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Heat Wave

Spacca Napoli’s special oven.

When every foodie in town starts talking about an oven, you know something big is going on. The cause célèbre is the 13,000-pound, Italian-imported beauty at Spacca Napoli (1769 W. Sunnyside Ave.; 773-878-2420), Jonathan Goldsmith’s new tribute to Neapolitan pizza on a suddenly throbbing Lincoln Square side street. Here, a guide to the star of Spacca Napoli-and we’re not talking about Goldsmith.

  • Third- and fourth-generation oven makers came from Naples to build the oven. “Their entire process is a secret,” says Goldsmith.
  • Inside the oven are blocks of pietra di tufo carved from the lava fields of Vesuvius.
  • The oven, which reaches 1,200°, gets heat from three sources: the terra cotta floor, the convection of the oven, and the radiant heat from the fire itself.
  • Three kinds of refractory brick create heat; the oven stays warm enough that it is able to bake bread using dough balls left from the previous night.
  • SN uses oak; if the oven needs an additional boost of heat, wood chips are added to the fire.
  • The wheat image is inspired by a photo of an ancient Neapolitan coin that pictured a single stalk of wheat.
  • The Bisazza glass tiles were brought in by Goldsmith’s wife, Ginny Sykes, who collaborated with two fellow artists for the outside design and mosaic tile work.


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