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It’s the Real Deal at Jay’s Artisan Pizza

Jay Langfelder, of the wildly popular O.G. Wood Fire, now brings you Jay’s Artisan Pizza, an eat-in pizzeria in the heart of Kenmore. Langfelder, a veritable pizza-making genius, has a reputation for serving expertly prepared Neapolitan-style pizzas to long lines of devoted fans. And now that he has a permanent brick and mortar location, you won’t have to chase him around the city the next time that you are craving one of his first-rate creations.

Working within a tradition that emphasizes technique and methodology, Langfelder uses an ancient method of making dough that begins with a wild yeast sourdough starter, levito madre. In addition to the starter, and in true Neapolitan fashion, the dough contains just water, flour, and salt. Relieved to be cooking outside the extreme cooking conditions of the truck, “the new space allows him to have greater control over the dough,” which will ferment at room temperature for about 36 hours.

Langfelder is not attempting to serve DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) or AVPN (Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana) pizza. He regards these designations as being something of a sham – arbitrary and unnecessarily limiting. He points out that most pizza makers in Naples do not adhere to the strict requirements of these designations. Moreover, as he mentioned during our conversation, a purchased logo on the door is no guarantee of good pizza.

Instead, He seeks out and serves the best ingredients that he can find from wherever he can find them. And, as a committed pizzaiolo, he has tried hundreds of tomatoes, flours, etc., in search of the best – letting his own palate be the judge.

Many ingredients will be sourced locally through partnerships with Gro-op, Plato Dale Farm, and Schwab Farm. But other ingredients, including flour, tomatoes, and aged cheeses, will come from Italy.

Since he was eight-years-old, Langfelder has been making pizza in the kitchen with his mom. He spent most of his career – 15 years—making pizza in a professional setting. Although he has spent time learning from pizzaiolos from Naples and elsewhere in the industry, he is largely self-taught, spending years experimenting with ingredients, ovens, and dough variations.

The new oven for the restaurant was hand built by Stefano Ferrara, a third generation oven builder from Naples, Italy. It will cook pizzas at an impressive 900 degrees for about one minute. The oven, which was customized to Neapolitan standards, was build and tiled in Naples.

During our visit, we sampled four pizzas. My personal favorite, which came highly recommended, was the speck. It was topped with garlic, truffle porcini sauce, bufala mozzarella, fontal, and smoked prosciutto. The pizza was almost buttery with a warm and sweet roasted garlic flavor that won me over immediately. My youngest son’s favorite was the amatriciana: tomato, bufala mozzarella, red onion, pancetta, and chili honey. He especially enjoyed the slight sweetness of the chili honey paired with the pleasantly salty pancetta. Both of my children, who are usually not crust eaters, told me that it was the best pizza that they had ever eaten and eagerly devoured the soft, airy, and appropriately charred crust. Neapolitan pizza, when done well, has a spotted or ‘leopard’ char on the crust that is reminiscent of a toasted marshmallow. Perhaps this is what won them over (as it did me).

In addition to pizza, the restaurant will serve a daily special of salad and charcuterie board. Langfelder wants customers to visit for the pizza, which is the star of the show. Although his pizzas are best eaten within minutes of leaving the oven, he will offer takeout. Takeout pizzas will be served unsliced to preserve the integrity of the crust. Beer and wine are coming soon. The restaurant’s official opening date is Tuesday, September 5.

Jay’s Artisan Pizza | 2872 Delaware Avenue | Kenmore, NY 14217 | (716) 322-1704 | Facebook

Written by Julie Kirsch

Julie Kirsch

A native of Western New York whose articles focus upon food and development in Kenmore.

View All Articles by Julie Kirsch
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  • Randy503

    Sourdough is the way to go, and I can’t wait to try this. For those who don’t know, the natural leavening of sourdough was how bread was made all over the world since the beginning of cooking until the late 19th century. IT actually ferments the flour in the bread, turning it to lactic acid. The baking kills off the wild yeasts, but by then the chemical composition of the bread if very different because of the fermentation.

    IT actually the same process that turns cucumbers into pickles, and cabbage into sauerkraut. IT changes it entirely. And so sourdough can be tolerated much better by people who are problems with gluten or the high glycemic factors of regular bread.

    Sourdough also lasts longer and has a much more complex flavor. It is was people ate until about 150 years ago. Also, prior to the mid 10th century, all flour was made from einkorn and other ancient grains (spelt, emmer and a few others). The “flour” we use today is a hybrid developed for higher yields and to fit the millers better, but has none of the flavor or nutrients of the traditional grains.

    And that’s why the “bread” we eat today made with commercial yeast and hybrid flours is nothing like what our great grandparents ate with their meals. Real traditional bread with butter or cheese is a meal in itself and doesn’t raise blood sugar levels or can’t be digested like the modern junk we eat.

    Kudos to this honest baker for using sourdough.

    • Jay Langfelder

      Nailed it! Can’t tell you how many times I have said these same words. Thank you very much.

  • Jordan Then

    Best pizza in WNY. Great stuff.

    • Marc Rebmann

      Better than Vera or Hydraulic Hearth?

      • Jordan Then

        Yes, better than both, even when served from the back of a truck. I’m excited to try the restaurant.

  • It will be interesting to see how this place pans out. From what I understand, most of the new wood fired pizza places in the area aren’t fantastic save for a few. I have to say, the best wood fired pizza I’ve ever had was at a place called “Pizza Barbone” in Cape Cod.

    • Jay Langfelder

      Hello. While I have not been to Barbone i am familiar with them. That is indeed the same oven and the pizza is similar in style. I follow the national pizza scene as closely as anyone and have been to and know about many noteworthy places. My biggest influences have been Keste, Motorino (Both NYC) and Una Pizza Napoeltana (San Fran) as well as many places in Naples that are probalny unframilar to most. Hopefully you stop by sometime as I’m sure you will enjoy. Take care – Jay

      • Wow that’s interesting. Didn’t even know there were classifications for pizza as you said above. It must be gratifying to study these places and then craft your own recipe.

        • Jay Langfelder

          It was a great deal of fun. We have spent a great deal of time essentially trying to reverse engineer our favorite places pizza dough through visual clues and some inside information. Ultimetley we came up with a recipe of our own to match our favorite charecteristics.

          • Jackie Milbrand

            Corner of our street in the Village of Kenmore! So excited! I cannot wait to try your pizza!

      • Dave Joshua

        you guys are officially open now?

        • Jay Langfelder

          Officially “soft” open.

  • disqus_etPpWltdKD

    I’ve had O.G. Wood Fire pizza, and it is AMAZING. So glad Jay is opening a store. Cannot wait to go.

  • PaulBuffalo

    Bufala mozzarella? Images of pizza that look the way pizza is supposed to be? Hallelujah!

    I hope this begins the slow death knell of the toaster strudel that has been Buffalo-style pizza.

    I’ll definitely be visiting this place more than once on my next visit to the city.

    • Jay Langfelder

      Yes Bufala. Death to false pizza.

    • eagercolin

      Pizza fundamentalism is boring. These pizzas can be good. So can Buffalo, NYC, Chicago , and Detroit style.

      • PaulBuffalo

        It has nothing to do with pizza fundamentalism. Buffalo pizza has essentially been warmed dough with tomato sauce and toppings. Folks have wanted cheap pizza and they have been willing to compromise on quality to get it. If that’s a style, so be it.

        • eagercolin

          Statements about “the way pizza is supposed to be” are quite literally fundamentalist. Those words indicate that there’s a true or valid kind of pizza, and a false or incorrect kind.