In 2015, one of America’s most respected food magazines Bon Appetit named Pizzeria Beddia the “best pizza in America”. They knew it was a bold claim, adding, “Yep, we said it.”
When it was open (it closed in March) Philadelphia’s Pizzeria Beddia had no seats. Two employees stood behind a non-descript counter. There was no telephone and a soundtrack of ’70s post-punk boomed through the space. It had only two employees – one of which was owner Joe Beddia, who made every pizza, rolling just enough dough to make 40 pies a day. And they sold out every single night.
Now, Beddia has brought his world-famous pizza to Bondi Beach for seven nights only. Beddia is erecting a bespoke 60-seat pop-up (made entirely from pizza boxes) at Maurice Terzini’s Bondi Beach Public Bar from July 22 until July 28. And he’s joining forces with Monty Koludrovic (executive chef at Icebergs and James Hird (wine director at The Dolphin) for a week-long pizza party.
After working at Hitachino Nest brewery in Japan, Beddia developed an appreciation for simplicity. He became obsessed with perfecting pizza; Beddia realised specialising in one thing and one thing only was the key to success. He enlisted Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, Arizona and 80-year-old Dom DeMarco (Di Fara Pizza in Brooklyn, NYC) as mentors. But Beddia has since disregarded the pizza-making rules he learnt from them and now violates years of convention by turning his nose up at the woodfire oven. He prefers the dry heat that a Montague deck oven achieves.
“I slowly realised that my pizza heroes didn’t really follow any strict codes. They created their own paths,” Beddia has said in an official statement. “I feel like I came to pizza by being observant. By being a genuine fan. By seeing, tasting and feeling.”
His pizzas bake at 600 degrees for 10 minutes (unlike Neapolitan-style pizzas, which require a 900-degree temperature and cook for just a couple of minutes). The result is a well-done, crispy base with a soft centre weighed down with a range of minimal toppings, from pepperoni and pickled chillies, to mushrooms and parmesan.
Beddia closed his original pizzeria on March 31 this year, before releasing his own cookbook, Pizza Camp.
The Pizza Beddia pop-up at Bondi Beach Pubic Bar will run from July 22 to 28, from 6pm until sold out.