon Appetit columnist whose food blog, Orangette, has chronicled the rise of Delancey. Orangette has also spawned the best-selling memoir “A Homemade Life“– currently the third-most-requested nonfiction book at the King County Library. Her book details how the couple met (via her blog), fell in love (before they even laid eyes on each other) and later married (after he made the move from NYC). Check out this one-minute video, where they live up to Molly’s book title by offering hints for making homemade pizza.
But I’d like to think the reason Delancey’s generating so much heat is because Brandon is hoping to do something few if any Seattle-area pizzerias have been able to do: recreate the flavors and textures of thin-crusted New York-style pizza right here in his wood-fired oven.
Fueling the fire at Delancey this morning — for testing purposes only.
As I write, Brandon’s hanging in Ballard with Seattle Times contributor and author of “Hungry Monkey,” Matthew Amster-Burton. “We’re going to experiment with cheeses,” Brandon explained, noting that he’s tapping his pal’s palate and taste-memory to help him recreate the mix of cheeses at Di Fara PIzza in Brooklyn. “I’m using fresh mozzarella, block mozzarella and aged Grana — which isn’t quite as nutty as Reggiano,” Brandon says. They’ll also be dealing with the sausage slices vs. crumbled-sausage and whole-leaf basil vs. chiffonade conundrum.
Meanwhile, the latest in a long line of expected opening dates is early August — give or take. But given that the opening’s been delayed several months already, Brandon suggests we play it safe and note that Delancey’s opening “soon.”