Pizza Brutta Reinvents the Neighborhood Pizza Joint

Their Neapolitan-style pies are crispy, crunchy goodness

We all grew up with A neighborhood pizza place. Maybe it had arcade games, red- checkered tablecloths or pies the size of the table. Pizza Brutta on Monroe Street represents the new era of the local pizzeria with its warm ambience, Neapolitan-style thin-crust pizzas and, of course, pies featuring local ingredients.

The name means “ugly” in Italian, explains co-owner Derek Lee (with wife Darcy, in picture), a cheeky reference to the fact that when a pizza comes out of the wood-burning oven, the crust is a bit misshapen and charred. “We make the dough here from scratch using authentic, Italian-style flour that’s milled 150 miles from here, salt, yeast and water. We use organic, locally sourced and freshly made [ingredients]. We make the mozzarella here every day—fifty pounds of it. It’s hand-stretched and you can taste that.” Also look for Harmony Valley greens, prosciutto made from La Quercia’s heirloom, free-range pigs, Crave Brothers’ fresh mozzarella and North Dakota organic flour.

The light yet delicately crispy crust houses such combinations as the Nostrano (crushed tomato, basil, sausage, roasted red pepper, roasted onion and fresh mozzarella) and the winter caprese (fresh mozzarella, pine nut pesto and parmesan, wood roasted tomatoes, garlic and basil). Also look for side salads, “bianco” pizzas (olive oil base and sea salt) and a carefully edited, affordable beer and wine list.

Even if the concept is international, Lee likes keeping it close to home: “I know I’m watching the kids in the neighborhood grow up on my pizza and it has quality ingredients. Owning a neighborhood business is helping to create a more sustainable economy and that’s why I do this.”

Pizza Brutta, 1805 Monroe St. 257-2120.

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