For the past five years, George Goodman and his roving pizza oven have been regular fixtures at events like Wade Oval Wednesday, Crocker Park Farmers Market, and Friday Night wine tastings at the Olde Wine Cellar in Olmsted Falls. On a busy night, Goodman’s and his In Forno Pizza can crank out 150 pies for adoring customers, who come back week after week for his delicious wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza.
After “How long will it take?,” the second most popular question that Goodman fields is “Where is your restaurant?”
“Our clients are always asking about our location,” Goodman says.
Until now, the answer has always been the same: We don’t have one. But come September, Goodman finally will have a brick-and-mortar restaurant in which to plant his feet.
“We had to build a client base and feel confident that we could provide something good, the perfect pizza,” he explains.
If Goodman is able to crank out 150 stellar pies per night from a mobile, alfresco pizzeria, odds are good that his stationary restaurant will make even better, more consistent pies. For starters, he is installing a Stefano Ferrara wood-fired oven from Naples, the brand most frequently associated with top-quality shops.
“I could not go with a concrete oven; that’s just not the proper oven for me,” he says.
To be located in Avon on Chester Road, near the Walmart, In Forno Pizzeria will seat about 60. It will be a very simple operation, Goodman stresses, focusing on pizza, a few salads, maybe some gelato. “Hopefully” beer and wine will be added down the road. There will be no delivery, but customers will be able to order pizzas for pick-up and take-out.
“We are quick, but not too quick to ever ruin quality,” he stresses.
It’s interesting to note that none of this would ever have happened had Goodman’s original plans come to fruition.
“Six years ago, when I moved from New York, I built a wood oven for my home,” Goodman explains. “It was going to be half in the kitchen, half in the living room for cooking and heating my home.”
The ambitious construction project stalled – “required too much structural work” – and the oven landed on a trailer. One private party led to another and the rest, as they say, is pizza history.
Goodman is shooting for a September opening, at which time he’ll likely scale back appearances at events save for a few staples.