“Neapolitan Hospitality Far From Service”

I wanted to post this unpublished article I did with the great guys at Pizzeria Locale in Boulder, Colorado. The food is amazing and the atmosphere is so inviting. Obvious bias aside I would recommend eating at Locale if you ever end up in Boulder, CO.

When most people think of  Southern Italian cuisine they think of Naples – not Boulder. However Pizzeria Locale Boulder brings a traditional and contemporary spin to the Neapolitan pizza combined with local ingredients from Boulder.

The restaurant opened in 2011, a collaborative effort from Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson owners of Frasca Food and Wine. Frasca’s mission statement is “to be the best neighborhood restaurant in the world,” and Pizzeria Locale Boulder offers the Bobby Stuckey experience of hospitality without a four course meal.

Two years ago, Bobby Stuckey gave a TED Talk in Boulder on Hospitality, and how most restaurants offer you a service, what they do for you, but Stuckey’s philosophy is hospitalian; how you make someone feel. Locale Boulder makes the dining experience feel like you’re a guest, not simply a customer.

Growth In Business

Pizzeria Locale, a different entity partnered with Chipotle under the Frasca owners. Are a string of fast casual restaurant modeled after the flagship restaurant in Boulder. Launching seven locations across the United Stated in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and Ohio.

The experience at Pizzeria Locale Boulder differs in several aspects from the fast-casual restaurant.

Pizzeria Locale casual restaurants all use a custom gas oven with a rotational deck. Unlike the Boulder location they have an imported Stefano Ferrara wood fired oven made in Naples, all the materials came from Italy in addition to volcanic material from Mount Vesuvius. The oven heats up to 1000 degrees, cooking a pizza to a char in 16 seconds. Learning to use this oven took line chef, Oakley Crouse about a month to pick up.

Locale Boulder is a full-service restaurant, while the Pizzeria Locale’s fast-casual are an over the counter service limited to only pizza. The Locale Boulder location offers salads, small plates, and in-house meats and has a larger involvement with local purveyors.

In the summertime almost all of the the ingredients at Locale Boulder are from local Colorado farms.  In the winter they get the seasonal root vegetables from farms, but the menu also becomes more protein heavier.

Contemporary & Traditional Cuisine

Patrick Kerzetski the Chef di Cucina, has been working at Locale Boulder for five years, he started at the neighboring restaurant Fresca as a pastry chef. Now, he’s the head chef at Locale Boulder, working with a staff of 12, creating the menu at Locale, and making sure the food stays to its highest standards.

“We try to really replicate everything in the most authentic yet contemporary fashion we can,” he said. Italian cooking is rooted in authenticity but Locale Boulder makes an effort to stay ahead of the curve in contemporary cooking.

Within the last couple years at Locale, they’ve switched from the traditional dough making method in Naples to a 48-hour cold ferment process. Fermenting the dough for two days leads to a deeper malty, roasty flavor in the dough. In the winter Locale embraces seafood on their pizzas, in the past they served a clam pizza with andouille sausage. “This year we are going to do mussels, we played around with the ideas of octopus, tilapia, bacala is a traditional salted cod, so that’ll be on a pizza this year,” Kerzetski said.

In addition to innovating Italian cuisine, Locale Boulder plays a part in the the Boulder community. Early October, they hosted a guest pizzaiolo night, three times a year they bring in a pizza icon and let them take over the kitchen, replicate their menu and dough. Recently, they had Arizona pizza icon Chris Bianco run the kitchen. “It’s one to keep it light and lively for our regulars, [and two] it’s fun to come in to something different, and it opens up the scope to what’s out there,”  Kerzetski said.

In mid-October Locale partnered with Conscious Alliance, a nonprofit organization that supports communities through hunger relief and youth empowerment, and other local restaurants to raise money.

In March Frasca founders are planning on opening up a new rustic Italian restaurant in Denver called Tavernetta. It will be focused on classic Italian pastas and dishes, unfortunately pizza won’t be on the menu.