ISO Pizza Margherita wood fired, but...
Is being able to have thin and blistered crust, pizza marghertia without having to remortgage our home an anomoly? I have been reading your posts on Una, Kef.., and Motorino but refinancing our home is not an option.
How can something so simple, quick to make be sooooo expensive (must be the rent and the fact that they aren't making money from liquor). We don't want liquor, we want pizza.
Having said that, I would take an amazing quality square sliced pizza (in the Roman style) to go too.
Well, Una Pizza is expensive, but Keste's is $12 and Motorino's is $10 ($13 for buffalo mozzarella) and both are a good size. Considering that you're getting a top-quality experience that hardly seems extortionate, nor 2nd mortgage-worthy.
NY Magazine's breakdowns of Motorino's costs:
Owner: Mathieu Palombino
Labor: $432,000 ($9,000 a week for twenty employees; note that Motorino is a full-service restaurant and pizzeria)
Utilities: $6,600 ($550 a month for electricity and gas)
Wood: $13,688 (three cords per month, $375 per cord)
Rent: $72,000 ($6,000 per month for 1,400 square feet)
Pizza ingredients: $160,000 (flour, tomatoes, housemade mozzarella)
Toppings: $100,000 (prosciutto di Parma, soppressata, etc.)
Miscellaneous costs: $25,712
Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $810,000
COST OF A MARGHERITA PIE:
Fior di Latte mozzarella: $1.00
San Marzano tomatoes: $0.40
Caputo 00 soft-grain dough from Napoli: $0.32
Sicilian sea salt: $0.01
La Frontoin extra-virgin olive oil from Sicily: $1
Raw Israeli basil: $0.50
Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $3.64/pie
Cost to customer . . . . . . . . . . . .$10
Markup per pie . . . . . . . . . . . .$6.36
From pizza: $832,200 (21,900 margherita pies at $10, plus 51,100 specialty pies at $12).
Total gross . . . . . . . . . . . $900,000
Annual profit . . . . . . . . . . . $90,000 (revenue of $900,000 minus expenses of $810,000)
With the exception of UPN, you can get an excellent plain margherita (usually cow's milk mozz.) at many of the better places, including those you mentioned, for like $10 - $12 for an individual sized pie. Near Keste you could also try No. 28 (also wood-fired) on Carmine St., which is quite good and gives you the option of larger sized pizzas, which may be a better value. At my last visit (a couple weeks ago) Keste was not serving alcohol yet, so that is not even an option. I just got tap water with my pizza.
For square margherita slices (eat in or take out) you can try the newly opened Veloce in the East Village (perhaps a bit thicker than Roman style), which I liked on my first and only visit or also Farinella in lower Manhattan (which I have yet to try, but looks very close to Roman-style square). Grandaisy and Sullivan St. Bakery also make excellent square slices although they I don't believe either of them do a margherita.
Excellent pizza, like any other good preparation is worth the money for many people; most have no problem paying for a $21 plate of pasta once in a while :). Lil' Frankies is a good value, though.
Bruni's Times piece two days ago was pretty good I thought. Graphics and audio were nice.