Pizza is a staple food of college students. Lunch? Pizza. Dinner? Pizza. Late night drunchies? Pizza. In a Spoon University article ranking the best pizzas in the country, New Haven pizza shops appear four times (aka Yale students are blessed). Tucked away in the corner of the Yale campus a block from Box 63 is a hidden gem-- Brick Oven Pizza.
True to its name, Brick Oven is one of the few pizza restaurants that uses a 100% wood-fired brick oven pizza. Evidence: the massive load of wood sitting in the parking lot, ready to be loaded into the fire.
The massive brick oven you see upon entering the restaurant sets the tone of the restaurant: a place where New Haveners gather for food and company. The owner, Kadir Catalbasoglu, treats everyone like family and knows many customers by name.
Inside the Kitchen
One of this pizza establishment's defining features is it's dedication to authenticity, which is common to many New Haven "apizzerias."
With the help of Brick Oven’s very own Haci Catalbasoglu (son of Kadir), I got the chance to create my personal apizza. First, I spread out the dough to make a circular pizza shape (although mine started to look more like a square). Then, it was time to add some tomato sauce.
Surprisingly, it’s better not to add too much sauce--it is definitely a “less is more” sort of thing. With cheese, however, more is definitely more.
When deciding which pizza flavor I was going to make, I had way too many options to choose from; Mediterranean, Hawaiian, Clam, White, and Vegetable are just a few kinds of pizza that Brick Oven offers. I decided to go for Barbecue Chicken, so I carefully decorated my dough with onions and BBQ chicken.
After topping my pizza, I put my pie in the wood-fired oven. The high heat of the oven took only 10 minutes to cook my pizza to perfection. The ingredients were fresh, the cheese was gooey and the crust had the perfect amount of crunch.