In 1998, John Tutolo, owner of Biga Wood Fired Pizzeria, ate his first wood fired pizza at Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix AZ and fell in love with it. He spent the next seven years trying to master the dough. “Turns out it is something you continue to learn the rest of your life, but I did not know it at the time,” admits Tutolo. Then in 2005, his wife Vicki agreed to let him build a proper pizza oven, which led to seven years of learning more than he ever imagined about the oven and wood, every week testing new recipes and techniques. In fact, he still loves to experiment, the only difference is now we all can get a taste.
And starting this month, Biga Wood Fired Pizzeria is happy to announce that they have their beer and wine license. So pizza will now be paired with a selection of local beer and wine as well some unique small family vineyards from around the country and more.
We recently caught up with John Tutolo ask him to share a bit more about his passion for pizza, here’s what he had to say:
How did you decide to open in your current location?
Opening Biga was always a dream of mine. But for Vicki it did not become reality until we bought the property in 2010. That was when the things started and there was no turning back. At that point I just prayed that I did not just ruin our lives. Now it’s a location we love because it’s all about community and family. Our son goes to school across the street, we live nearby in Kirtland, and we’re only one mile off Interstate 90.
What has changed in your life since opening Biga?
We are doing something we love and therefore we no longer work to live but live to work.
Where does the name “Biga” come from?
Biga is slang in Italian for a starter dough. I think it literally is closest to meaning “a little cart”.
What makes Biga different?
Coming to Biga is like eating at your family or friends’ house. It might be because at it’s heart, we’re a family business. The number one ingredient is love and we are insane about fresh local product. We love our farmers and family suppliers.
How do you come up with your pizza combinations?
Simple, what grows together goes together and animals are what they eat, so if you stick to these combinations you usually can’t go wrong.
Tell us about one of the pizza experiments you’ve tried that didn’t make it to the menu?
Local roasted brussel sprouts with bacon and a maple cream sauce. Could not give it away but we thought it was awesome. (Publisher Noelle Celeste agrees–can she get a taste?)
Who is one of your favorite local farmers and why?
Rainbow Farms in Perry. Larry and Tina are great people who feel the same way about what they grow as we do about our pizza.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to make better pizza at home?
Its all about the dough. Learn to become a good baker and pizza becomes your playground.
Hungry for some delicious locally-sourced wood fired pizza? Check out Biga Wood Fired Pizzeria at bigapizzeria.net. 440.379. 7313. 9145 Chillicothe Road in Kirtland.
NEW HOURS: Tue/Wed/Thurs 5-9pm and Fri/Sat 5-10pm