Chef Ed Simmons realized his longtime dream of owning his own farm-to-table restaurant with the opening of Dough Artisan Pizzeria two weeks ago in Caldwell.
Simmons' vision included keeping ingredients American, or better yet, local, whenever possible.
To that end, he's using hydro-greens from Garden State Urban Farms based in Orange, cheeses shipped from Bobolink Dairy in Milford, chicken and eggs from Goffle Road Poultry Farm in Wyckoff, and, for dessert, diners can choose from a selection of fresh gelato flavors from Gelotti just up the road in Caldwell.
The 36-year-old chef said he spent the last three years working on the dough for his pies, which are prepared in a wood fired brick oven at the Bloomfield Avenue eatery, formerly Rose Mediterranean.
In order to achieve a classic sourdough flavor in the crust, his dough undergoes a cold fermentation process for two days. A wild starter yeast is added two or three times daily to make it just right.
Popular dishes since opening in mid-February, he said, include the margarita and duck confit pies, the baked three-cheese macaroni and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs and the homemade ricotta gnocchi.
“I wanted dishes that appeal to children,” he said, “[as well as] dishes that appeal to the food connoisseur.”
Simmons, a native of Sussex County, started out washing dishes at Vernon Valley (now Mountain Creek) as a teenager, and after high school trained at the Culinary Institute of America. He later worked at top New York restaurants, including Asia Cuba, and at Ian Schrager hotels.
When he got burned out from the city, Simmons turned his energy to bringing the restaurant brewing in his mind to life.
“I wanted to bring excellent cuisine in a fun, friendly, warm, industrial atmosphere,” Simmons said.
Simmons is not only the mastermind behind the food, he painstakingly decorated the 50-seat dining room with American-made odds and ends. The walls are covered with reclaimed wood from an 1860s chicken barn in Pennsylvania. The light fixtures are made of old wool spindles.
“I wanted to keep it simple, but keep it excellent,” Simmons said.
Dough Artisan Pizzeria
437 Bloomfield Ave.
Lunch: Tuesday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Dinner: Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday, 5 to 9 p.m.;
Friday and Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m.
Take-Out, No Reservations, Credit Cards Accepted, Bring Your Own