Wood-fired oven by wood-fired oven, the city's pizza scene is heating up.
When American-raised Antimo DiMeo, 20, expressed interest in following his Neapolitan-born father, Pino, 43, in the pizza business, the son insisted he wanted to cook in the old-country way, with a wood-fired oven. (Pino's parlors use conventional gas ovens.)
Then the father and son said they performed a taste test at their parlor in downtown Wilmington: They made batches of dough with Wilmington tap water and with bottled water from Naples. "It was no contest," Antimo said. And a tad more expensive.
At Pizzeria DiMeo, a BYOB that opened this month in Andorra Shopping Center (8500 Henry Ave., 215-621-6134), they are doing just that, Pino DiMeo says. The dough is also made two days in advance to get a natural rise. They import buffalo mozzarella weekly and say they use fresh San Marzano tomatoes.
They are also using pricey Pasta di Gragnano from Giuseppe Afeltra, which they contend is the best dried pasta in the world. Dishes top out at $17.
They also spread Nutella on pizza dough, cut it into chunks, bake it, and top it with powdered sugar for dessert. Photos and a menu are at www.philly.com/dimeos.
Ortlieb's Jazzhaus (847 N. Third St.) in Northern Liberties has been reconfigured as Ortlieb's Lounge, under Four Corners Management. Live music plays Tuesday through Sunday, and there is a Tex-Mex menu.
Four Corners is also behind Morgan's Pier, a seasonal beer garden due for a May 24 opening at the former Rock Lobster, 221 N. Columbus Blvd.
Society Hill landmark Zeke's 5th Street Deli (318-20 S. Fifth St.) closed recently after two decades, but the spot has a new tenant, Union Gourmet Restaurant 5th Street. Owners Theresa Fera and Felix Maietta, who have run the food operation for many years at the Down Town Club, plan to keep a casual vibe.
Monday is the planned opening of SoWe, the bistro at 22d and Carpenter Streets, which owners Nancy Law and Troy Barton position as a neighborhood spot open nightly for dinner and late night. Executive chef Maureen Stoebenau most recently was chef de cuisine at Royal Tavern.
The Northern Liberties branch of Circles (812 N. Second St.), the Asian BYOB, is up for late April.
Spiga, the casual sibling of Le Castagne's (1305 Locust St.), is looking at early May.
Max & David's, the destination kosher restaurant in Yorktown Plaza in Elkins Park, closed. "We made kosher cool again," said owner Steve Katz. Max & David's is proceeding with its planned glatt-kosher food truck, which has nailed a location on Penn's campus.
Nettie Jane's Bakery Cafe has shuttered in North Wales.