It may seem obvious, but the key piece of equipment, the engine of any wood fired pizza shop is the oven. This baby right here, the Mario Acunto Classico 5, is our engine. And it just arrived yesterday.
A little background. The Acunto family has been building Italian wood fired ovens since the late 1800's. They specialize in making ovens specifically designed to accommodate high-heat neapolitan-style pizza. They are rooted in tradition, and it's an honor to have one of their ovens at the helm.
From finding the best oven for my needs to getting it here, it was quite a journey. I've been anticipating this day for about 6 months, when we first drove out to met Ellie Olsen of Wood Fired Oven Bakers back in april of this year.
Ellie's an oven importer and fellow pizza nerd who has a warehouse or two outside of Denver, CO. She deals in all things wood fired pizza, from ovens to plates, and everything in between. It's been a pleasure working with her. We could talk for hours if we both had the time. But even before meeting her, there was lots of research and many phone calls and emails sent to different pizza makers across the country to get their insight and opinions.
On monday morning, October 26th, the fruits of said journey showed up at our doorstep.
The Acunto Classico 5 is the smallest of the Classico series, weighing in at just under 5,000 lbs. It's a little over 5 ft wide and comes fully assembled. These numbers make for quite an undertaking in order to get it from the truck to inside the building. If anything were to go wrong, I'm not sure how we'd manage to get another oven.
Pat, the contractor for our restaurant's build-out, was at the helm of the monstrous fork-lift we rented to get the oven in place. He showed up around 6 am to get the face of the building removed for the delivery. I showed up around 8:45 am and quickly realized my oven was already strapped on the forklift and coming down the street.
The next hour was dedicated to placing the oven in the building. I'd been pretty worried about the process, but it turned out to be quite smooth, even in spite of the fact that Pat had just learned how to drive the forklift that morning. He didn't tell me this fact until after the oven was fully in place, thankfully!
Once we had the brunt of the job taken care of, I was able to really appreciate the event at hand. Pat tried to talk to me as I lay myself on the oven, but all I could do was smile. His words were like the teacher from Peanuts. Just muffled noise overshadowed by the joy of the moment. He picked up my camera and took this photo after realizing I wasn't listening to him.
It may seem like just another step in the process, but this oven is about as close to magic as a pizza maker can get. It's truly a master's tool. I've been making pizza for years in an oven that gets the job done, but this... this is the stuff pizza dreams are made of!
We still have a few things stopping us from setting it up and starting to really see what it can do, but the hard part is over.
After the oven was placed, the front was boarded back up. Next comes the windows, the awning and finishing work. Pretty soon, this should start to look like an actual store front. And once we stop playing the back-and-forth game with building and zoning services, we can get to making the inside a pizza shop. People keep asking me when we'll open our doors. All I can really say is soon... I hope!
One step at a time!
Nick Gore was a corporate peon by day who just made the leap to full time pizza geek. Follow his path to world class Pizzaiolo right here on the GoreMade Pizza blog. Also, check out the facebook page.