Our first shared meal was a pizza. It was thirteen years ago – pepperoni and olive – while sitting on the floor of Matt’s dorm room at school in Rhode Island. I have a distinct memory that as I was biting into my second slice that night, I looked across the pie and knew this was the man I would love for the rest of my life. Two days later, on a casual drive to a beach in Newport so Matt could snap shots for his photography class, we stopped for lunch and had more pizza together. A few nights later, Matt took me on a proper date to our beloved Al Forno in Providence, and we shared their famous grilled pizza then, too. We do eat other foods (sometimes), but pizza has been the special fare that we have enjoyed sharing in since the moment our relationship began.
As soon as we graduated college, we moved home to the city so Matt could enroll at the Institute of Culinary Education and begin his career as a chef; he has worked for over a decade now all across the city in various restaurants from making pastry at Public, smoking meats at The Smoke Joint, to helping launch The Breslin to most recently cooking pies with Pizza Moto. When we moved to Brooklyn a few years back, Matt stumbled upon our neighborhood pizzeria, Sottocasa, in its opening days, and Luca Arrigoni – the owner and Matt’s pizza mentor – invited him to join the inaugural team and practice the art of making pizza. Immediately, Matt knew this craft was his path. Within a year, he decided it was time to take the chance to pursue opening a restaurant, which was that vision we shared in over a decade ago as we ate our inaugural slices of pizza together and talked of such a dream. I helped as Matt worked to launch Brooklyn Central in Park Slope as a stepping stone for us to emerge onto the pizza scene in New York. Once that was up and running, we took the opportunity to transition out and search for our own spot to realize a restaurant we could call home to our shared passion for artisanal, high-quality food.
Our search landed us in cozy Clinton Hill with a lot of work to do. We spent a long autumn rehabbing a previous restaurant to put forth a place that is a reflection of the warmth and hominess that we feel when being together and want to bring to the neighborhood. We have a wood burning oven that centers as the hearth of the space where you will find Matt cooking pizzas from dough he has hand-mixed and mozzarella he has made by hand. Matt’s outlook on cooking for others is that when you put genuine love into the preparation of a meal, those who eat it can taste the sentiment behind it. I am thrilled to be the namesake of my husband’s restaurant and am proud to offer to you pizza and other delicious fare from our hearts made and served with love.