Buffalo’s pizza landscape is about to change… again. That’s because Daniela Kayser, owner of daniela. is taking the art of pizza making to another level. Actually, the restaurant will be serving up something that is similar to pizza, but this version is in a category all its own. This new artisanal creation is called pinsa – a style of pizza that was invented in Italy in 2001. It’s actually a spin off of a rustic Roman pizza, also known as pizza in teglia (pizza in a pan), according to Chef Davide D’Eramo (from Rome, Italy), who spent the last week in Buffalo training the staff at daniela. how to make the perfect pinsa.
Davide’s family has been making and perfecting the pinsa since it was first originated, and today his family members travel the world teaching others the culinary trade (Teglia Romana Pinsa School). In the United States, you might be lucky to find a pinseria in San Francisco, NYC, Chicago, or you can travel to Italy, or Dubai. Or you can skip the trip, and just dine at daniela.
While the pinsa might look like similar to a flatbread pizza, it’s nothing like it. The pinsa dough is uncannily light… cloud-like on the inside, and crisped on the outside. The toppings on the pinsa are built up, like a sculpture. The end result is a true work of art that is highly digestible because it has less fat and carbohydrates, and is lower in calories than traditional pizza. The dough, made from wheat flour, soy, rice and sourdough, has a flavorful taste and consistency of an ancient bread.
Pinsa dough contains 80% of hydration, as opposed to pizza which contains only 50/55% water.
I stopped in to daniela. on Saturday, because I had heard that this magical new pizza creation had arrived in Buffalo. I was lucky enough to catch up with Daniela, who told me that her sister, Adriana Marino, who lives in Italy, first suggested that she make pinsas. The next thing she knew, Chef Davide D’Eramo was working his magic in the kitchen, flanked by various members of her support team. It was a real production – a real family affair, which was wonderful to see.
While it was fantastic to see Chef D’Eramo in creation mode, it was even more impressive to learn about Daniela, and how this entire scene (right out of a movie) had come to pass. From what I gathered about Daniela, from her numerous friends and fans at the restaurant, she is one of the best kept secrets when it comes to food in Buffalo. For years, Daniela has been running a catering business, and is the head of department of craft service for the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission. She has had the opportunity to cook for the likes of John Turturro, Susan Sarandon, Kate Hudson, Melissa McCarthy, Lydia Bastianich of Eataly, and Geoffrey Zakarian. On top of that, she still travels the country as a food stylist for Galbani Cheese.
One would think that all of these culinary pursuits might be all that a single person can handle. But Daniela is not your average person. She’s an individual that is constantly on the go, go, go. It turns out that she purchased the 387 Forest Avenue building (the former Inn Between) eight years ago, with the intentions of opening her own place some day. The building, it turns out, was built in the 1800s, and while it had stood the test of time, it had not weathered the storm very well. The place had to be completely gutted, to the point where the first floor need to be ripped out. Everything needed to be ripped out. While that was certainly a daunting proposition, it was the best thing that ever could have happened. Why? Because the restaurant is perfectly suited for everything that Daniela wants to do.
And what does Daniela want to do? Well, we already know about the pinsas (the magnificent pinsas – margherita, smoked salmon, carbonara – there’s even a pinsamisú for dessert!) Then there’s the antipasta (a few small plates), soups, salads, paninis (including beef tenderloin – turkey cranberry – Nutella, cashew butter and banana), the pastas (including bolognese, carbonara, penne el pesto, Pomodoro a crème), and the desserts (including gluten free Clementine cake and orange dessert pinsa).
If you”re thinking that it can’t really get any better than that, a professional gelataio (a person who makes gelato) will be traveling to Buffalo from Italy, to teach the staff how to make traditional Italian gelato. There will even be a CBD gelato available, once the program is up and running.
daniela. is also an operational café serving espresso, macchiato, cappuccino, flavored latte, Americano, red eye, iced latte, house brew, tea, and hot chocolate for the kids.
Daniela grew up thinking that she would one day be a professional dancer. She also grew up cooking, in a family where everyone cooked. “My parents were from Italy,” she told me. “My mom was a good cook. Today I consider myself a food artist. I want this restaurant to have a little taste of everything – casual but nice, artisanal-seasonal, the basics but beautiful. I worked in the restaurant world for many years. I’m really excited about the pinsas, because for the most part, it’s usually the men in Italy that are making them. As you can see, we’re training the women how to be pinsa experts.”
Not only is the food at daniela. inspiring, so is the atmosphere. It’s casual, relaxed, but sophisticated as well, with a living wall, transfixing moss stones, wine and beer (six taps), and a sensational view onto the Richardson-Olmsted Complex. There is no table service – just walk up to the counter, put your order in, grab your number, and your food will be delivered to your table. Or you can sit at the bar and order there (if you can find a spot).
It’s a great time to be a pizza… er… pinsa-lover in Buffalo.
daniela. | 387 Forest Avenue | Buffalo, New York 14213 | (716) 235-8598 | Facebook
Tuesday through Saturday | 11am to 8pm