When business duo Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Patterson brought their Boulder-born Pizzeria Locale to Denver, the concept was basically reborn. Gone was the table service, the hostess, and the large wine list to which guests at the original Boulder location were accustomed. A unique fast-casual concept, baked in collaboration with Chipotle, was implemented. It came with a fancy custom oven, a special dough room, and a streamlined way of ordering that allowed guests interaction with their pizzaiolo.
With a second Denver location just days away in the Highland Square, Locale is set to change the flour game. The pizzeria is introducing a new dough recipe, the first of its kind in a fast-casual restaurant. The uniqueness stems from the flour, which is made from a variety of hard white spring wheat and stone-ground partially in-house. Flour, combined with water, salt, and starter, is then slow-fermented to result in a flavorful and nutritious dough.
"I'm super psyched to be doing this," says chef Lachlan Patterson. "Why? Because it's a really, really big deal. I think it's the biggest deal to happen in ingredients and food in a long, long time," he adds.
Restaurants like Pizzeria Locale and Frasca, which Patterson and Stuckey own, seek the best and freshest ingredients to use in their dishes. With local farms and specialty food purveyors, they succeed a lot of the time. Finding a more nutritious, more flavorful flour, however, has been a challenge. "As chefs, we spend all this time trying to find ingredients. We always ask: Where's the best balsamic? Where's the best fish? Where's the best meat? Where are the best vegetables? All that. And we're all stuck using the same bullshit when it comes to wheat," Patterson says.
Industrial commercial flour, commonplace in most bakeries and restaurants big and small, is roller milled, ground, and sifted multiple times. It is oftentimes bleached and stabilized for longer shelf-life. Searching for a better product, Pizzeria Locale reached out to The Bread Lab at Washington State University, a public laboratory designed to test and develop wheat products. Much research and collaboration led to the implementation of the new wheat flour, which is ground on a custom-made stone mill, in part at the restaurant. After 10 months of experimentation, that flour was worked into the dough recipe by Jordan Wallace, culinary director at Pizzeria Locale.
Inside the space at Locale Highland, guests will get to see the flour mill in action. "Having the mill in here is a great way to be able to talk about it and tell the story. Because no one knows where flour comes from. It's the lowest common denominator on the food chain, even though it's four-and-a-half billion people every day eat wheat," chef Lachlan Patterson explains.
Here's how the flour mill works at Pizzeria Locale Highland:
The new flour certainly changes the taste of the dough. It is now more rustic, more flavorful, and texturally rich. Patterson and Stuckey are confident that the more guests eat it, the more they will love it and will grow to appreciate the complexities that are lacking in traditional flour.
An inspiration in the decision to change to this kind of flour was chef Dan Barber. Here's some good background on the movement.
Locale offers a menu that includes eight classic pizzas as well as the option for customers to create their combinations from a selection of high-quality ingredients presented in an interactive service line. Pizzas are then fired in a custom-designed, high-temperature pizza oven that bakes the pizzas in less than two minutes. The restaurant also serves salads and sides, including freshly sliced prosciutto and meatballs. Red or white Italian wine is available on tap, in addition to a variety of local beers and non-alcoholic beverages.
Pizzeria Locale's contemporary interior, produced in collaboration with Denver-based firm Semple Brown Design, features dark woods, white tiled floors and walls, marble accents on tables, and the pizza-making station, a special dough room that holds dough at a consistent 55 degrees, plus a custom-developed pizza oven.
· How Chipotle and Pizzeria Locale Pulled Off Their Secret Partnership [E]
· Pizzeria Locale Highland Gets Ready to Open [EDEN]
· Pizzeria Locale Going Into Common Grounds Space [EDEN]
· Guide to 25 Iconic Pizzerias Across Denver [EDEN]