Artisanal Pizzas: Baltimore’s Newest Trend in Menus

| April 24, 2013 | 0 Comments

From MacKenzie Real Estate’s Services, MacKenzie’s Restaurant Quarterly:

Artisanal Pizzas: Baltimore’s Newest Trend in Menus

Baltimore’s love for Italian food is nothing new, especially pizza. Pizza has been available in Baltimore since the early 1900’s. Transforming in shape, size, and style over the last century, pizza eventually became a staple of casual dining and eating on the run. Up until the last ten years, or so, this casual view of pizza was common throughout Baltimore. Today, pizza has become a form of art for many area restaurateurs, turning it into a specialty product, now referred to as “artisanal pizza.”

In 2005, Joe Edwardsen opened Joe Square Pizza on North Avenue, near Baltimore’s Penn Station. This was where many of Baltimore’s early examples of artisanal pizzas were born. Joe took the historic approach of Neapolitan-style pizza, which resembles a flat bread, and combined it with ingredients such as lamb, corn, and apples. Joe’s artisanal creations were an immediate success among the community, which influenced several other restaurateurs to hop aboard. Joe’s menu today features over 20 different types of artisanal pies, many of which include unfamiliar ingredients that make the meal unique and tasty.

In recent years, Baltimore has experienced a proliferation of artisanal pizza concepts. One very popular contender in today’s market is Birroteca, located in the Woodberry neighborhood. Co-owner Robin Haas has introduced the artisanal approach to all facets of his menu, with such items as a specialty pizza with the duck egg and fig-onion toppings, shaved snail and truffle pasta, and custom made cocktails. In Canton, Verde Pizza offers a unique selection of artisanal pizzas, focusing heavily on the freshness of its ingredients. This dedication to freshness and authenticity can be tasted in the Pizza Verde Rossa, with specialty ingredients such as imported buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto di parma, arugula, and pecorino romano. Other notable additions to the artisanal pizza scene within the past few years are Hersh’s Pizza and Drinks in Federal Hill, Johnny Rad’s Pizzeria Tavern in Upper Fells Point, Chazz in Harbor East, and Earth Wood and Fire in Mt. Washington. While not new to the pizza scene, Iggies Pizza, a Mount Vernon institution, is well worth noting. Iggies was recently named Zagat’s 2012 Best Pizza in the Baltimore Metropolitan area.

For the time being, the future of artisanal pizza in Baltimore seems bright. Several new pizza establishments are in the construction or design phase. One highly anticipated opening among pizza enthusiasts is Paul Giannone’s Paulie Gee’s Hampden, which is scheduled for a summer 2013 opening, located within the former Republican Club, near the corner of 36th Street and Chestnut Avenue, in Hampden. Highlighting the art of pizza making, the design of Paulie Gee’s Hampden calls for two large wood-fired pizza ovens to be the focal point of the restaurant.

A commonality among these featured artisanal pizza establishments is that they are unique to the Baltimore area. The charm and quality that comes from a locally owned business is evident in each of these restaurants.

– Henry Deford

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Filed in: Dining, SBNA