EASTON — Rome wasn’t built in a day, according to the old adage. And, neither is the best pizza dough.
A new Roman-style pizza joint with a focus on producing premium dough and crusts has opened in downtown Easton.
Roma Alla Pala is at 2A S. West Street. The small eatery has the elegant modern feel of a formula one race car. The walls are white riveted metal and the floor is swirling marble. It feels like a Formula One grand prix racing poster from the 1970s.
The new restaurant is all takeout for now.
But really what it all comes down to is the dough.
The Easton eatery’s pizza style is called Roman alla pala, which translates to “paddle pizza.”
The three chefs in the back take three days to make their dough. When it bakes they want it to rise up and be super fluffy. This is a Bluepoint Hospitality project so it comes with that brand’s attention to detail.
Their design north star comes from Italian Formula One Racing — particularly team Ferrari. There is a racing stripe beneath the cash register.
“Roma is our latest Bluepoint project and we have a lot more down the road. It’s small but we are really excited about it. We are eventually going to have outdoor seating,” said Allie McGuckian, Bluepoint’s director of marketing.
“We really wanted to keep it clean and white and modern so the focus is on the pizza. We love how you can see through the window and watch them make the pizza,” she said.
Science and art meet in the kitchen. Scrupulous attention goes into making the perfect dough.
“The dough has four ingredients flour, water, salt and yeast. And it is special because we are fermenting it for up to 72 hours. It is all about the slow rise. It is special because it is a high hydration dough. We want it very wet, very loose. The more water the dough has, the more air it has and air pockets and structure once it is baked. This particular dough, we aren’t doing any throwing. It is all done with the finger tips on the board,” said Glen May, Bluepoint’s head baker.
The process of discovery is a labor of love. These chefs have been experimenting for the months to get the dough they want.
“It is our version of alla pala pizza made free form, with no pan. We are continuously working to perfect our craft — dialing in the ovens to the correct temperature, seasoning the stone on which the pizza is cooked- a process that typically takes upwards of three months.” Todd Linderberg, who is head chef and from Australia. “We hope you enjoy our product now, and even more a month from now, six months from now.”
“They are constantly evolving. As you do them more, you get more skill. You get a better understanding of it. Better control of the process,” said May.
One big part of making a great pizza is heat. They have worked so hard on the dough, they need the perfect tool to bake it.
“It’s the Ferrari of ovens. It is hand made in Italy. If you look at any alla pala restaurant or Roman style pizza, if they have a Castelli, you know you are going to get a good pie,” said Linderberg.
May said, “The Castelli ovens have compartments that are very narrow. So they provide really intense heat which will hopefully give us the fluffiness, airiness in the dough that we are looking for.”
There are ceramics inside that provide intense heat from the bottom. This also contributes to a quick rise of the dough from the bottom. They don’t even use the usual roller pizza cutter, which would smoosh the dough. They use industrial strength scissors.
The final product glows in the case like a trip to the Amalfi Coast. Salame Calabrese, Squash with Black Truffle, Funghi, Margherita. The abundant toppings rise off the top of the slices like a mountain chain. Slices run $5 to $6 a piece. They are rectangles not triangles. Whole pizzas range from $16 to $24.
The new eatery is open Tuesday through Sunday 11-8. You can find Roma online at www.romaeaston.com.