There’s a new mobile pizza oven from a chef who trained at Lampo. But, says chef Kelsey Naylor, it is a whole different animal from the Belmont pizzeria where she once worked.
A joint effort between Naylor and Anna Gardner, Pye Dog Pizza gets its name from a term for stray dogs in Asia. Naylor says it is meant to capture the Asian influences in their food, as well as the fact that their approach does not fit into a typical pizza mold.
Currently sous chef of The Alley Light, Naylor has worked not just at Lampo, but also TEN Sushi, Public Fish & Oyster, and Timbercreek Market, among others. Gardner is likewise a veteran of top Charlottesville restaurants, including Junction, Oakhurst Inn, The Ivy Inn, and Public, where she and Naylor discovered their affinity for cooking together.
For such accomplished chefs, why pizza? “Pizza is a great base to make a variety of different things,” says Naylor. “We were living in Japan all of last year and it was there that we saw just how flexible pizza can be, which made us want to explore how other countries interpret pizza, aside from what we know about it.”
And so, while Pye Dog will offer staples like basic cheese and standard meat and vegetable options, their bread-and-butter will be more exotic creations. Unlike Lampo’s traditional Neapolitan style, Pye Dog will use a pizza dough closer to New York style to build pies inspired by cuisines outside Italy. Naylor’s favorite, for example, is the bulgogi steak and cheese pizza, a nod to her Korean heritage. Another in the works is smoked salmon, shaved red onion, cream cheese sauce, and arugula salad, atop a crust seasoned with “Everything” bagel spice blend.
Naylor and Gardner are also excited to use their wood-fired pizza oven for other purposes, like biscuits they have worked hard to perfect. For their opening menu, the menu of wood-fired biscuit sandwiches will include one with country ham, smoked pear butter, Anjou pears, and manchego cheese.
Look for Pye Dog Pizza’s debut this Saturday at City Market right next to the booth operated by Naylor’s mother, Sussex Farm. Follow along on Facebook for additional dates and locations.