First Look: Pizza Settecento, a new mobile pizzeria
Spadina and King is crowded with foot traffic at lunchtime, so it’s no surprise that a wood-burning pizza oven set up on the corner, on Fresh and Wild’s patio, draws stares.
“People are shocked to see a real wood fire,” says Joe Belviso, the owner of Pizza Settecento, a catering company and mobile pizzeria. Belviso and his team — including pizzaiolo Franco Berti — have been catering events all summer. The lunches at Fresh and Wild, which take place every Tuesday, started in August.
Using a Forno Bravo kit, Belviso built the oven himself, insulating it and covering it with decorative, river-rock tiles. The 1,500-pound oven is set up on a metal cart so that it can be wheeled around. The apparatus is loaded on and off a trailer using a winch.
Settecento is Italian for 700, which refers to the oven’s temperature when the maple and oak fire is at full roar. That means pizzas go from topped dough to blistered, slightly-charred, finished product in about a minute and a half.
The menu may expand in the future, but for now it’s a tight selection of three classic Neapolitan-style options that all depend on fresh, by-the-book ingredients (such as 00 flour and San Marzano tomatoes).
The Margherita ($11) has the familiar trio of freshly-made tomato sauce, fior di latte and whole basil leaves that pick up a subtle, roasted singe in the oven. As autumn has taken over from summer, the Veggie ($12) has passed to mushrooms, red peppers and olives from the warm-weather arugula and cherry tomatoes.
Belviso says his best seller is the Salami Pie ($13), which features slightly spicy sopressata. All pizzas are hand-stretched to be roughly between 11 and 12 inches in diameter.
He moves his mobile oven to the downtown corner every Tuesday, weather permitting, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and will be there into November, when he expects the weather to shut things down. Last Friday, Pizza Settecento was one of the vendors that participated in Food Trucks for Sinai, an event to raise funds for the hospital.
At Fresh and Wild, a passerby, maybe with more knowledge than usual about how wood ovens are insulated, pats the oven's dome with his palm. He looks impressed.
Lucky for him, Belviso did a thorough job on the construction.
Image: Pizza Settecento