Come late October, South Philadelphians will (finally) have easy access to Dock Street’s pizza, in all its blistered and bubbly glory. That’s when Dock Street South will fire up a new pizza oven for the first time.
The Washington Avenue outpost of the 35-year-old brewery marked its one-year anniversary in August, right around the time Dock Street matriarch and founder Rosemarie Certo gave the go-ahead to pursue the pizza route.
The wood-fired oven — purchased on eBay and driven from Ohio to Philly by operations manager Sasha Certo-Ware — is currently being installed in Dock Street South’s lounge, which showcases the brewery’s industrial vaulted ceilings and stainless-steel tanks. Previously the space was used for community meetings, baby showers, and even a dog’s “21st” birthday party.
“It’s the only place that we would have had space for a pizza oven,” said marketing director Renata Certo-Ware, “so I guess that was one good thing that came out of coronavirus.”
When the conversion is complete, the room will be open to the public, with tables and a new live-edge bar that has prime views of the oven.
“We’re going to definitely have some familiar suspects on the menu,” said Sasha, citing some crowd favorites from Dock Street West’s menu: the fig jam, the egg-and-spinach-topped a la cocca, and the flammen (crème fraiche, gruyere, caramelized onions, applewood-smoked bacon).
But expect some new pies and alternative offerings from chef Cam Waters, a Forest & Main alum who joined the Dock Street South team two months ago. He’s since added a jerk chicken cheesesteak and homemade banana pudding to the menu. He’ll also be collaborating with 10-year Dock Street West veteran chef PJ Freeman on the forthcoming pizza list. (Everything will pair nicely with Dock Street’s beers, including its new Italian pilsner, Futuro, which debuts this week.)
Long-anticipated by the Point Breeze neighborhood, Dock Street South initially opened with an Italian menu inspired by a family trip to Rosemarie’s native Sicily: “We arrived from the flight totally jet-lagged and we were starving,” Renata remembers. “It was 9 p.m., and we had this roadside rotisserie chicken filled with olives and lemons. And we just sat on the rooftop, sitting on our suitcases, picking it apart with our hands. It was the best meal ever.”
Besides rotisserie chickens seasoned with herbs and lemon, za’atar, and Moroccan spices, there were chickpeas with roasted red peppers, harissa-roasted potatoes, and cold side salads.
Alas, South Philly — despite loving the new space — clamored for pizza with their beer.
“The neighborhood definitely spoke and made it clear what they want,” Renata said. “And at the end of the day it’s like, OK, we do make great pizza and everyone knows it. So we’ll do it here, too.”