Pizza Maker Jay Jerrier Dials In New York-Style with Brooklyn's Best and Grandma Pie

Categories: Interviews

Manuel Arce, Dino Santonicola, Frank Pinello and Matt Reddick
When Jay Jerrier first opened Il Cane Rosso in Deep Ellum in 2011, he was intent on making "authentic Neapolitan pizza." So intent that not only did he buy an oven from Naples and use a mixer, flour and tomatoes from Naples, but he even recruited a Dino Santonicola, who grew up making pizza in Naples. The only thing left out was importing fresh air from Naples.

Three years into Neapolitan pizza-making, Jerrier has turned his scope onto New York-style pizza, which is very specifically not served in his Neapolitan den. This summer, hopefully in August, he will open his third pizza spot (there are two Il Cane Rossos), Zoli's, in Oak Cliff, just a hustle outside the Bishop Arts District in what used to be BEE: Best Enchiladas Ever.

So, what are Jerrier's plans to bring the perfect slice of New York-style pizza to Dallas? Well, first he sent Santonicola, the master pizzaiolo at Cane Rosso, and GM Megan Dennison on a Big Apple pizza binge.

Jerrier got input from a few people in the industry, like Serious Eats' blog, Slice and some colleagues in NYC.

"We had some recommendations on places to go," says Dennison, "even though everyone has their own opinion on which place has the best pizza."

On the first day of the trip, Santonicola and Dennison indulged in slices from seven different places. Day two: five places. Day three, into a taper: just three.

One of those places was Best Pizza in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where they met 30-year-old chef and owner Frank Pinello, who opened this tiny (in Texas terms) pizza spot just three years ago. And the Dallas duo agreed that Best Pizza was, as the ballsy name suggests, pretty damn good.

That's when once again Jerrier, a man clearly intent on authenticating his technique and recipes, recruited Pinello to help him "dial in" his pizza. Jerrier plucked Pinello from the comforts of his tiny Brooklyn pizzeria and brought him to Dallas for 100-degree heat and a two-week pizza-making training camp.

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The Grandma pizza is amazing. I stopped by to see Jay and Megan and see how the construction was going... and Dino had just pulled a pan out of the oven. I would have been a fool not to try a slice... it's so different than what Jay and Dino make a Cane Rosso.... which is just fine. I love them both.

I can tell from their test runs that they're going to knock this out of the park again. I was happy to get to meet Frank Pinello while he was still in town teaching Jay the secrets of NY Pizza. He's a delightful man and we will think of him fondly every time we're at Zoli's eating this pizza. 


The Grandma Pie sounds eerily similar to the Detroit style pies offered up by the likes of Buddy's Pizzeria and Jet's Pizza.  I've been begging Jay for ages to make a pizza without a flimsy crust...if indeed it's the same ingredients as the Cane Rosso pies I will be in pure heaven.


I've been seeing their pictures being posted to Facebook and it's KILLING me that I haven't been able to try it yet. Hopefully we don't have that much longer to wait, if the August opening date holds up.  


I saw the sign on my way to the Kessler last night and was wondering who was behind it.  It will be an excellent addition!


This is going to be a great addition to the "pizza scene" in Dallas. I only wish it was going to be closer to me. 

Jay Jerrier is THE pizza master of Dallas and I foresee very long lines of people waiting to get in. I know I'll be one of them.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

AKA, Tomato Pie.  And, quite right.  Crushed tomatoes, not tomato sauce!

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