If you live by the J train Kosciusko Avenue stop, good news! Now there is a wood-fired pizzeria right by you! Pietro Hebel, Giovanni Gelfini and Clement Chabernaud are the owners of Santa Panza, a wood-fired pizzeria on the Bushwick, Bed-Stuy Border.
This cozy pizzeria is located at 1079 Broadway Avenue. People familiar to the area will realize Santa Panza is far from the other dine-in Pizzerias in Bushwick. The owners explain that this was an intentional decision. They wanted to be in a part of the neighborhood where there wasn’t a pizza spot every couple blocks from each other. With the closest pizzerias 20 and 25 min away, this location is perfect!
Owners Pietro Hebel and Giovanni Gelfini have a decade of experience in the restaurant industry. Hebel and Gelfini met each other six years ago, when they arrived to Brooklyn. They worked together in Bushwick’s Union Pizza Works and in Bed-Stuy’s Saranghina Bakery and Restaurant.
Santa Panza took two years to become a reality. After 10 years of working in the industry both Hebel and Gelfini realized it was time to work on something they could call their own. “We love working in this industry, but we would love to do it according to our own rules, and using the values which are ours.” – says Gelfini.
The kitchen, bar and seating area all connected into one space, so the Patron’s eyes are drawn to the wood-fired pizza oven. “We wanted this perspective that would lead to the flame of the pizza oven,”- elaborates Hebel.
Putting the restaurant together was very tricky. The pizza over weights over 7,000 pounds so when it was time to put it into place, some spots of the floor had to be teared up and later replaced.
Gelfini comments they hope to introduce a tapas bar sometime soon. The open design of the space was design with this intention, so when the time comes the bartender, chef and patrons are positioned together. “I can show my customer my little things of today” – adds Gelfini.
Santa Panza’s walls are covered with Hebel’s collection of geographical maps he acquired from Parisian flea markets. “For a long time, those were sitting above my bed in my bedroom, but when I opened up the restaurant, I wanted them to be here and thought it would be better to share them,” – says Hebel.
The furniture, open design and warm lighting of this pizzeria makes Santa Panza a very relaxing space, making the costumers stay till’ dessert – which you shouldn’t miss. Gelfini serves an incredible chocolate that looks like salami!
Much of the produce used by Santa Panza is local. The pizzeria sources their ingredients from the Union Square Market, Whole Foods and an upstate farm. Pies come in both 6 and 12-inch sizes: the smaller pies are great for families, Gelfini explains. The menu features a seasonal pie which you should definitely try and bar offers a great assortment of house cocktails, wine and beer (cans and draft.)
Santa Panza is open Tuesday through Sunday from 5:30PM -11:30PM. In the future, management will extend their hours in order to serve lunch and brunch; and come Spring they will be offering patio sitting, so set a night aside and come dine at Santa Panza!
Via Cristin Noonan for Bushwick Daily