There is common misconception that coal ovens are on the endangered species list in New York City. The truth is, there are more than than you'd think. Here's a quick rundown of five dormant coal-burning ovens in New York.
'coal ovens' on Serious Eats
Hilton Head isn't a pizza hotbed, but Paulie's Coal Fired Pizza is trying to change that perception. Their Signature Pizza is fresh and flavorful, with just the right proportions of zingy sauce and gooey cheese, and a slight ashy char underneath.
Over the weekend Grimaldi's made the move to their new location, just around the corner from the home of their longstanding tenancy. The big upset in all this was that Grimaldi's would be leaving their coal oven in the dust, as concern about city licensing raised some doubts as to whether they would be granted permission to install a new coal oven. When the city issued stop-work orders and put a halt on building at the new locale, the prospect of coal remaining king at the new Grimaldi's looked grim.
After the eviction papers were served last year it was clear Grimaldi's tenancy would have limited standing. Despite making arrangements to pay the back rent, owner Frank Ciolli lost the right to renew the pizzeria's lease. With that lease expiring at the end of this month, Grimaldi's will be moving next door, sans the oven that started it all.
The once-necessary-then-obsolete-now-re-popularized coal oven has an interesting past that traces the story of pizza development in the Northeastern USA. Those who have experienced the goodness of a coal-fired oven may take for granted the resulting pizza's crisp yet chewy texture, but how did these chunks of black rock get into our ovens?
[Photograph: Adam Kuban] "That's one hell of an oven these guys are working with. Wish I could cook in something like that," said dmcavanagh in a comment on my Best Pizza review today. What I didn't show you all, though, is the surplus oven real estate that extends into the Best Pizza backyard area. You can see it above. That's all oven, folks. Unused oven. See, that's an old coal-fired bakery oven. The back half of it, which extends about 15 feet into Best's backyard, is walled off from the portion that's actually used. (Best Pizza uses wood, too,...