The Brunettis aren’t making New York-style pizza. And customers won’t be able to get gooey, by-the-slice pizzas at their joint.
No, the father and son chefs are making authentic Neapolitan pizza—the way they say Italians have been doing it for hundreds of years. They even had a brick wood-burning brick oven made in Italy shipped to their new storefront in Westhampton Beach for the baking.
“We wanted to do something original, authentic,” said Michael Brunetti, who also owns Brunetti Hair and Beauty on Main Street in Westhampton Beach.
Mr. Brunetti and his son, Jason, are opening up Pizzetteria Brunetti this Memorial Day weekend and will soon be serving Neapolitan-style pizza. The shop is located on Main Street, between Sydney’s “Taylor Made” Cuisine and Häagen-Dazs.
Ingredients and how Neapolitan pizza is made will set Pizzetteria Brunetti apart from other area pizza shops, the elder Mr. Brunetti said. The flour is imported from Italy, and the dough ferments for 16 to 18 hours. The sauce is also imported from Italy, and Mr. Brunetti said they will use only authentic, fresh and local ingredients. Overall, the pies will have a lighter, fresher taste.
“These are the best ingredients,” he said.
The pizza, which will be made to order and cost between $10 and $25 each, will be baked at 800 degrees Fahrenheit, for just 90 seconds. Unlike other pizzerias that usually have gas-fired ovens, the oven at Pizzetteria Brunetti is heated with burning wood. The pizza cooks right next to the flames and, for the finishing touch, it is flashed right into the flame, the younger Mr. Brunetti said.
The Brunettis also burn grapevines in their oven, “the same way Italians [have] for hundreds of years,” Mr. Brunetti said. The vines are donated from Sherwood House Vineyards in Mattituck.
In Italy, the government regulates the labels on food, the elder Mr. Brunetti said, much the same way wine terminology is regulated. “You can’t just have sparkling wine and call it champagne,” he said, explaining that international rules mostly restrict the term to sparkling wines produced in the Champagne region of France. It’s the same concept with pizza, from the dough to the sauce to the cheese to the way it is cooked—“If you want to have this kind of style of pizza, you have to have this kind of oven,” Mr. Brunetti said.
The Brunettis bought an Acunto oven from Naples. It took about two months to ship it over from Italy—it traveled oversees by boat to a New Jersey port, then the Brunettis rented a flatbed truck to get the 5,000-pound oven to Westhampton Beach. To install it, they hired a home moving company, used a forklift and removed three walls from their pizza parlor.
“It’s like a car,” the younger Mr. Brunetti said of the oven.
He and his father have talked about opening up a business together for a while, but they couldn’t think of a venture. Then, the elder Mr. Brunetti read an article in GQ Magazine in which the writer was on a quest for America’s best pizza pie and mentioned Neapolitan-style pizza.
“He went absolutely crazy,” the younger Mr. Brunetti said of his father. “The light bulb just went off.”
The elder Mr. Brunetti then went to Motorino Pizza in New York City, “and that was it,” the younger Mr. Brunetti said. His father ended up interning there to learn how to make Neapolitan-style pizza, and later went to pizza school in San Francisco. The younger Brunetti, meanwhile, learned how to make Neapolitan pizza at Wood Fired Pizza in Tampa, Florida, where he was living before he moved back here to open the business.
The younger Mr. Brunetti said Pizzetteria Brunetti might stay open year-round, but they will see how people respond this summer. At least for this season, the Brunettis will be serving regular 12-inch pies or smaller 8-inch personal pizzas. The pizzas will cost between $10 and $25 each. Customers can order a cheese pizza, a margherita pizza with tomato, mozzarella and basil, or a pizza with clams, among other toppings.
The elder Mr. Brunetti, who noted that his family hails from Naples, is excited about his new business venture and eager to start cooking.
“Come and eat,” he said.