WEST VILLAGE — The owners of a Hudson Street pizzeria spent "tens of thousands of dollars" this summer to import 12,000 pounds of volcanic rock from Italy to make a brick pizza oven, but the taste of their pies makes the expense worth it, they say.
"The faster you cook pizza, the better it tastes," co-owner Michael Brunetti said on a tour Tuesday afternoon of the restaurant and its custom-made oven, which is named Bella and was made from rock from Mount Vesuvius, near Naples, Italy.
The menu at the 626 Hudson St. eatery matches what Brunetti, 61, and son Jason Brunetti, 42, offer at the pizzeria with the same name they opened in 2009 in Westhampton Beach, N.Y.
The pizza list includes a pie with hay-smoked buffalo mozzarella, capers, meyer lemons, olive oil, sea salt and Italian parsley ($21) and a spicy sopressata pizza with San Marzano tomatoes, homemade mozzarella, basil, sea salt and olive oil ($17).
Also available are dishes like moscardini alla luciana — baby octopus with tomato sauce, olives, capers and mini pasta ($17) — and a salad with kale, farro grain, chickpeas, red cabbage, nuts, dried blueberries and ricotta salata ($14).
Customers in the Hamptons urged the Brunettis to open in the West Village, where many of them have homes, Michael Brunetti said.
"It's probably the coolest neighborhood in the world," said the Midtown and Westhampton resident, who formerly worked as a hairdresser.
Light and dark reclaimed wood covers the restaurant's interior, creating a "farmhouse with a twist" look, Brunetti said. In addition to the dining room, customers can eat in the back garden.
Describing making pizza with his father, who learned techniques from his southern Italian immigrant parents, Brunetti said Pizzetteria Brunetti was more than a business to him.
"I don't just want to make pizza — I want to promote this wonderful tradition and history," he said.
The restaurant, located in the former home of the Mediterranean restaurant Bistro de la Gare, is open for lunch and dinner and will serve brunch starting later this fall.