In his downtime during the coronavirus lockdown, chef Joe Cicala rounded up some wood, mortar, and cinder blocks, and over the course of a week built himself a wood-fired pizza oven behind his South Philadelphia house.

After feeding friends and family, he’s planning a Neapolitan pizza pop-up for Wednesday, May 13, with proceeds bound for his idled employees at Cicala at the Divine Lorraine, the plush Italian yearling he owns with his wife, Angela.

The oven is intended as practice for one that he plans to build on the patio at the restaurant, on Broad Street at Fairmount Avenue.

Varieties include margherita and marinara, as well as a stella (with a ricotta-stuffed crust and San Marzano tomatoes), an Amalfitana (buffalo mozzarella and Sorrento lemons), a prosciutto, and Angela Cicala’s Sicilian cannoli for dessert. Update: The pop-up has sold out.

Joe Cicala with his handmade pizza oven.
COURTESY JOE CICALA
Joe Cicala with his handmade pizza oven.

Customers first got a taste of Cicala’s Neapolitan pizzas six years ago at the former Brigantessa on East Passyunk, where he worked on an Acunta oven built outside of Naples.