One of the aspects of sustainable living is: If one has to eat out at least patronize a locally owned restaurant. A restaurant that bought many of its menu items locally, would be great; one that acted in a socially and ecological responsible manner would be a home run. The economic and social impact of such a decision is seldom thought thru. Not only would the salaries of its employees return to the community but the cost of ingredients and services of local merchants, farmers, etc. I’m sure a good percentage of the profits would too. A locally owned business tends to waste less and recycle more.
I don’t eat out much if at all. I had a dilemma. I had to find a place to meet a prospective date for the first time. Rise up coffee fit most of the criteria but lacked ambiance and forget the view. I enlisted the help of several friends, without hesitation most said meet them at NY Pizzeria. The first time I said I can’t ask her to meet me in NY., No DePietro’s on Milford St. I then told them of my first (and last) experience with eastern shore pizza 40 yrs ago. I was on leave from ‘Nam and walked into a “Italian” pizza - sub joint and ordered a small pie. I was aghast when I looked in the kitchen and saw big mama rolling out the dough with a rolling pin put some insipid sauce from a can on it and topped it with American cheese. I was almost on the next bus to NY. I never tried pizza in Md. again and in fact I'm in the process of rebuilding my wood fired bread oven to make my own pizza ( video of how to build an clay oven in my videos). My friends all said trust us you have to try “the boyze” (NY Pizzeria).
One rainy day last week I found my self near Milford St. and decided to give them a try. It was mid-afternoon after the lunch rush the place was clean and appealing. I was immediately greeted “hi if you don’t see what you want just ask”. I was about to do an about face and run when I saw crab meat topped pizza, then I spied the huge slices of plain pizza, Thin crust just enough cheese and sauce, I’ll have a slice no make it two. In a few minutes it was out of the oven, served up on a tin plate (no paper waste). I sat down and did the classic fold and flip and bite. I was immediately transported to Brooklyn NY. 1955 to my neighborhood pizza shop. A plaster statue of the pizza maker in apron and chef hat holding a bubbling pizza sat in the window. A neon sign pizza 15c a slice hung above the statue. In the corner of the shop a partition with a small opening that served as a counter. The shop opened at 3pm and closed at 10pm or when they ran out of dough. I think the oven was fired with coal or coke. Behind the counter was a pan with a pizza cut in uneven slices if you were a good kid you got a big slice the “stunads” got a small one. Poetry in motion –pat pat slap slap a puff of flour slap slap slap back and forth from hand to hand dough floating in air then two fists moving the dough round and round then one, two maybe three flips in the air a flick of farina on the peel then the dough a perfect round a ladle of home made sauce a two handed grab of cheese falling through his fingers a flick of secret herbs a sprinkle of olive oil from a long spout can, a tap on the counter weight the oven door opened a quick jerk of the peel and the pie was in the oven turn one pie take out another tap and the oven door closed. Tony slid the pie on the cutting pan a sized up the waiting group of kids zip zip 15c off you go no toppings no soda no plate pizza 15c a slice. Then pat pat pat all over again. We walked out the door folding and flipping and blowing hoping not to burn the roof of our mouth which most of the time we did because we couldn’t wait.
The sharp stinging pain to the roof of my mouth brought me back to Milford St. I hadn’t learned much in 50 plus years but it was worth it. I finished the two slices and I was in heaven. I found myself back at DePietro’s the next day. Mom had an unexpected trip to the doctors. I told her I would take her for Pizza on the way home. We were lucky Brad had a Sicilian pie ready so we tried it (mom’s favorite) and it was one of the best we’ve had, moist yet crisp. I was hooked I found my self back again the next day for take out, a Philly cheese steak (I went to school in Philly) a calzone and a Stromboli. All were excellent you couldn’t get better on market St. or at the San Genero feast.
I had to find out more. I introduced myself to Paul and Brad of DePietro’s and we talked for a while. And it became perfectly clear. The farmers at the Salisbury market said they often sold their best produce to DePietro’s and Paul (owner) told me it was a win win situation the farmer gets a fair price he gets fresh produce and his customers get great taste and quality. Not only that it is safer It’s handled by less people usually the farmer to the cook, travels a few miles instead of thousands and most likely is grown organicly or sustainably. He showed me some dried parsley “look how green it is look how big the flakes are” it was picked and dried yesterday and it was grown about two miles away. If I were to buy it from sysco who knows where it was grown and how long it sat around and the quality can’t compare. Some of the vegetable varieties I can’t even get from the big suppliers and those that I can get I have to order in to large a quantity. Small business and small farmer work hand and hand they supply me with the quantities I need and my customers get a variety of fresh, healthy and tasty foods. My customers are happy and keep coming back—you did.
I talked to some of my friends and they said yes the “boyze” walk the talk. Even though there was some talk that the reason for their success was that they trucked in water from NY to make their pizza dough. I think not, their as local as they can get. I think they are successful because they care about the color of the parsley on their pizza.
So when you are eating your salad at NY Pizzeria it may have been picked yesterday or even that morning it traveled a few miles instead of thousands and the few dollars you spend may come back to your business or the one you work for. You see sustainability is more then compost and no spray.