Among the details revealed: both the pizza oven (a Renato from Texas) and the pistachio pie (the pie that Starr-folk are trumpeting the most) are ideas borrowed from Chris Bianco of Pizzeria Bianco, the famous and extremely popular pizzeria in Phoenix, AZ.
Nichols also extols how Stella did a respectable job of picking bits and pieces from different pizzerias Team Starr visited and combined them into something new here:
The Starr organization wasn't exactly reinventing pizza here. In fact, it was borrowing and, in the case of the estimable pistachio pie (with slivered sweet red onion and fontina), flat-out lifting, some road-tested pizza tricks of the trade.Meanwhile last week, Starr revealed to Philly Mag that the oven cost $20,000 and that he had to spy on one pizzeria's delivery to find out what kind of tomatoes they used for their sauce. Sounds like Lucali's.
Other echoes from the June pizzaland junket were in evidence. The subway-tiled kitchen recalled Pepe's, the New Haven shrine to the fresh-shucked-clam pie. (There's a clam pie here, too, the Vongole, though at Stella the fresh clams are oven-roasted to pop them open, then chopped with guanciale, the salty hog jowl.)
Watching the hand-grating of the Parmesan on individual pies, you might have been at Lucali's, the tour favorite on Henry Street in Brooklyn. Sitting at Stella's marble counter felt a lot like sitting at Franny's, the hip Park Slope pizzeria.
Twinkle, sprinkle, rising pizzas - At Stephen Starr's new Pizzeria Stella, they're setting the pie bar high, from the crust on up [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
Stuffing My Face at Pizzeria Bianco [ Slice - Serious Eats ]
Stephen Starr's Stella Secrets [ Philadelphia Magazine ]
Stephen Starr Courts Team Lucali, Is Rebuffed
[ Photo via The Washington Post ]