Stoked Wood Fired Pizza
A great pizza is like a great song, with all the parts coming together to form something amazing. So it makes sense that Scott Riebling creates some of the best pizzas in greater Boston.
To say Scott is obsessed with pizza is a bit of an understatement. And at Stoked Wood Fired Pizza Company in Brookline's Washington Square, his devotion to dough is on full display.
It all began about four years ago when Scott and his business partner Toirm Miller decided to build a fully equipped food truck and hit the streets.
Toirm Miller – Co-Owner, Stoked: "I was crazy enough to approach the fire department and say 'hey I wanna put a wood-burning oven on the back of the truck.'"
The pizzas were such a smash that opening a restaurant was the next logical step, so they built this fifty seat spot in Brookline.
Toirm Miller – Co-Owner, Stoked: "At our heart, we're a neighborhood pizzeria."
Toirm started working in restaurants as a teenager, but most recently, he was actually driving a Duck Boat.
Toirm Miller – Co-Owner, Stoked: "I did a ten year run at Boston duck tours. I was a duck boat captain, which was a really fun job. A very unique job. I like to equate it to doing five Vegas shows a day, while driving a World War II steel vehicle through the streets of Boston, and into the Charles River."
Scott also took an interesting road to Stoked. Most of his life has been in the music business, and he spent years on tour playing bass in the band Letters to Cleo.
Scott Riebling, Co-Owner, Stoked: "Traveling around the country, there's a lot of time to eat out, and I realized that pizza is really an incredibly variable food, as you drive around the country and try different styles and I really sort of honed in on what I liked, and when I got back from the road I started experimenting and it actually turned into a bit of an obsession."
And now, that obsession is feeding the flames at Stoked, where the pies are a mash-up of Scott's favorite styles of pizza.
Scott Riebling, Co-Owner, Stoked: "It's a hybrid of a Neapolitan style pizza, which is a wood-fired pizza, with a New York, New Haven coal-fired pizza, which is cooked a little bit slower and a little bit more well-done, so you get a crispier more charred pizza."
And making something even as seemingly simple as a cheese pizza requires a mastery of technique, timing, and touch.
Scott Riebling, Co-Owner, Stoked: "I'm gonna be very gentle with the way that I stretch this dough out. I'm actually gonna do my best to keep as much air in the dough as possible. Those air pockets, they give it a lightness which really makes a big difference for the finished product. We're gonna put cheese down first, which is a little bit unusual. And the reason why we do that is because it sort of acts as a little wall and it doesn't let that moisture from the sauce get down into the crust. It goes in the oven for about two and a half minutes and what you probably notice is a little unusual about it is that the floor of it actually rotates like a record player, and that allows us to get a more crispy crust, but actually cook the pizza faster at the same time. And I'm gonna look for some charring. Because the spots of dark char actually give you a ton of flavor. I can see that it's looking pretty good. And at this point the pizza's pretty much done, I'd say another ten seconds and then pull it out of there. So I know it's a good pizza because I see some char there, we see the combination of cheese with the fresh mozz and the aged mozz at the same time, and then that sauce, which is also a combination of plum tomatoes, Roma tomatoes and a San Marzano tomato all together."
When it comes to toppings at Stoked, basic is better.
Scott Riebling, Co-Owner, Stoked: "Instead of trying to go for a lot of fancy, unusual toppings, I wanted to just do the basics, but do them as well as I possibly can."
So classics like Sausage and Onion are made with artisan fennel sausage and sweet caramelized onions. And the Pepperoni Pizza it topped with roni that's cut up into small pieces to ensure maximum meat distribution.
Scott Riebling, Co-Owner, Stoked: "I'm a big believer in that every bite of your pizza should have some topping in it, and mincing the pepperoni allows us to spread it around so you always get that wonderful flavor."
For something a little different, there's a Buffalo Spinach and Cauliflower Pizza, the Barbecue Chicken and Bacon Pizza, and the Honey Bacon Bianca Pizza with ricotta, garlic, mozzarella, pecorino, and Mike's Hot Honey.
Toirm Miller – Co-Owner, Stoked: "So you're gonna get that salty smoky component right away from the bacon, and then the heat will start to kick in with that sweetness of the hot honey, and the ricotta really just smooths everything out."
There's more to the menu here than just pizza. You can start your meal with meatballs, a salad, or some really great wings.
And for something sweet, try a hand-spun boozy milkshake like The Toasty Pineapple with aged rum, or the Stoked Rock Shake; a twist on a fast food favorite made with mint syrup and premium vodka.
Toirm Miller – Co-Owner, Stoked: I love a shamrock shake, I always look forward to when that comes around, and when you have that milkshake, you should think of the classic shamrock shake for sure."
Of course it all comes back to the pizza at Stoked. And even though Scott has traded the stage for the kitchen, the thrill of pleasing the crowd remains the same.
Scott Riebling, Co-Owner, Stoked: "This is one of the things that I think keeps me going, and I think it goes back to being a musician, when you're on stage and you're playing and you see the reaction of the crowd and they're getting into it, we see the same thing with people trying the pizzas here and they start nodding, and they're like, this is really good. I'll be back here making pizzas but I'm looking, I'm trying to see people's reactions to it, and if it's a good reaction, I know I'm doing the right thing."