Partners Ben Bebenroth (left) and Jonathan Bennett
It’s been about a year and half since chef-partners Ben Bebenroth and Jonathan Bennett started hosting “doughball Fridays” at Keep the Change Kitchen Collective, the now-closed virtual food hall from Spice Hospitality Group. Those weekly pizza pop-ups were more than just a fun addition to the standard menu board, they were an important step on the path to opening a brick-and-mortar pizzeria.
That will happen on January 24, when the doors to Boom’s Pizza
(14730 Detroit Ave., 216-465-1130) open in Lakewood. The snazzy corner shop, designed by Cleveland’s Richardson Design, features an open kitchen, walk-up counter service and 44-seat dining room.
Since launching those weekly pizza pop-ups, Bebenroth and Bennett have zeroed in on their ideal pizza. Countless product, equipment and technique tweaks have landed them at a pizza that Bebenroth describes as, “crispy, not too chewy, thin crust, not too filling – not a gut bomb.”
The dough is made daily onsite and goes through a multi-stage process that includes a 30-minute autolyze, room-temperature bulk fermentation and 48-hour cold fermentation. The doughs are hand-stretched in front of a large picture window that offers passersby on Detroit great views of the process. They are topped with a nearly 100-percent American ingredient list, save for a few products from Italy and Greece.
One of the biggest changes to Boom’s Pizza since inception was to invert the cheese and tomato sauce, with that sauce now being dolloped on top of the cheese. This technique better showcases the no-paste sauce made from high-quality San Marzano tomatoes, says Bennett.
“What I love in food is that layering of flavors,” Bennett explains. “By putting the sauce on top, you get a bite of sauce and it’s an explosion of flavor as opposed to a thin layer of sauce in every bite.”
There are a dozen signature pies – all 14 inches – plus a build-your-own option. They are baked in 600-degree deck ovens until done.
“It’s a pretty bold bake, but without a lot of burned spots,” notes Bennett.
Boom’s Pizza is a pleasant merger between a sit-down and pick-up operation, with a comfortable dining room that rewards dine-in customers. Guests order, pay and grab their beverages from self-serve coolers filled with beer, wine by the can, split and bottle and soft drinks. Items like the “OG Italian” salad and fresh mozzarella appetizers are handed over at the counter immediately and the pizzas are brought to the table when ready.
An easy-to-use app will ease pick-up and delivery orders.
Boom's Pizza will be dinner-only every day but Monday.
Naturally, Bebenroth says the hope and intention is to open additional Boom’s Pizza shops in the near future.
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