The other night, as I organized to project outside, the sky took on the ominous tone of gunmetal, and my phone lit up with a caution: intense thunderstorms were coming near, flash floods and hail possibly, were searching for cover. My instincts instructed me to retreat, yet I had an appointment I could not pass over, come hell or excessive water. I’d sooner or later been granted the risk to order from Stretch Pizza, a pop-up with the aid of the chef Wylie Dufresne, tucked into Breads Bakery, simply off Union Square.
With no special system, he ferments the dough for 40-eight hours in his condo’s refrigerator and cranks the oven excessively because it will go. Perhaps this sounds like the ravings of a madwoman; maybe you’re questioning if any pizza will be well worth it. But what’s a little storm in reality? It felt surprisingly refreshing to revel in such heightened drama around something as low-stakes as pizza. I headed for the subway. When I arrived at Fourteenth Street, the typhoon had surpassed and turned into barely drizzling. A woman hawked umbrellas at the top of the station stairs with a comfortingly acquainted rhythm: “Five-greenback, five-dollar, 5-dollar!”
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From left to right: pie with asparagus, fresh mozzarella, anchovy cream, and garlic bread crumbs; pie with tomato sauce and sparkling and occasional-moisture mozzarella; pie with sliced potato, caramelized onion, sparkling mozzarella, roasted garlic cream, and capers. Early within the pandemic, Dufresne—who made his name with wd-50, his lightheartedly avant-garde Lower East Side restaurant, and who, in current years, had turned his abilities to doughnuts—observed a forgotten pizza oven in his basement. He geeked out on it; 12 months later, he decided to percentage his R. & D. With the sector.
Dufresne’s crust, made from dough flecked with whole wheat and bloodless-fermented for seventy-two hours, is substantially tangy and satisfyingly chewy beneath its crackly outside. It makes a remarkable base for every one of the four pies (plus one calzone) available, consisting of the Classic New York, with tomato sauce and shredded low-moisture mozzarella, and my favored: the Everything, topped with cream cheese, poppy, and sesame seeds, dried garlic, and salt, and completed with clean chives—a toasted bagel with melty schmear, in pizza form.
The image might also comprise Human Person Clothing Apparel, Wood Helmets, and Hardhat. “Upstairs” refers to Kay’s fifth-floor condo, which he shares with some other chef.
Still, I can’t precisely advocate the byzantine method it takes to achieve Dufresne’s pies, climate notwithstanding. Tuesday via Thursday nights, Stretch offers a constrained variety of reservation-only time slots for pickup, which sell rapidly. Nothing, including me, came off to the net waitlist for diverse dates. When, after weeks of randomly checking the Web web page, I finally snatched up an opening, I needed to both preorder and prepay days earlier.
The month earlier, once I’d made it off the tons friendlier rolling waitlisting for Pies Upstairs—a similar if the scrappier operation that, frankly, I’d forgotten I’d signed up for—it felt greater like triumphing the lottery. “Upstairs” refers to the fifth-floor Crown Heights condominium of David Kay, a former Gramercy Tavern chef who started his home pizza commercial enterprise in January. If you can’t make it while your variety is up, he’ll offer you all over again.
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Hundreds of pizzas into the pop-up, Kay is running through a list of people expecting masses greater. Kay produces simply twelve ten-inch pies a night, at a maximum of per purchaser, two times per week, and also sells his very own cream soda (seasoned with vanilla and cocoa nibs) and cookies from Best Damn Cookies, the pandemic project of some other chef, who happens to be Kay’s roommate. My pizzas—one purple, with mozzarella, soppressata, and pickled peppers.
With mozzarella, caramelized onion, thinly sliced potatoes, roasted garlic cream, and capers, each bearing fantastically bubbled crusts, the other white had been wonderful, the cream soda and cookies (darkish-chocolate chew, made with brown butter and coconut sugar) every a controversy for its form. Ushered knowingly closer to the elevator through a man ingesting nachos inside the lobby, it felt like a rite of passage.
In May 2020, Gabriele Lamonaca, a local of Rome who lives in Harlem, began bartering homemade square pizzas—along with his signature Burrapizza, for which every slice is topped with a whole ball of burrata—through Instagram. He met strangers on road corners for a year, swapping for whatever, from caviar to guitar instructions. Last month, he opened Unregular Pizza, a slice no longer a ways from Bread. Accepted soft is, in general, traditional. However, you may upload to the list for his alternate daily. (Stretch pizzas $19. Pies Upstairs pizzas are $thirteen-$16. Unregular Pizza slices $four.50-$12.) ♦