In Seattle, where there’s wood, there’s fire. Wood fired pizza, to be exact. The wood fired pizza scene scorches a wide swath through the Jet City, fueled in part by a raft of local craft breweries, artisan cider houses, and boutique wineries.
From funky Georgetown to hip Capitol Hill, upscale University Village to suburban Woodinville, Seattle foodies feed their cravings at a bevy of Vesuvian-inspired venues.
While not all Seattle wood fired pizza makers belong to Verace Pizza Napolitana (VPN), the American Delegation of the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, most respect its tenets. The international organization, a non-profit founded by a band of Neapolitan pizza makers eager to cultivate their 300-year old art of pizza making, was officially established by the Italian government in 1984 as a Denomination of Control (DOC). Legally, the association provides designations to those pizzerias that follow the strict requirements and traditions of this culinary art.
Requirements include specifications about the type of oven used, baking temperatures, length of baking time, type of flour used, and other ingredients. While ingredients and preparation methods may vary at Seattle’s wood fired pizza venues, dedication to delivering diabolically delicious pies does not.
Here, some of Seattle’s hottest wood fired pizza artisans dish on secrets to their smoldering success.
Via Tribunali | Capitol Hill | Georgetown | Queen Anne | Fremont
Part urban myth, part cult following, Via Tribunali flies its Verace Pizza Neapolitan designation flag fiercely. The first of its pizzerias started on Capitol Hill in 2004, with others to follow in Georgetown, Queen Anne, and Fremont.
Legends about that first pizzeria still abound, including stone masons from Naples hired to build the oven, bricks sourced from the ash of Mt. Vesuvius, and an authentic Neapolitan pizzaioli snatched from his native homeland to choreograph Via Tribunali’s ongoing culinary live performance.
The menu rotates seasonally to allow for the freshest of ingredients, offerings that also include antipasti, pastas, calzones, and desserts. A house favorite: the Via Tribunali, featuring provolo, ricotta, spinach, rapini, sausage, cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, grana padano.
Elemental Pizza | University District
Elemental Pizza derives its name from the ‘elements’ needed for the right ‘chemistry’ to create a perfect pizza.
A few things make Elemental unique, including the dough, a basic recipe of flour, water, yeast and salt fermented for three to five days. Owner Steve Rosen explains that they don’t use a traditional Neapolitan crust because they like the versatility and ease using a firmer crust.
Further alchemy occurs in Elemental’s locally fabricated copper-fitted oven. The oven, designed by Woodstone and fitted by Alaska Copper and Brass, has a built-in thermometer to assist in keeping temperatures consistent at 700 degrees, crucial to maintaining their pizza’s crusty, textured perfection. Elemental further mixes things up with a variety of woods used. Elemental sometimes uses long lasting, ultra hot almond wood, but prefers using apple and red oak from local vendors. Apple wood provides a soft, medium heat and fruity flavor, while red oak provides a high heat with rich, smoky flavor.
Elemental Pizza provides gluten-free, vegan, and meat eater options, using non-traditional ingredients from specialty vendors like Ritzville’s Shepherd’s Grain Flour, nitrate-free Zoe’s Meats, and Yakima Valley’s Mama Lil’s Peppers. Elemental’s commitment to the region’s locavore movement translates to loyal repeat customers who appreciate the emphasis on quality and sustainability.
An added bonus: Elemental Pizza offers a mobile wood fired pizza unit for private catering events, as well as a forthcoming location in Tacoma.
The Brick Wood Fired Pizza | Woodinville
The Brick Wood Fired Pizza, brainchild of Elemental Hard Cider owners Brian and Christina Callahan, serves the needs of hungry Woodinville wine tasters in need of sustenance.
While Woodinville hosts a hoard of specialty pizza places, The Brick Wood Fired offers mobile service, perfect for the town’s endless stream of seasonal winery releases and special events.
The Brick seeks to recreate the same savory flavors found in pizzas from New York, a former stomping ground of the owners. Their extensive research led to importing the pizza ovens from Forno Bravo, low-gluten flour from Caputo, and alder wood from the Pacific Northwest. The Brick also offers gluten free and vegan options upon request.
Local favorite? The Brick’s Pear Indulgence, a toothsome extravagance comprised of truffle olive oil, prosciutto, pear, Gorgonzola, Parmesan, and mozzarella topped with a drizzle of golden honey.
Clearly, in Seattle, “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie...” it’s wood fired pizza pie, and it’s 'amore' at first bite.