North Williamsburg is getting another new pizzeria. Macoletta Brick Oven Pizza (58 North 9th St.) is set to open this Friday, October 28.
Macoletta’s founder, Walid Idriss, opened the pizzeria’s first location in Astoria in June 2018 with the help of Macoletta’s managers, Georgia Savva and Darby Bixler. “I wanted to create a fun, casual atmosphere to celebrate the art of Italian pizza making where all are welcome,” Idriss told Greenpointers.
Idriss’s journey to owning a pizzeria is a unique one. Born to Egyptian parents in Algeria, Idriss said he loved two things from a young age: pizza and mathematics. The first he learned to love from time spent with his mother in the kitchen.
“In Algiers, we didn’t have any frozen or imported products, so I learned from my mother how to make pizza from scratch. She tried her best to keep me out of the kitchen, but I was always playing with the flour and trying to roll out the dough,” said Idriss warmly.
His second love of math was fostered by his father who was an engineer and furthered when he ended up in the United States, studying mathematics at Baruch.
Idriss believes that there is a correlation between his two loves, math and pizza. Like all cooking and baking, to make pizza, one must know some math.
Idriss explained some of the precise calculations he uses at Macoletta. He said that the dough’s hydration, or the amount of water in the dough in relation to the amount of flour, is 70%, while the pizza is baked to perfection in exactly two minutes in a brick oven heated to 625 degrees Fahrenheit.
Before opening Macoletta, Idriss traveled to Italy and found what he calls “the best-engineered pizza oven on the market.” Idriss explained that the oven rotates and elevates for a consistently delicious result.
The name for Idriss’s pizzeria originated from a previous trip to Italy. Macoletta is derived from Macola, a pasticceria located in Padova, Italy, which has a small wine bar next door called Macoletta.
While attending a friend’s wedding in Brescia, Italy, Idriss drove a couple of hours to visit the pasticceria and wine bar because it was owned by a the family of a friend and previous coworker, Fabio Rebeschini. While visiting the pasticceria, Idriss “began dreaming about this project in New York.”
“We are very excited to launch our second location which I hope will be a space to bring people together around good food,” Idriss told Greenpointers.
Idriss explained that the architect who designed Macoletta’s Astoria location, Nick Liberis, tipped him off to the available space in Williamsburg. “Although I’d not spent much time outside of Queens, he showed me some of the projects he’d worked on in Williamsburg including the William Vale and Williamsburg Hotel, and I fell in love with the neighborhood,” said Idriss.
North Brooklyn customers can expect a menu that highlights carefully crafted pizzas with a large variety of toppings. Idriss said that the menu in Williamsburg will be very similar to the one in Astoria, with the exception of the homemade pastas.
Like the Astoria location, Macoletta’s Williamsburg restaurant will offer pizza- making classes, where customers can learn the secrets of the trade and understand “why the simplest ingredients make the best pizza,” according to Idriss. These classes are one of the ways in which Idriss likes to “spread the love of pizza.”