Pizzeria Beddia: In Pursuit of Pizza
“Two hours to pizza!”, I happily exclaimed when I passed my friend on Locust yesterday afternoon.
Wrong, it was actually 6 hours to pizza. We had been planning our outing to Pizzeria Beddia in Fishtown for a week, making sure that we could get there at 5:30 when it opens so as to snag one of the 40 precious pies pizzaiolo Joe Beddia makes every night he’s open.
Getting to the tiny pizzeria was an adventure in itself. We had never been to Fishtown, so following my terrible map-reading skills and always incorrect gut feelings in the five-o-clock darkness, we went the wrong direction for a bit, then turned back and finally stumbled upon the place.
Beddia has been referred to as the “Jiro of pizza” and even “pizza Jesus” because of his zen-like dedication to making the same product, the same way, all by himself. The dough alone is worthy of a visit, taking Beddia half his day to make and resulting in a crispy and chewy crust with a flavor that only results from proper flavor development and patience. The tomato sauce is made from New Jersey tomatoes, sea salt and garlic. It’s simple and bright, and reminds me of my mom’s tomato sauce, which I love.
The menu is short, with three options for basic pies and then topping options if you want to customize your order. Beddia sources his ingredients locally and only uses the highest quality he can find. When you’re doing something as simple as pizza, ingredients really count. We were feeling daring and ordered a pizza “arrabbiata”, meaning angry (or in this case, spicy), topped with arugula because a couple leaves always help the cheese go down.
After we placed our order, which happened after standing in a line for 20 minutes, we were told to return at 9:10 for our pizza, a full THREE HOURS after we ordered. But we were not fazed by the wait time, for we’d heard that this was supposed to be the best pizza in the US, according to this awesome article written by Bon Appetit. It makes sense that the wait was so long, after all, Beddia works alone and makes each pizza by hand, one at a time, so you know you will be getting a perfectly made product, and that’s worth waiting for in my book.
So, how was the pizza? While I thought it had a smidge too much cheese and may have been a little too spicy (my own damn fault for ordering spicy pizza, I know), there was no denying it was a special pizza. The level of attention that went into making it, alongside the anticipation and hunger built up by the wait and the knowledge that it was one of only 40 pizzas made that night combined with the excellent pizza made it something more than just dough and cheese and sauce. It was delicious and we scarfed down the whole thing, slice by slice, as our cheeks were happily smeared with pizza grease.
10/10 would recommend.
PC: Richard Stark